/ 18 July 2008

Waiting in the wings

The ANC has proposed a number of possible candidates to replace Western Cape Premier Ebrahim Rasool and Eastern Cape Premier Nosimo Balindlela. These are the main ones.

Lynne Brown is Western Cape finance and tourism minister but, for several years, she has been associated with support for Rasool’s arch-enemy, provincial secretary Mcebisi Skwatsha.

She has been on the ANC’s provincial executive since 1999 and was elected to the ANC’s national executive committee in Polokwane, a substantial step up.

A former teacher and cousin of Finance Minister Trevor Manuel, Brown cut her political teeth in the Mitchell’s Plain Youth Congress and the UDF.

She is the most senior coloured leader among Skwatsha’s backers and her appointment would be intended to stem the exodus of coloured voters from the ANC.

Critics say she lacks a mass base and will keep the premier’s chair warm until the 2009 election.

Deputy speaker in the Western Cape legislature Yousuf Gabru chaired a probe into whether Rasool misled the provincial legislature about state spending on the house of community safety minister Leonard Ramatlakane.

He was among those leading the demands for Rasool to apologise.

A former teacher and ANC education policy specialist, he is more likely to get Cameron Dugmore’s job as education minister than the premiership.

Western Cape health minister Pierre Uys crossed the floor from the National Party during the 2005 window period, helping consolidate the ANC’s tenuous control of the province.

Party colleagues describe him as a strong manager, but he has been the target of the anger of state doctors who believe he has cut budgets unduly.

Uys will play a leading role in the creation of a new provincial government, but his political background almost certainly disqualifies him from the premiership.

Phumulo Masualle is a former Eastern Cape minister of public works who was axed in 2002 by then premier Makhenkesi Stofile. Stofile was allegedly ordered by President Thabo Mbeki to purge his Cabinet of ”ultra-leftists”.

At the time Masualle was Eastern Cape chairperson of the SACP and has since been elected as the SACP’s national treasurer.

Masualle remained a member of the provincial legislature and is now the chairperson of a legislature committee given the task of dealing with the highly controversial Pillay commission report.

The report fingers Stofile and former provincial ministers Enoch Godongwana and Stone Sizani for alleged corruption while they were in office.

Eastern Cape minister of economic affairs, environment and tourism Mbulelo Sogoni was elected provincial ANC deputy chairperson in 2006. He was one of the provincial leaders who supported the re-election of Mbeki as ANC president.

He served as mayor of the Alfred Nzo District Municipality and is a teacher by profession.

Sogoni cut his political teeth as a trade unionist, having served as branch secretary of the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union in Ntabankulu.