Mxolisi Dukwana elected Free State premier

Mxolisi Dukwana the new Free State premier. File photo.
Mxolisi Dukwana the new Free State premier. File photo.
Image: Denvor de Wee

Mxolisi Dukwana is the new premier of the Free State province.

Dukwana was sworn-in as premier on Friday after the forced resignation of Sisi Ntombela who had been at the helm of the slowly dilapidating province.

She was recalled by the ANC provincial executive committee (PEC) just weeks after its election at the conference that elected Dukwana as chair.

SowetanLIVE sister publication, TimesLIVE reported earlier this month that the provincial spokesperson Jabu Mbalula confirmed the decision to recall Ntombela.

Ntombela was beaten by Dukwana, a staunch ally of president Cyril Ramaphosa, in the race for the ANC chair position at the provincial conference last month, and in doing so, is said to have buried the political prospects of the once strongman Ace Magashule.

Ntombela failed to make it onto the 30-member PEC, that is mostly made up of Dukwana’s allies.

“The PEC meeting expressed a need that Ntate Mxolisi Dukwana should be installed as the premier of the Free State,” Mbalula said.

The PEC has been scathing in its assessment of Ntombela’s performance as premier albeit recognising the performance in education as the single element of her government that works well.

One of the factors that led to the recall of Ntombela, according to Mbalula, was the auditor-general’s report on the poor state of service delivery in the province.

The other was, he said, the need to align the leadership of the ANC in the province to the government.

“If you look at the auditor-general’s report, it is particularly concerning with regard to our municipalities in the Free State. It points to accountability, service delivery and stability issues.

“So we looked at that, also the performance of various government departments. The only area where we seem to be doing well, corroborated by the matric results, is in education. But as for other departments, there is so much that needs to be done.

“So we feel we need to act with speed on these things to make sure that there is real service delivery. We are concerned about the state of our roads, there is a concern about issues of water treatment, sewer spillages and energy and economic opportunities.”

The troubled Mangaung mayor Mxolisi Siyonzana was also recalled after the ANC was embarrassed by the shocking levels of service delivery in the Mangaung metropolitan municipality, when thousands of its guests descended on the province for the January 8 celebrations.

From roads riddled with life-threatening potholes to revelations that some residents were still using the bucket system, the poor state of the metro was laid bare for everyone to see.

Ramaphosa’s motorcade had to swerve around potholes that have become synonymous with the Free State as he criss-crossed the province in the lead-up to the celebrations.

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