NC Cabinet Reshuffle – Premier fails to remove Block and Botes

Andrew Louw, MPL

DA Northern Cape Provincial Leader

The Democratic Alliance views the failure of newly elected Northern Cape Premier, Sylvia Lucas, to remove MEC’s John Block and Alvin Botes from her provincial cabinet, as a failure on her part, and a sign of her weak leadership.

The reshuffle, which is nothing to write home about, looks as follows:

Alvin Botes has been moved from Social Development to COGHSTA. Social Development will now be headed up by MPL Chukelwa Chotelo. Patrick Mabilo, who used to be MEC for Transport, Safety and Liaison has now been shifted to Environment and Nature Conservation. Transport, Safety and Liaison will now be headed up by new MPL, Mac Jack. Former MEC for COGHSTA, Kenneth Mmoeimang, has now been made Speaker of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature.

The above changes will have little impact on the governance of our provincial departments. Instead, the superficial rearrangement will merely serve to cause confusion within departments at this late stage of the game, and propel provincial governance further into the mires of ineptness.

In terms of the Constitution, the executive authority of a province is vested in the Premier. The Premier then appoints an Executive Council and this Executive Council is in effect a cabinet at the provincial level. And, in terms of her cabinet, the Premier has the power to hire and fire MECs at her own discretion. After the reshuffle, however, the Premier failed to utilize her powers. As a result, we still have at least two MEC’s, namely MEC’s John Block and Alvin Botes, whose presence in the executive council continues to make a mockery of government institutions.

Finance MEC John Block and Social Development MEC, Alvin Botes have brought the provincial government into disrepute. Both MECs face serious criminal charges in separate court cases, which include fraud, corruption, and money laundering.

It is astonishing that even as they make regular appearances in court to face charges, they remain in office, with Block heading portfolio’s which handle the provinces finances. This situation has gone on for far too long, and has eroded the public’s confidence in the provincial government.

The DA had hoped that the inauguration of a new Premier might end the charade of the past couple of years, whereby the current administration chooses to turn a blind eye to the string of corruption charges that overshadow the integrity of the Northern Cape provincial government. Unfortunately, yet unsurprisingly, the Premier, has chosen not to rock the boat.

The Premier previously referred to herself as the “Queen of the Kalahari”. The DA fully agrees with this title that Lucas has bestowed upon herself, as it assumes that the Premier is perceived to be a “figurehead” and not a “head of state”. In other words, the Premier concession of her limited authority confirms our suspicions that ANC Premiers in the Northern Cape are in fact powerless leaders who should be exercising full authority, yet are actually being controlled by a more powerful figure behind the throne.

The people of the Northern Cape, especially its poorest residents, deserve better leadership. It is sad that the ANC has chosen corruption over good governance.

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