Gauteng cabinet debate: Who gets the chop?

Gauteng Premier David Makhura. (Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)
Gauteng Premier David Makhura. (Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)

While the ANC at national office has confirmed that Gauteng Premier David Makhura will have a cabinet reshuffle this week to replace one male MEC with a woman, it's anyone's guess who will get the chop out of the five. 

The ANC's national executive committee, the highest decision making body between conferences, resolved that Makhura must remove a male MEC in line with a resolution taken at the end of May after he had appointed his cabinet.

ANC acting spokesperson Dakota Legoete said Makhura had met with the top six to finalise the process.

"He (Makhura) is now consulting all affected people and an announcement will be made on Friday," Legoete said.

READ: Gauteng ANC to meet party's Top 6 about dropping one male MEC

The ANC NEC decided that in provinces with male premiers, 60% of the executive had to be female. Makhura, however, has 50/50 representation. 

The choice between cutting Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku, Economic Development Agriculture and Environment MEC Kgosientso Ramokgopa, Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, Human Settlements, Urban Planning and Cogta MEC Lebogang Maile and Transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo has been difficult for Gauteng.

This has resulted in the party in the province, also led by Makhura, holding countless meetings with numerous leagues and structures in a bid to retain the status quo. 

This was fiercely debated at all levels at top six level, the women's league and the alliance partners, including the SACP which forced Gauteng to make a decision.

The ANC, following its NEC meeting, said Makhura would have to make an announcement by the first week of October.

News24 understands that further consultation is still underway as Makhura grapples to secure backing on the way forward from the different structures in the province.

Ramokgopa or Mamabolo

While some in the ANC circles in the province had initially believed Masuku would be the easiest to cut, it's likely to be a toss up between Ramokgopa and Mamabolo. While Masuku has no significant constituency, sources say he plays a crucial role in the health ministry.

Others in the ANC claim it will be easier to chop SACP's provincial secretary Mamabolo while in the same breath, strong indications point to Ramokgopa getting the boot.

News24 understands an alliance meeting has been set for this week. It's however unclear if Makhura's reshuffle will form part of the agenda.

A party insider told News24, the former Tshwane mayor has had "too many blunders, has no constituency and is really just Makhura's passion project".

Some also felt aggrieved when Ramokgopa was appointed to Makhura's cabinet claiming he was responsible for the party's loss of Tshwane. 

During early negotiations on the reshuffle, however, some were against Ramokgopa's removal arguing that he represented the Tshwane region in the executive, a concern that is believed to have been taken into consideration with a proposal for a female from the Tshwane region takes over.

ALSO READ: 'It is up to the premier' - Masuku on his fate, as Makhura faces pressure to drop one male MEC

According to another source, Ramokgopa could be deployed to national government where there is a vacancy in the department of minerals and energy following the death of deputy minister Bavelile Hlongwa. This might have challenges as it will direct the gender question at national level. 

Maile has mostly been seen as 'untouchable' due to his close ties to ANC treasurer general Paul Mashatile and his popularity within the party. Maile was in charge of the ANC's election campaign in the province.

Lesufi is equally popular in the province. This was evident when Makhura appointed him as finance MEC after the elections. He was largely lambasted by Gauteng residents for removing Lesufi from his previous role as education MEC and after immense pressure from the province, Makhura reappointed Lesufi to the education portfolio. Lesufi is largely seen as the darling of basic education in the province. 

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