Premier Mathale reshuffles cabinet

2011-01-28 17:24

Limpopo premier and provincial ANC chairperson Cassel Mathale has finally caved in to public pressure to fire his embattled and controversial Health and Social Development MEC, Miriam Segabutla.

Despite pressure from his rivals in the ruling party, Mathale reluctantly sacked Segabutla in a provincial cabinet reshuffle last night and replaced her and another fired colleague, former Provincial Treasury MEC Saad Cachalia, but replaced them with his close allies.

He once more defied calls and appeals for the inclusion of former ANC Youth League (ANCYL) Limpopo chairperson, Lehlogonolo Masoga, a fierce enemy of Mathale’s ally, ANCYL president Julius Malema, who is believed to be a candidate favoured by ANC top brass at Luthuli House.Although his office repeatedly denied a pending reshuffle, growing speculation and rumours which refused to subside since September last year were confirmed this morning with news about the sacking of Segabutla and Cachalia.

While Segabutla’s sacking was widely expected after repeated accusations of tender irregularities, nepotism and maladministration, Cachalia’s fate came as a surprise as he was seen by many – including ANC comrades, civil servants, alliance partners and opposition parties – as one of the top performers in Mathale’s cabinet.

Mathale brought into his cabinet former Mopani ANC regional secretary, Thabitha Mohlala, and ex-Young Communist League chairperson David Masondo as public works and provincial treasury MECs respectively.

He also re-arranged the tables, moving Dikeledi Magadzi from the safety, security and liaison to the health and social development portfolio, and George Phadagi from public works to Magadzi’s former department.

The new MECs are:
» Dickson Masemola: Education
» Geroge Phadagi: Safety, Security and Liaison
» Dikeledi Magadzi: Health and Social Development
» Pitsi Moloto: Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism
» David Masondo: Provincial Treasury
» Thabitha Mohlala: Public Works
» Joyce Mashamba: Sports, Arts and Culture
» Soviet Lekganyane: Local Government and Housing
» Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba: Agriculture
» Pinky Kekana: Roads and Transport

Cachalia and Segabutla could not be reached for comment.But speaking on SABC television current affairs programme Ngula ya Vutivi earlier this week, Segabutla said she was not aware of her pending sacking, adding people had the right to their opinions about her future.

‘I’m doing a good job’ She insisted she was doing a good job, saying her critics ignored her achievements and underestimated the challenges her department faced.

Mohlala is a known Mathale ally in his home region of Mopani. She was once accused by ANC branches of manipulating branch nominations in favour of the premier ahead of the 2008 ANC provincial conference held at Thohoyandou, which swept Mathale to power.

Mohlala denied the claims at the time.While Masondo’s inclusion was unexpected, it has been seen by some as a reward for breaking ranks with YCL National Secretary Buti Manamela and South African Communist Party Secretary-General Blade Nzimande, Malema’s opponents in the ruling party’s alliance, and moving towards the ANC youth leader in recent years.

Mathale’s office said the reshuffle was aimed at enhancing service delivery and improving the lives of the people of Limpopo.

In a statement Mathale’s spokesperson, Phuti Mosomane, said deliberations at the provincial cabinet lekgotla two weeks ago also contributed to the decision to sack Segabutla and Cachalia.

He added that the fired two would “be given other responsibilities”.The provincial ANC, which last year publicly called on Segabutla to address the province’s health “crisis”, said the reshuffle would “add impetus” to the implementation of the resolutions taken at its provincial ANC Lekgotla held on January 22.

The party added it would “interact” with Segabutla and Cachalia on the “new responsibilities” the party will assign to them.

ANC and government sources said Segabutla was likely to be appointed as one of the advisors in Mathale’s office. Cachalia’s future remains unclear.

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