North West premier fires four MECs and recycles cabinet

North West premier Job Mokgoro reshuffled his cabinet.
North West premier Job Mokgoro reshuffled his cabinet.
Image: Veli Nhlapo / Sowetan

North West premier Job Mokgoro axed four members of the previous provincial cabinet on Thursday afternoon.

One of the most noteworthy firings was MEC of the embattled department of health which saw health workers going on strike for three months, shutting down all health facilities in the province. The workers were demanding the department management be fired after scandals including the Gupta-linked Mediosa contract were exposed. 

Mokgoro axed longest-serving health MEC Magome Masike and replaced him with SACP provincial secretary Madoda Sambatha, who was previously the MEC for public works.

Agriculture MEC Manketsi Tlhape, who was accused of taking cattle meant for emerging farmers, was fired and replaced by tourism MEC Desbo Mohono. Mohono was a former MEC for the same department during the previous administration.

Social development MEC Hoffman Galeng, who was in hot water with Scopa for allegedly hiring four security guards at his private home using taxpayers' money, was also removed. He was replaced by Fenny Gaolaolwe, the former social development MEC who was currently heading the human settlements department.

Public works MEC Mmule Maluleka was fired and replaced by former transport MEC Oageng Molapisi.

Former education and finance MEC Wendy Matsemela took over from Wendy Nelson at the finance, economy and enterprise development department. Nelson was shifted to the tourism department.

Former economic development MEC Motlalepule Rosho will be heading the human settlements and local government department which has been led by Gaolaolwe.

Education MEC Sello Lehari, culture, arts and traditional affairs MEC Ontlametse Mochware, community safety and transport management MEC Mpho Motlhabane retained their positions.

 All  provincial departments were placed under section 100 earlier this year.

Mokgoro said his decision to reshuffle his cabinet was informed by the upheavals of this year where it was evidently clear that there was an erosion of trust between the electorate in the province and provincial government.

 He said the province was still experiencing public protests but those were not on the scale witnessed in April this year with a complete shutdown of services and business activity across the province.

At that time residents wanted former premier Supra Mahumapelo fired, saying that since his inception as premier, service delivery had not improved.

 Mokgoro said he appreciated all those who were committed to a clean and corruption-free provincial administration. “We are now starting to see stability in our financial control systems, much more stability in our supply chain management systems and, in addition, the relationship between organised labour and the provincial government has improved for the better."

He said he was pleased law enforcement was doing forensic investigations. “We trust that those investigations will assist us in cleaning[up] and rooting out all elements that seek to undermine our democracy from further contaminating our public service."

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