South Africa

PROVINCIAL SHUFFLE

Premier Lesufi announces new cabinet and ambitious plans to whip Gauteng into shape

Premier Lesufi announces new cabinet and ambitious plans to whip Gauteng into shape
Panyaza Lesufi, as Education MEC, delivers his plan to provide more than 61,000 matric students with tablets on 20 July 2015 in Soweto, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images / Beeld / Simone Kley)

Newly elected Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi announced his new cabinet, which is made up of a mixture of new and familiar faces. He also used the opportunity to outline the plans that the Gauteng government intends to implement.

Scrapping e- tolls, establishing a bank, fixing hospitals, setting up a pharmaceutical company and prioritising the township economy are just some of the bold promises made by the new Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi. 

Lesufi made the committments during the announcement of his new cabinet in Midrand.

“We have elevated things that we feel are non-negotiables before now and the end of the political term. The economic recovery and reconstruction…we want to strengthen the immediate fight against crime, corruption, and change the living conditions of townships, informal settlements and hostels,” he said.

“When we come to the Department of Finance, because we want to scrap e- tolls, the mandate of the new MEC for Finance is to formulate a new revenue method that we want to utilise to take the debt away from Sanral. We must utilise the relevant laws and, in agreement with the National Treasury, we want to be the first province to start a state bank. 

“Finance will also bring a new element of a pharmaceutical company, we are going to buy our one medicine directly. We do not want to buy medicine via a third party,” Lesufi said.

This is not the first time that promises have been made to scrap e-tolls. In November 2021, the Transport Minister announced that Cabinet had taken a decision to scrap the tolling system and this would be announced in the Budget Speech in February 2022. This did not happen

In terms of the new provincial cabinet, ANC Gauteng Chief Whip Mzi Khumalo and Kedibone Diale will now serve in the Cooperative Governance and E- Government and Transport and Logistics departments, respectively. Chair of the Portfolio Committee on Education in the Legislature Matome Chiloane replaced Lesufi as the Education MEC.

Parks Tau is no longer part of the provincial executive. He was the MEC of economic development and was brought in when former premier David Makhura reshuffled his cabinet in 2020. At the time, he was the deputy minister of cooperative governance. Nomathemba Mokgethi has also been removed from her position as the Health MEC. She was appointed at the same time as Tau when Bandile Masuku was booted out for his alleged involvement in a PPE scandal. 

ANC Gauteng deputy chair Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko has been moved from the finance department to health and wellness, Faith Mazibuko remains in the Public Safety department while Tasneem Motara is now the Economic Development MEC. Taking over from Motara in the human settlements department is Lebogang Maile. The new Finance MEC is Jacob Mamabolo. Morakane Mosupyoe and Mbali Hlophe have swapped roles, with the former now having been appointed to the department of sports and the latter being tasked to run the social development department. 

“The ANC was very firm in what kind of a team they wanted and they sent a strong message to say there must be no compromise on competency and skills, there must be no compromise on gender parity. You will see with the team we announce there will be more women than men, The ANC said we must appoint leadership which is beyond reproach, that is not attached to scandals, leadership that is clear and leadership that does not have questionable characteristics. The ANC further said we must appoint leaders who are ready to serve, that they will hit the ground running and there will be no delays. They called that this leadership will also include our alliance partner,” according to Lesufi.

Following the resignation of Makhura from the legislature, ANC chair Lesufi was voted in as the new premier of Gauteng at a special legislature sitting on Thursday.

Lesufi was nominated by his colleague, then Cooperative Governance MEC Lebogang Maile, and this was seconded by Finance MEC Nomantu Nkomo- Ralehoko.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Maile loses to Lesufi for ANC chair in Gauteng, but allies gain powerful secretariat positions”

The EFF’s Itani Mukwevho’s attempted to disturb proceedings. 

“The residents of this province need to get a word from the EFF because in 2019 they voted for EFF to come here. Makhura is there on top [at the gallery] and the police are looking for him for the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) scandal. The same nomination which is done here now of Panyaza who is in the Department of Education, the department is having a case against the leadership there and no one has charged them. The ANC government has failed the province and they will continue to run the way they want,” he said.

However, Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba, who was presiding over the sitting, quickly quashed Mukwevho’s ramblings and proceedings went ahead.

EFF MPLs then decided to stage a walkout, which meant that they did not participate in voting in a new premier.

The DA’s Fed Nel nominated his provincial chair, Solly Msimanga, for the position and was backed by Crezane Bosch.

Lesufi garnered 38 votes while 22 MPLs voted for Msimanga. Twelve members of the legislature – which includes the 11 EFF members – were not present to vote

Following his election, Lesufi spoke about how the ANC had to gain back the trust of Gauteng residents.

“We will attend to those challenges. It’s a mammoth task. The challenges are vast, different; the level of trust from our people has diminished. To operate in that environment will be difficult.

“There are three things that if we can’t tackle them head-on, we must forget. One, obviously, is to protect our economic position as Gauteng. But two, which I really feel are going to be non-negotiable and are going to create enemies,  [we] are going to fight against crime, the fight against lawlessness and the fight against corruption,” the premier said.

Lesufi takes over from Makhura, who has been at the helm for the past eight years. Makhura tendered his resignation earlier this week. Lesufi went on to laud Makhura for the work he has done in the province. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: “The man, his role & his future: David Makhura at the crossroads that may go all the way to the Top Six”

“I’m taking the reins from one of the humble servants of Gauteng. He led from the front, the masses of our people. I can attest to the impact he made on their lives in various ways when he was at the helm of the province. He has been the driving force for this change of leadership in the province. He initiated this change. A good dancer knows when to leave the stage,” Lesufi said. 


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DA disgruntled about Lesufi’s appointment

Following the appointment of Lesufi, the DA issued a statement saying that Gauteng residents will continue to suffer under him.

Corruption will continue unabated, and there will be no value for money when tenders are awarded. Just like Makhura, who was unable to execute and implement policies in place that will better the lives of our residents, Lesufi will also be blocked by his political masters and will not be able to make strategic decisions that will benefit the residents of our province.

“If Lesufi is committed to changing how the provincial government does things, he will ensure that all lifestyle audits are completed before the end of the year and that officials implicated in the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) tender scandal are brought to book.

Wasteful, irregular, dangerous and probably corrupt: Gauteng’s Covid-19 splurge continues, this time in schools

They called for Lesufi to publicly denounce his “divisive” statements around the Afrikaans language in schools.

Lesufi has been criticised by the DA for supporting calls for the implementation of the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill, saying it seeks to attack Afrikaans and mother-tongue education in schools. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Gauteng DA launches yet another ‘desperate’ bid to oust Makhura, but this time ‘we’ve got the numbers'”

The DA had planned to remove Makhura through a motion of no confidence. The official opposition said that their motivation for the motion was the high crime, unemployment and poverty rates, as well as corruption in building projects. The sitting where the motion would be on the agenda was supposed to be on 18 October. DM

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  • Rg Bolleurs says:

    Is it rocket science? People do not want corruption, wasteful expenditure, unemployment, high crime, and incompetence in service delivery. Go figure.

    But there are politicians who thrive on all of these things. It’s time for people to take their country back.

    The DA may not be perfect, but it’s definitely the least worst option out there, and if there is a desire among a new guard in the anc to do the right thing, an ANC /DA alliance would be way better than an ANC /EFF coalition

  • Graeme de Villiers says:

    Put all of these promises in a sealed envelope and open again in 3 years to see what he achieves. This is just another Fikile Mbalule in a more expensive suit.

  • Hermann Funk says:

    After wasting hundreds of millions of Rand on senseless school fumigation, he wants to whip GP into shape? What a useless individual.

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