Mpumalanga premier Refilwe Mtsweni announces 'mixed bag' cabinet

Mpumalanga premier Refilwe Mtsweni has announced her cabinet.
Mpumalanga premier Refilwe Mtsweni has announced her cabinet.
Image: Mandla Khoza

Mpumalanga premier Refilwe Mtsweni has announced her “mixed bag” cabinet with gender balance. 

Mtsweni announced her “capable cabinet” on Tuesday evening, saying she has consulted with her political party, the ANC, and is content that the five-women and five-men cabinet will serve the people of Mpumalanga. 

The cabinet included provincial secretary of the SA Communist Party, Bonakele Majuba, a fierce critic of former premier David Mabuza.

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“By the powers vested upon me as the premier of Mpumalanga province and in accordance with section 132, sub-section [2] of the constitution of the Republic of South Africa, I have, after consultations with the ruling party and our alliance partners, identified and appointed capable men and women who will serve in the executive and assist me in my responsibilities of running government,” Mtsweni said. 

“I have no doubt in my mind that these are individuals who will perform their functions to the best of their abilities. These are men and women of high integrity, with unquestionable high work ethics, and collectively have vast experience in political administration.

"Our people are yearning for a better, efficient and effective developmental administration that is people-centred and addresses their urgent needs. Unless we begin to do things differently, our people are running out of patience and we are also running out of time. Our focus is going to be on unemployment in particular youth unemployment."

Vusi Shongwe retains the department of agriculture, rural development and land administration; Sasekani Manzini heads the health department; Majuba becomes the MEC for education and Norah Mahlangu retains human settlement department; while Gillion Mashego has been reappointed as public works MEC.

From the youth league, Gabisile Tshabalala becomes MEC for department of community safety, security and liaison and Mandla Msibi gets to lead the corporate governance and traditional affairs department.

Pat Ngomane becomes finance MEC, economic development and tourism; while Thandi Shongwe has been appointed MEC for social development. Former Emalahleni mayor and current acting secretary of the provincial ANC Lindiwe Ntshalintshali becomes MEC for arts, sport, culture and recreation.

The announcement of the executive was met with mixed reaction by opposition parties who called it “recycling” and “mixed bag”. 

DA spokesperson Dumisile Masuku said: “This cabinet is a mixed bag, the premier has recycled some MECs who have not performed well in the previous administration. Again, the premier has put Lindiwe Ntshalintshali - who collapsed Emalahleni municipality - and some people like Mandla Msibi who were arrested recently for crime."

EFF leader in the province, Collen Sedibe, labelled the appointments as sponsored by deputy president of the ANC David Mabuza. “These are sponsored appointments. The premier was given names to announce by DD [David Mabuza]. Remember that she's vulnerable politically because she is not in the PEC [provincial executive committee] so she is told what to do,” Sedibe said. 

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