South Africa


Free State Premier’s cabinet reshuffle leaves Agriculture vacant

Free State Premier’s cabinet reshuffle leaves Agriculture vacant
Free State Premier Mxolisi Dukwana on 22 January 2023 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images / Volksblad / Mlungisi Louw)

A provincial shake-up that has been looming since the new premier’s inauguration has finally been announced – sans a crucial post.

Free State Premier Mxolisi Dukwana was expected to announce his new cabinet right after his inauguration on 24 February 2023, but none was forthcoming.

Even in his State of the Province address four days later, Dukwana was tight-lipped about his plans. According to ANC insiders, the announcement was further delayed by the death of Free State Education MEC Tate Makgoe.

Makgoe was laid to rest during a provincial funeral on Sunday. 

On its social media page on Monday, the provincial legislature posted pictures of four new members of the legislature, who were sworn in the same day. 

The Speaker of the legislature, Ntombizanele Sifuba, presided over the swearing-in ceremony of Moses Makume, Dibolelo Mahlatsi, Nokwanje (Mathabo) Leeto and Maqueen Joyce Letsoha-Mathae. They replace Jabulani Radebe; Polediso Motsoeneng; former premier Sisi Ntombela, who resigned from the legislature; and Makgoe.  

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Dukwana’s provincial executive committee will now look as follows:

  • Cooperative Governance and Human Settlement – Ketso Makume
  • Community Safety, Roads and Transport – MaQueen Letsoha-Mathae
  • Public Works and Infrastructure – Dibolelo Mahlatsi
  • Sport, Arts and Culture – Limakatso Mahasa
  • Finance – Gadija Brown
  • Health  – Mathabo Leeto
  • Economic and Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs  – Thabo Meeko
  • Education – Makalo Mohale

Dukwana said the position for an MEC Agriculture and Rural Development was still vacant and an announcement would be made at a later stage. 

The department is embroiled in controversy linked to the multimillion-rand Vrede Dairy Project. Several arrests have been made in connection with the project, including former agriculture MEC and national mining minister Mosebenzi Zwane; former department heads, Peter Thabethe and Limakatso Moorosi; and former CFO Seipati Dhlamini.

Read more in Daily Maverick:Vrede Dairy Project: Free State official admits he erred when writing a submission to deviate from procurement practices”

Between them, they are facing charges of fraud, theft, corruption, money laundering and contravention of the Public Finance act.

Read more in Daily Maverick:Mosebenzi Zwane and co-accused in Estina dairy corruption case set for trial in high court”

Dukwana dropped two MECs – William Bulwane (Public Works) and Montseng Tsiu (former MEC Health). They are, however, not on the list of resignations from the legislature and would therefore stay on as members. DM


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