Another record for DA’s Cassim as youngest Bhisho MPL
Yusuf Cassim, who at the age of 24 held the record of being the youngest member of the fifth democratic parliament in 2014, has done it again.
Cassim, now 29, was sworn in at the Bhisho legislature on Wednesday as the Eastern Cape’s youngest MPL.
The DA youth leader’s age is a third of Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s 90 years, the oldest MP who was also sworn in as IFP leader in parliament on Wednesday.
While studying at the then Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) towards his BCom Accounting degree, Cassim got involved in politics and was elected branch chair of the Muslim Student Association.
According to his blog, Cassim was approached to join the DA when the party wanted to start a student structure at the university.
“At the time I was not even a DA supporter. I grew up in an ANC family and I was an ANC supporter all my life.
“Some of my family members were prominent members of the ANC during the apartheid era,” he said.
“While in my first year on campus, I immediately picked up that student governance was an issue.
“R2.5m that could have been used to assist students was looted left, right and centre by the ANC-aligned student structure at the university.
“Many young people at the time who wanted to do good did not feel they could do much.
“I formed the DA structure at NMMU as a vehicle to change what was happening.”
He then became NMMU SRC president.
Not only did the DA on campuses grow dramatically but former DA leader Helen Zille also helped him launch the first 50 DA Students Organisation (Daso) branches across campuses in the province.
Under his leadership as federal youth chair, Daso outclassed the ANC-aligned Sasco in SRC elections at the University of Fort Hare for the first time. It was after his activism as a youth leader that in 2013 he raised his hand and was interviewed to become one of the DA MPs in the fifth democratic parliament in 2014.
“I was the youngest MP in 2014, so I thought now I would have escaped being youngest, but unfortunately not,” he quipped. Asked about the move from national parliament to Bhisho, Cassim said his heart was in the Eastern Cape.
“I was on top of the list to parliament but I took a decision to come closer to my people and constituency [Ngqura].”
The Free State legislature has the record youngest MPL in the DA’s Karabo Khakhau, 21, and the youngest MP, 23-year-old Sibongiseni Ngcobo...