Premiers: Trouble waiting to happen

As the new premiers begin appointing their provincial cabinets, the Mail & Guardian looks at the personalities and the controversies in five provinces

The ANC’s left-wing allies in Limpopo registered a major victory this week, after four of their leaders were included in the 10-member provincial cabinet. In a surprise move Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale announced the appointment of SACP provincial chairperson Miriam Segadutla and provincial secretary Soviet Lekganyane as ministers of health and local government respectively. Pinky Kekana, former Waterberg mayor and SACP provincial executive member, was appointed education minister, while SACP veteran and former provincial education minister Joyce Mashamba has moved to sports, arts and culture.

As expected, former health minister Seaparo Sekoati and former public works minister and ANC Women’s League provincial secretary Rosina Semenya, seen as sympathetic to former premier Sello Moloto and former president Thabo Mbeki, were excluded from the new cabinet.

Provincial ANC Youth League chair Lehlogonolo Masoga, Mathale’s close ally, was surprisingly also omitted.
Other new members include ANC provincial deputy chairman Namane Masemola (education), ANC provincial deputy secretary Dipuo Letsatsi (agriculture), ANC national executive committee member Dikeledi Magadzi (safety and security), ANC provincial executive committee member Tandelani Ramakoma (public works) and former ANC provincial chief whip Pitso Moloto (economic development). Finance minister Saad Cachalia was retained in that portfolio.

North West
The formation of a new government is off to a rocky start in this province after Premier Maureen Modiselle locked horns with the ANC’s provincial executive committee (PEC) over the composition of the cabinet.

“If we were to go with her proposals, the appointment of MECs was going to be biased to the eastern region of the province,” said a source.

Party members complained to the Mail & Guardian that people from this region have dominated the province since 1994. The eastern region includes Rustenburg, Magaliesburg, Brits and Hartbeespoort.

The PEC won the battle to remove the two names that Modiselle wanted to include among the 10 ministers.

She will announce her list on Monday after her inauguration the previous day.

ANC provincial chairperson Nono Maloyi is said to have accepted Modiselle as premier, although he was the PEC’s nominee. He has been appointed legislature speaker.

The cabinet of Premier Zweli Mkhize is expected to reflect a consolidation of the forces that delivered the stunning electoral victory in the province. It is set to include those, such as outgoing ANC provincial secretary Senzo Mchunu, whose organisational skills drove the Jacob Zuma project.

Mchunu resigned this week as ANC provincial secretary and is tipped for the education portfolio.

Current education MEC Ina Cronje, who is close to Mkhize, is expected to stay on in the cabinet.

Embattled former health MEC, Peggy Nkonyeni, facing corruption charges, has already been dropped from the cabinet and was voted in as legislature speaker this week.

Ethekwini deputy municipal manager Sibongiseni Dhlomo is favoured to replace her. Dhlomo resigned from the municipality and was sworn in as an MPL this week.

Minority Front leader Amichand Rajbansi has been intensively lobbying the ANC to hold on to the sports portfolio. He has written to Mkhize, pleading that he needed “more time” to complete his work in the department, which is likely to be merged with arts and culture.

Current arts minister Weziwe Thusi and Lydia Johnson (public works) are unlikely to return to cabinet. Names touted for the latter portfolio include pro-Zuma mover and shaker Willies Mchunu and Makhosi Khoza, former boss of the South African Local Government Association.

Current housing, local government and traditional affairs minister Mike Mabuyakhulu may stay on in the newly formed housing and public works portfolio or be moved to head finance. Other names mentioned for the finance position include Belinda Scott and Ina Cronje. Current safety and security minister Bheki Cele is expected to continue in this position. Another new name being touted for a cabinet position is Nomusa Dube, a Mkhize confidante and former envoy to the Czech Republic.

Newly installed Premier Nomvula Mokonyane is to launch a shake-up by restructuring departments and merging agencies whose work overlaps.

Mokonyane was also set to include three new women ministers in the provincial cabinet, to enforce 50/50 gender representation.

Luthuli House’s choice of Mokonyane as premier immediately put her on a collision course with those loyal to Paul Mashatile, who had acted in the position for six months. Mokonyane is expected to break up the large finance and economic affairs department, formerly Mashatile’s fiefdom, which includes treasury and agencies such as Gauteng Tourism Authority, Gauteng Economic Development Agency and Gauteng Propeller, and merge some of their functions. An official said Gauteng had performed an institutional review of state departments to optimise performance. Mokonyane is also expected to reshuffle department heads.

Eastern Cape
Noxolo Kieviet insists the cabinet she has chosen is fair and represents different constituencies, despite the South African Communist Party’s misgivings.

“I’ve included all the candidates for the premiership because I didn’t want a situation where people would fight outside,” said Kieviet
Kieviet’s cabinet includes ANC provincial executive member Mcebisi Jonas (finance and economic development), former premier Mbulelo Sogoni (agriculture and rural development), Sicelo Gqobana (local government and traditional affairs), Mahlubandile Qwase (education) and ANC provincial secretary Pemmy Majodina (roads and public works).

Other members are Nonkosi Mvana (social development), Nombulelo Mabandla (housing), Xoliswa Tom (sport and recreation) and Ghishma Barray (transport and safety).— Compiled by Matuma Letsoalo, Mandy Rossouw, Mmanaledi Mataboge, Niren Tolsi and Rapule Tabane

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