Mixed reaction to Limpopo's new cabinet

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Stan Mathabatha, premier of Limpopo. (Picture: Kenny Mathiva)
Stan Mathabatha, premier of Limpopo. (Picture: Kenny Mathiva)

There was a mixed reaction to the announcement of the Limpopo cabinet, which now includes five new members, some of whom have previously been implicated in maladministration and vote-for-jobs campaigns.

The cabinet was announced by re-elected Premier Stan Mathabatha immediately after he was sworn in at the provincial legislature in Lebowakgomo outside Polokwane on Wednesday.

The new cabinet includes Dickson Masemola, who was ANC deputy chairperson and education MEC when the provincial government was placed under national administration during Cassel Mathale's time as premier.

At the time, the Department of Education was found to have wasted more than R2bn.

The ANC provincial executive committee (PEC) was also dissolved and a task team was appointed to run the affairs of the party.

'Sleeping on duty'

Masemola has been appointed as Transport and Community Safety MEC. He replaced Makoma Makhurupetja who was sworn in as an MPL on Wednesday.

The controversial former mayor of Mopani district municipality, Nkakareng Ragoale, was also appointed as Social Development MEC, replacing Mapula Mokaba-Phukwana.

An audio recording went viral earlier this year in which Ragoale was lobbying ANC members to vote for her to be included in a list for provincial legislature candidacy, in exchange for jobs.

EFF provincial leader Jossey Buthane believes Mathabatha himself should have been replaced because "he is known for sleeping on duty".

"The change of cabinet does not mean there is going to be any fundamental change. You still have a premier who is known for sleeping on duty. We are still going to have a problem of accountability," Buthane said.

Unaccountable

The sentiments were echoed by Limpopo DA leader Jacque Smalle: "The premier did not hold people accountable in the past. I don’t see him holding people accountable now, and some dodgy characters have made their return.”

But ANC provincial secretary Soviet Lekganyane and SA Communist Party spokesperson Machike Thobejane separately expressed confidence in the cabinet. 

Lekganyane went further: "He [Masemola] is one of the veterans of the ANC in the province. So we are expecting them [cabinet members] to rise to the occasion and embrace the philosophy of the New Dawn."

Apart from Polly Boshielo, who was the legislature speaker, other new members of the cabinet are relatively unknown in the province. They are Thabo Mokone and Dr Onnica Mochadi.

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