By Roy Jankielsohn, Leader of the Official Opposition in the Free State Provincial Legislature:
The Deputy-Speaker of Parliament, Lechesa Tsenoli, announced at the start of today’s sitting in Cape Town that Mosebenzi Zwane, former MEC for Agriculture in the Free State, has been sworn in as a member of Parliament.
It is interesting that the people of the Free State had to learn of Premier Magashule’s redeployment-by-stealth from the Deputy Speaker in Parliament and not from the provincial government itself.
This brings a second vacancy to this crucial Agriculture and Rural Development provincial portfolio in less than a year.
After the election of Free State Speaker, Mamiki Qabathe, it took Premier Magashule almost three months to make a permanent appointment.
Considering the drought currently being experienced in the Free State and the continuous challenges facing this sector as an economic driver and job creator in the province, this sort of political instability is ill afforded.
Former MEC Zwane was instrumental in the conceptualisation and implementation of the controversial R190 million Vrede Dairy Project which has been under investigation by the Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, and the report is said to be released shortly.
Redeploying Zwane to Parliament will not absolve him from accountability.
We expect that this redeployment has much to do about the realignment of opposing ANC factions in the Free State. The election of MEC Sisi Ntombela as ANC Women’s League Deputy President and the constant ructions in the Free State ANC youth structures appear to leave Ace Magashule with redeployments as his only strategy to hold on to power at the expense of good governance in the province.
It will be interesting to see who Ace Magashule will appoint MEC for Agriculture next.