Bags at #18 on DA Parliamentary list
Bags Bagraim is recognised as one of the top labour lawyers in SA and has long been involved with community work. He is the patron of Magen David Adom (MDA)-SA which last year saw itself raised to an equal status as the US (meaning it has the same voting rights, not that it contributes anything like the US is able to raise.)
But this will be Bags’ first formal foray into politics.
It had been rumoured for some time that he may stand for the African Democratic Christian Party (ACDP) which, together with the IFP, is Israel’s strongest supporter in Parliament. The appointment of ACDP chair Rev Kenneth Meshoe as a co-patron of MDA-SA added to the speculation.
Nobody knows he made the cut
With over 70 sitting MP’s, Bags’ having appeared at #18 is really a great accomplishment. At first, he told SAJR Online today, he didn’t even think he’d made the list.
“The process took about four months,” says Bags, who had to subject himself to the most intense scrutiny, attend several comprehensive interviews and testing processes and write several tests.
I wasn’t a member of any political party,” he explains, and so his first step when he put his name forward was to join the Democratic Alliance. He had read their manifesto beforehand and says he really did feel that he identified with it.
Pictured right: Michael ‘Bags’ Bagraim
“I really wasn’t expecting such a vigorous selection process,” he told SAJR Online Sunday. “No other party has such a process, including background checks on everything.”
He was the last to know
“I was always a political animal,” said Bags, who studied Political Science at Rhodes and was on the SRC.
Because Bags chairs of the Human Resource Portfolio of the Cape Chamber of Commerce, and as the Chamber has a policy that no politicians can occupy executive positions, he had gone through the DA’s gruelling selection process under the name “Confidential Candidate!”
This is not unusual in and of itself. Brigadier Pule Thole, a SAPS member who was also a candidate, was on the list as a Confidential Candidate, as was Ricardo Mackenzie who was a director in the Presidency during former president Thabo Mbeki’s time. Another was Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula’s former private secretary.
Party leader Helen Zille said at the announcement of the lists Saturday morning that the party wanted to give the “Confidential Candidates” a decent time period to inform their employers and serve their notices – and hence their real names were withheld.
Michael Bagraim didn’t expect that to be the case, and so when he did not see his name on the list he called senior DA MP James Selfe. “You’re listed as Confidential Candidate, and at number 18!” exclaimed Selfe. Bags couldn’t believe it. “I think I was the last to know,” he said today.
“Nobody has called me to wish me mazeltov because they don’t know yet,” he told SAJR Online. “You will be the first to publish it.”
On Monday Bags will have to resign from the Human Resource Portfolio of the Cape Chamber of Commerce – but can retain his membership of Council – “just but not in any leadership positions,” he says.
He is enthusiastically looking forward to campaigning and to taking his seat in Parliament.
Bags has decided to throw in his lot with Helen Zille’s Democratic Alliance (DA) and, by appearing as number 18 on the DA list, the SA Jewish community and Israel can almost be assured of a new face representing their interests on the hallowed benches of Parliament after the forthcoming election. There are over 70 DA MP’s currently.
Bags acted as the Cape Town attorney, fundraiser and advocacy leader for his friend Prof Cyril Karabus (Pictured above with wife Jenny)and worked tirelessly to have the latter freed from incarceration in Abu Dhabi last year.
All of this work for Karabus was done on a pro bono basis. Now Bags is working on getting Prof Karabus compensation for his unfair incarceration – from both the UAE and the hospital ghroup that employed him and ‘misplaced’ the records that would have exonerated him in the first place.
At least Bags won’t have to pack his bags to attend Parliament – he is, after all, a Capetonian!
Larissa Klazinga vs. Rhodes
Michael Bagraim also represented Jewish staffer Larissa Klazinga (pictured at left) so successfully in her recent matter against Rhodes University where she was employed.
Read more on the ongoing Rhodes drama
10,000 read of Rhodes, BDS & IAW debacles – by ANT KATZ – 8 January 2014
Rhodes University: Not a Home for All – by LARISSA KLAZINGA – 01 January 2014
Rhodes pays dearly for anti-Zionist stand – by ANT KATZ – 01 January 2014
Writing on wall for Rhodes’ Jewish students, staff? – by ANT KATZ – originally published 25 April on MyShtetl as Rhodes anti-Israel shock