The ANC’s eyes remain fixed on Gauteng Premier David Makhura after he failed to drop one of his male MECs and replace him with a woman, as instructed by the party’s national executive committee.
The party’s national working committee is set to discuss the issue when it meets on Monday. ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe said the party’s top brass was still awaiting feedback from Makhura on the implementation of the decision.
“He must look at the issues they are facing as the province. This ANC policy and the decision has been taken by the NEC, but he must be given space to look at and deal with the issue. This is obviously a sensitive issue, it’s about political management,” Mabe said.
He added there was, however, no strict time frame given to Makhura for when he should fire one man and appoint a woman in his provincial executive council of 10 MECs.
There are five women MECs and five men, with him being the six, which is against the party’s decision of 50/50 gender representation.
Several members of the ANC’s provincial executive committee said it was difficult to choose which man to drop from the provincial cabinet, for political and competency reasons. Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi was expected not to be affected by the decision as he was redeployed back to the department by Makhura due to public demand by Gauteng citizens, after he was initially appointed as finance MEC following elections.
Lesufi is also the party’s second in command in the province. Human settlements MEC Lebogang Maile was also unlikely to be fired as he was seen to be representing a dominant grouping within the party, who would be opposed to his axing.
Economic development MEC DrKgosientso “Sputla” Ramokgopa and health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku were viewed as fit for purpose as they had industry experience and educational background of their portfolios.
“If you fire one of them and replace them with a woman who has lesser credentials, that would reflect badly on us. The opposition can easily accuse us of compromising competence for expediency,” said one PEC member.
Roads and Transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo was also viewed as difficult to chop, as he represented the alliance component.
Mamabolo is SACP provincial secretary and his firing would be undesirable as it would likely result in Cosatu and the SACP complaining about marginalisation over deployment.
“Yes, the social development MEC (Thuliswa Nkabinde-Khawe) is from Sanco, but we know that Cosatu and the SACP would expect someone from their leadership collective,” one PEC member said. (Nkabinde-Khawe is the SA National Civic Organisation’s provincial secretary.)
The ANC PEC initially approached the ANC National Working Committee (NWC) and successfully asked to be allowed to deviate from the gender parity policy, but the NEC overturned the decision. The PEC is set to meet this week where it is expected to debate the matter and report back to the ANC’s top six and NWC.
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