Off to Cape Town

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

In a surprise turn of events, Cope will send its premier candidate for Limpopo, Sello Moloto, to serve the party in Parliament.

Cope, which is now the official opposition in the province, had initially intended to deploy Moloto to Limpopo's legislature.

The party had also announced earlier that if it won the general elections Moloto would be appointed premier in the province.

The sudden change of heart has seemingly been prompted by Cope's failure to win the elections with an overwhelming majority in Limpopo.

They have now decided to deploy Cope's provincial convener, Solly Mokhashoa, as their political emissary in the legislature.

Party insiders, who spoke to Sowetan on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, said the leadership decided that Moloto could not serve in the legislature because that would be perceived as a demotion.

Cope provincial spokesperson Mabilu Mokwalakwala confirmed yesterday that the party had decided to move Moloto out of the province to serve in Parliament.

Mokwalakwala said Moloto was too big to be sent to the legislature because of his experience in government.

"He served in critical government positions for more than a decade and we believe his vast experience both politically and in service delivery can add value to the national government," Mokwalakwala said.

Though Moloto's move to Parliament will be seen as political promotion, financially it is a demotion for someone who used to be the first citizen of a province, who was chauffeured, had 10 bodyguards, a state vehicle and a state house.

It is also viewed as a demotion because as premier Moloto earned an annual salary of about R900000 excluding perks. And now he will earn about R800000 a year.

At the time of going to press, it was not yet known who would occupy the party's remaining three seats in the provincial cabinet.

The ANC is the ruling party with 43 seats, which is more than three quarters of the required 49 seats, while Cope secured four seats and the DA two seats.

Meanwhile, Kenny Mathivha of the Limpopo Legislature, said yesterday that political parties had until today to submit a list of names of people whom they wanted to be deployed to the legislature.