Surprise demotions in parly reshuffle

Sweeping changes by the ANC to the chairpersons of portfolio committees in Parliament on Thursday resulted in the demotion of prominent ANC leaders and some veteran MPs being brought back into the fold.

The most surprising changes are the sacking of Lumka Yengeni, Nyami Booi and Vytjie Mentor, chairpersons respectively of the labour, defence and public enterprises committees. Yengeni and Booi are members of the ANC’s national executive committee, its highest decision-making body.

Former deputy justice minister and subsequent backbencher Johnny de Lange was promoted to chair the water and environmental affairs committee, while ANC Western Cape leader Cedric Frolick and former deputy foreign affairs minister Fatima Hajaig were appointed as house chairs in the National Assembly.

ANC deputy secretary general Thandi Modise announced the changes on Thursday. The reshuffle was prompted by the elevation of various chairpersons to President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet. Booi irked the ANC leadership with his handling of the dispute between his committee and Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu over the Defence Amendment Bill, while Mentor stands accused of asking Transnet to sponsor a trip to China.

Ethics committee chairperson Luwellyn Landers was appointed to chair the justice committee.

The new chairs are: Malusi Motimele (defence and military veterans), Maggy Maunye (home affairs), Hope Malgas (basic education), Mamagase Nchabeleng (labour) Peter Maluleke (public enterprises), Hargreaves Magama (international relations and cooperation), Eric Kholwane (communications), Thandile Sunduza (arts and culture), Sisa Njekelana (energy), Jerome Maake (defence) and Dorothy Ramodibe (women, children and people with disabilities). The new caucus chair is Jerry Thibedi.

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Mandy Rossouw
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