ANC touts two new heads for coastal provinces

Eric Naki

Eric Naki

Albert Luthuli House, the ANC's headquarters, is on the verge of intervening in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape to install new premiers to replace Nosimo Balindlela and Ibrahim Rasool.

The party's national working committee is working on names of possible candidates to replace Balindlela and a decision is expected to be made this weekend.

Names being touted to replace Balindlela are those of SACP national treasurer Phumulo Masualle, agriculture MEC Gugile Nkwinti, Stone Sizani, former Eastern Cape Development Corporation CEO, Mcebisi Jonas and OR Tambo district municipality mayor Zoleka Capa, who is also an NEC member.

Masualle is believed to have an edge over the others because he is a member of the influential SACP politburo, an MPL and had previously served in the provincial government as an MEC for public works before then premier Makhenkesi Stofile dismissed him.

Speaking to Sowetan yesterday, ANC Eastern Cape chairman Mluleki George warned that it would be unwise to remove Balindlela now before next year's general elections.

"While our provincial executive committee (PEC) is aware of the problems in the provincial administration, we do not believe that removing the premier will help. If you put in new people now you are setting them up to fail. The situation can be managed until next year."

George said dismissing only Balindlela while leaving senior government officials in place is a waste of time. He said the heads of departments, especially those of education and health, were a real problem and the ANC needed to deal with them first.

In the Western Cape, the ANC is said to be wary of replacing Rasool with either provincial secretary Mcebisi Skwatsha and chairman James Ngculu because either choice could fuel the ongoing factionalism.

Luthuli House is also said to be contemplating deploying outsiders to both the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape to avoid conflict.

"The fact is in the Western Cape we have to consider the critical coloured constituency because we do not want to lose that province to the DA again. Also we want to leave both sides in the Eastern Cape happy with whoever is deployed there," said an ANC source in Bhisho.