DA's Wilmot James leaves Parliament for US professorship

01 June 2017 - 15:34 By Bianca Capazorio
Wilmot James.
Wilmot James.

DA MP Wilmot James is leaving Parliament after being awarded a visiting professorship in the United States.

In a statement on Thursday‚ DA leader Mmusi Maimane announced that James would be on a sabbatical to take up the professorship at the University of Columbia Medical Centre in New York.

James became an MP for the party in 2009 and unsuccessfully ran for party leadership against current leader Mmusi Maimane in 2015.

He currently serves as the party's shadow minister on health‚ with research interests in global health security and diplomacy.

James has done research on the Zika virus‚ Ebola and HIV and AIDS.

Maimane said: "We wish to congratulate Dr James on this prestigious appointment‚ and wish him very well for his time at Columbia. His work on infectious diseases is a credit to South African health sciences and to the DA."

The vacancy created by James' sabbatical has prompted Maimane to reshuffle his shadow cabinet with immediate effect.

Patricia Kopane will replace James in the health portfolio while Malcolm Figg will replace Kopane in Public Works.

Gavin Davis will meanwhile move out of the basic education portfolio to focus on policy development and communications ahead of the 2019 elections.

Basic education will now become the portfolio of Ian Ollis.

Labour lawyer and MP Michael Bagraim will replace Ollis in his previous portfolio of labour.

Geordin Hill-Lewis will also be leaving his portfolio of trade and industry to focus full time on his work as chief of staff in Maimane's office‚ with Dean Macpherson replacing him as the shadow minister.

- TMG Digital/TimesLIVE