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The ANC plan to dump three senior members deployed in the Western Cape provincial legislature seems set to be met with rebellion, with at least one of those affected, leader of the opposition Lynne Brown, warning that she’ll go nowhere until the end of her term.
Brown, a former Western Cape premier, along with Mcebisi Skwatsha and Max Ozinsky, has been named as among those whose heads are on the block as the ANC lobbies for a stronger opposition in the provincial legislature.
All three are widely seen as having had a hand in the controversial ousting of former Western Cape premier Ebrahim Rasool.
But Brown said yesterday she was unaware of plans for a purge, and that she had definitely not offered to give up her position.
“I’ve said on many occasions that I will finish my term and thereafter possibly resign,” she said, throwing her weight behind ANC members in the legislature who, she said, were “all very hardworking people who would go the extra mile for their constituencies”.
“Not everyone might be speakers in the legislature, but when it comes to working in their constituencies, they are the best at lobbying support,” she said.
Although Brown conceded she had heard the rumours, she confirmed that “no such talks” had taken place with members.
“I will serve until the end of my term,” she added.
Although Skwatsha and Ozinsky would not be drawn to comment yesterday, there appears to be growing rebellion in the party structures against the provincial leadership by die-hard supporters of the two.
“Any criticism within the party ranks should be laid in front of the leadership’s door. None of the party’s top officials in the province are members of the Western Cape legislature. In fact, they do not even bother to show up for caucuses,” one said.
“This cannot be blamed on Skwatsha (and the others). In fact, they are among the very few who can still have vigorous debates on issues affecting the poor.”
The provincial leadership has not formally named any of the 14 ANC representatives in the legislature who may be in danger. But the first indication that changes are afoot came during the ANC’s local government summit last month, when provincial ANC leader Marius Fransman said the ANC needed to be a stronger opposition in the provincial legislature.
In what was seen as direct criticism of current members in the legislature, Fransman said: “The ANC has been ineffective as an opposition in the provincial legislature… We cannot have representatives in the provincial parliament who go underground when important battles have to take place in the legislature.”
Fransman also alluded to members who were not doing their jobs, effectively failing to highlight the DA’s faults.
High-ranking party members confirmed to Weekend Argus that Ozinsky, Brown and Skwatsha had been set to attend the summit, but had their invitations withdrawn just days before.
Fransman would not confirm nor deny the impending purge, but insiders said it had been discussed extensively.
“For the past month the party’s provincial leadership has met on several occasions with ANC members in the legislature,” one source said.
Both ANC provincial secretary Songezo Mjongile and ANC provincial treasurer Fezile Calana had been seen in the legislature several times conducting meetings.
Mjongile told a media briefing the party had resolved that the provincial ANC must become a stronger opposition.
The insiders said Fransman himself joined in the talks to weigh up the pros and cons of who would have to clear out.
“The word in the corridors of the legislature is that a ‘big fight’ is looming. It’s no secret in ANC circles that some party members in the legislature are compromised, and are now seen as double agents who are feeding the opposition information,” one said.
Ozinsky declined to comment, but sources close to him called the move “cowardly behaviour”. -Weekend Argus