Western Cape keeps Zille on as premier

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille. (Gallo)

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille. (Gallo)

Helen Zille was re-elected Western Cape premier at the provincial legislature on Wednesday morning.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) leader received 27 votes, easily beating the 14 votes for provincial ANC leader Marius Fransman. One ballot was spoilt.

Zille introduced her new provincial cabinet to the media with a big smile after her re-election.

She said eight MECs were returning, two of whom were in new portfolios.

“It won’t surprise you to know they are men,” she quipped, referring to criticism aimed at her over gender representation.

Terms of great distinction
Former transport MEC Robin Carlisle and agriculture MEC Gerrit van Rensburg would not be returning. Zille paid tribute to them and said they had served terms of great distinction. 

“At the same time, it is important to introduce fresh thinking and new ideas, so that we can continue to improve the ways we govern,” she said.

Associate Professor Nomafrench Mbombo was to take up the cultural affairs and sport portfolio.

Debbie Schafer was put in charge of the education portfolio, replacing Donald Grant, who moves to the transport portfolio.

“The education portfolio is of very special significance.
Mr Fix-it [Grant] has gone elsewhere and I’ve asked Ms Debbie Schafer to take over.”

New combined portfolio
Zille announced a new combined portfolio – that of agriculture, economic development and tourism – which Alan Winde would head. The departments, however, would still remain separate.

She said economic development had been separated from finance because the first looked to an external process and the second to the internal finances of government. 

“The two biggest backbones of our economy are agriculture and tourism.”

Zille said she was trying to eradicate the outdated image of agriculture as an old farmer sitting on his stoep drinking coffee. “We need to translate what is produced on farms into agro-processing.”

The other MECs are: 

  • Theuns Botha (health); 
  • Anton Bredell (local government, environmental affairs and developmental planning); 
  • Albert Fritz (social development); 
  • Donald Grant (transport and public works); 
  • Bonginkosi Madikizela (human settlements); 
  • Ivan Meyer (finance); and 
  • Dan Plato (community safety).

Cape Town high court deputy judge president Jeanette Traverso is expected to swear in the MECs on Monday. – Sapa

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