Premier’s reshuffle fails to strengthen cabinet

Anthony Benadie MPL

Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga

The DA notes the cabinet reshuffle as announced by Premier David Mabuza earlier this afternoon, but believes that Cabinet is none the stronger for it – and judging by Mabuza’s choice of additions to cabinet, believes that he has opted for the most loyal rather than the strongest leaders.

Our greatest concern is the appointment of Deputy Speaker Violet Siwela to the portfolio of agriculture and rural development. Her appointment is surely a reward for securing Premier Mabuza’s support with ANC structures in the Bushbuckridge region. As Deputy Speaker she made little contribution to the Legislature. She is a weak leader and her appointment signals a sad day for the agricultural sector in Mpumalanga – a sector in which she has little or no knowledge or sentiment.

The deployment of Messrs SPD Skosana and Andries Gamede to cooperative governance and human settlements comes as no real surprise. They will undoubtedly be little more than the Premiers ‘yes-men’ and neither have a proud record of delivery in their former roles as mayors of the Nkangala and Gert Sibande district municipalities.

We welcome the shift of Ms Yvonne Phosa from finance to economic development. She is undoubtedly the strongest leader in the ANC cabinet, and we trust that she will be able to save MEGA and the MTPA. We look forward to working with her in this new role.

The sacking of Dr Clifford Mkasi from health and social development is regretted but not unexpected. Premier Mabuza has for some time been plotting to remove Mkasi, especially when Mkasi was rumoured as a potential contender for the ANC chairmanship.

The removal of Messrs Siphosezwe Masango and Norman Mokoena from human settlements and economic development respectively, are neither here nor there, as both have been weak leaders in all the departments they have presided over during the past few years. Mokoena especially must carry much of the blame for the turmoil and controversy which MEGA and the MTPA find themselves in.

While a cabinet reshuffle is the constitutional prerogative of the premier, it was once again a wasted opportunity for premier Mabuza to return strong leaders, such as Messrs JL Mahlangu, Fish Mahlalela or Meshack Malinga, to the fold of cabinet, and accelerate government’s service delivery programme.

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