Skweyiya deployed to ANC Presidency

Outgoing Social Development Minister Zola Skweyiya will soon be working at the ANC's headquarters in central Johannesburg, the party said on Thursday.

"Comrade Zola Skweyiya will now be located in the ANC Presidency where he will be operating from," said ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe in a statement.

"The comrade has immense skill and expertise, both as a senior cadre in the ANC and also as a seasoned minister."

Mantashe said Skweyiya's presence would be invaluable in ensuring the effectiveness of the party's offices at Luthuli House now that many members would move to the Union Buildings.

Skweyiya announced his retirement from Parliament this week.

"Contrary to current speculative and surreptitious commentary, comrade Skweyiya had indicated even earlier that he would wish to retire from parliamentary politics," said Mantashe.

"The African National Congress accepted his reasons thereof."

Mantashe said the ANC wanted to use his knowledge and experience to fulfil its commitment to the people of South Africa.

Also on Thursday, civil society groups paid tribute to the role Skweyiya played in creating a support network for the poor and unemployed.

" pivotal role in directing debates and proposals towards a more progressive Comprehensive Social Security System in South Africa", said a statement by the National Working Group on Comprehensive Social Security Reform.

This organisation includes the Black Sash, National Welfare Forum, Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute and the SA Council of Churches.

"As far back as 2002, Dr Skweyiya acknowledged that a Basic Income Grant would be 'one of the excellent ideas we (as South Africans) might consider introducing'," the groups said.

"Although income support for the unemployed and working poor has not yet been introduced, he has personally taken us a long way down the road towards providing better social protection for vulnerable South Africans."

The groups expressed hope that Skweyiya's successor would "realise his vision".

"It is a journey we cannot afford to abandon as a society," they said. - Sapa

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