Permanent Acting Premier: an insult to the interests of Mpumalanga residents

By James Masango MPL, DA Mpumalanga Leader:

The re-swearing in of Safety, Security and Liaison MEC, Vusi Shongwe as acting Premier of Mpumalanga is an insult to the residents.

The time has come for the ANC to show decisive leadership and instead of burdening the province with an Acting Premier, they must stand up and support the opposition parties’ call for the appointment of a new Premier.

It is rumoured that Premier David Mabuza was placed on “indefinite” sick leave after he collapsed, allegedly due to fatigue in September this year leaving MEC Shongwe standing in as Acting Premier.

What is most concerning is that at no point during all these developments has there been any official communication from the Premier’s Office or from the Office of the Speaker on when Mabuza will be back to fulfil his role as Premier of Mpumalanga.

Members who have been elected into the very same Legislature as Premier Mabuza have had to rely on the media and the conflicting statements of ANC officials to get some idea of how long the province will have to go without a Premier.

While the DA sympathize with Premier Mabuza and we wish him a speedy recovery, the province cannot continue to function under the current level of uncertainty.

How can MEC Shongwe be entrusted with the position as Acting Premier, if he is evidently struggling to fulfil his constitutional mandate in his own department.

The Safety, Security and Liaison Annual Report for the 2014/15 financial year has shown that MEC Shongwe needs to put shoulder to the wheel and work on improving his department.

The ANC has for a long time, labelled Mpumalanga as one of its strongholds. The current situation begs the question of how strong this hold actually is, if the ANC can’t simply select a premier candidate when the current Premier’s extended absence clearly demonstrates his inability to fulfil his constitutional mandate.

The ANC’s continued tiptoeing around the Premier’s absence is another indication of the cracks within the party as everybody is seemingly too scared to take a stand and do what is best for the province.

If indeed the ANC was confident in its support, it would not be having so much trouble finding a person capable of standing as Premier of Mpumalanga.