Power falls to Paul in Gauteng

2010-11-07 09:21

The Gauteng cabinet reshuffle has clinched ANC chairperson Paul Mashatile’s takeover of power in the province.

The reshuffling of the ­provincial cabinet this week saw ­individuals aligned to Mashatile appointed as MECs partly to bolster service delivery but also to entrench the faction ­Mashatile is leading.

Of the four MECs, Premier Nomvula Mokonyane appointed, three – Gauteng ANC Youth League leader Lebogang Maile, former Ekurhuleni mayor ­Ntombi Mekgwe and former Mogale City municipal manager Humphrey Mmemezi. They are all part of Mashatile’s group.

Ishmael Vadi, the former chair of Parliament’s communications portfolio committee, was the fourth person to be appointed to Mokonyane’s cabinet but it is not clear if he has links to Mashatile.

Announcing the reshuffle on Tuesday, Mokonyane made it clear it was the ANC in the province that had instructed her to effect the changes.

Maile, Mekgwe and Mmemezi played a critical role in helping Mashatile retain his chairmanship of the province at the ­highly contested ANC Gauteng elective conference in May.

Maile is said to have exerted a crucial influence in getting the youth league to successfully back Mashatile at that conference. This was after the ANCYL provincial executive committee (PEC) initially expressed its support of Mokonyane’s ­intentions to take over the reins from Mashatile. But youth league branches later overturned the committee’s decision.

The league hosted a party in Alexandra last night to celebrate Maile’s appointment.

An ANC source said ­Mokonyane gave the executive ­­­­a hard time, but she was ­eventually forced to give in as ANC provincial secretary David Makhura had “cracked the whip”. The source said Mokonyane had become a lame-duck ­premier and President Jacob ­Zuma had realised that ­Mashatile had become “very powerful”.

Gauteng Democratic Alliance leader Jack Bloom said the ­reshuffle was purely a matter of political ­expediency and an act of ­patronage whose sole purpose was to reward those who had helped Mashatile defeat ­Mokonyane.

Bloom singled out Mekgwe as unsuitable for the health and ­social development portfolio, which was previously the ­responsibility of Qedani ­Mahlangu, who is now economic development MEC.

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