Cape Town - Two women were appointed to the previously
all-male Western Cape provincial cabinet announced by Premier Helen Zille
"I did make absolutely sure [of] that because I had
two vacancies, and because I knew you would be like a pack of
bloodhounds," Zille told reporters when introducing the MECs at the
"I chose two people who happened to be born with
Associate Professor Nomafrench Mbombo would take up the
cultural affairs and sport portfolio. Mbombo was an academic in the community
and health sciences facility at the University of the Western Cape.
Debbie Schafer was put in charge of the education
portfolio, replacing Donald Grant who moves to transport.
Schafer had served as DA MP since 2009, and a City of
Cape Town councillor before that.
Zille said a woman, Sharna Fernandez, was elected speaker
of the provincial legislature.
"Obviously, them being women is important to get
diversity of gender but they are appointed primarily because they are good at
what they do," Zille said.
"We now have 200% more women than we did
before," she said, to laughter from journalists.
The DA leader was re-elected premier after receiving 27
votes in the provincial legislature on Wednesday morning. She easily beat the
14 votes for provincial ANC leader Marius Fransman. One ballot was spoilt.
Commenting on gender representation, Zille said she
always thought about the most vulnerable person whose life could potentially be
changed by government officials.
She said choosing a team on gender alone would probably not
serve the weakest and most needy citizens.
At the same time, she recognised that a diverse team was
needed in a diverse country.
Pointing to the eight male MECs seated around her, she
said: "The bottom line is that every single one of those men worked as
hard as they could, put their backs into this job, and made a difference to the
"I was certainly not going to fire anyone because
they are a man. I don't do that kind of thing."
She said eight MECs were returning, two of whom were in
Former transport MEC Robin Carlisle and agriculture MEC
Gerrit van Rensburg would not return because they were retiring.
Zille paid tribute to them and said they had served terms
of great distinction.
She announced a new combined portfolio - that of agriculture,
economic development, and tourism, to be headed by Alan Winde.
She said economic development had been separated from
finance because the first looked to an external process and the second to the
internal finances of government.
The departments, however, would still remain separate.
"The two biggest backbones of our economy are
agriculture and tourism."
Zille said she was trying to eradicate the outdated image
of agriculture as an old farmer sitting on his stoep drinking coffee.
"We need to translate what is produced on farms into
The other MECs are: Theuns Botha (health); Anton Bredell
(local government, environmental affairs, and developmental planning); Albert
Fritz (social development); Donald Grant (transport and public works);
Bonginkosi Madikizela (human settlements); Ivan Meyer (finance); and Dan Plato
The MECs will be sworn in by Western Cape High Court
Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso on Monday.