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Johannesburg - Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane will not be retained if the provincial ANC leaders get their wish.
The Star has reliably learnt that Mokonyane has been excluded from the list of three names the ANC provincial executive committee (PEC) wants forwarded to serve as premier.
Instead, the PEC has named secretary-general David Makhura, Education MEC Barbara Creecy and Finance MEC Mandla Nkomfe as its preferred candidates.
The three top the provincial list of candidates, along with Housing MEC Ntombi Mekgwe, who was offered the position of Speaker in the provincial assembly.
The list, which is to be finalised on Friday, is to be submitted to the ANC national executive committee (NEC) for ratification.
The decision was taken at a marathon PEC meeting on Monday, during which the party deliberated on “a high-level election report” by the provincial elections team.
ANC Gauteng spokesman Nkenke Kekana denied the matter about the premier was discussed during the PEC meeting.
“Contrary to speculation, the premiership of the province was not discussed yet… The PEC will discuss and recommend three names to be considered by the NEC. All of this will be done before (members of the provincial legislatures) are sworn in next week.”
The Star has spoken to several sources independently. They all confirmed the list.
The resolution could set Gauteng on a collision course with the NEC, especially from President Jacob Zuma’s faction. Mokonyane and Zuma are widely seen as enjoying a cordial relationship.
Mokonyane was nominated to the ANC’s list for the National Assembly, but declined – fuelling speculation that Zuma wanted her to continue as premier.
Sources said Gauteng would challenge the NEC and Zuma if he defied them for the second time in a row and insisted on retaining Mokonyane.
“We will see how it goes, but we won’t just keep quiet if they impose any candidate on us,” said one source. “We took the flak for the (election) results, but the problems do not necessarily emanate from Gauteng alone.”
In 2009, the provincial leadership proposed that Paul Mashatile – who had been acting as Gauteng premier – continue to head the province. Instead, the NEC appointed Mokonyane, the then MEC of housing.
Sources told The Star on Tuesday the decision to exclude Mokonyane was unanimous, despite the provincial leadership acknowledging Gauteng’s “relatively good performance” in service delivery in the past five years.
But Mokonyane, like Zuma for the Nkandla saga and his other scandals, is said to have taken the flak for Gauteng’s poor performance in last week’s elections, which saw the ANC shedding 10 percentage points, receiving 53.92 percent of the vote in the province.
“Remember that the ordinary voters may vote according to who is the face of (the province) and performance. But if one considers the drop in the elections, who is to blame? So the PEC had to consider that,” said one source.
Mokonyane’s utterances that “the ANC doesn’t need your dirty votes” to residents of Bekkersdal, west of Joburg, appeared to have come back to haunt the party in the run-up to the elections as the party had difficulty campaigning in the area.
Gauteng’s proposed list for the preferred candidate is not cast in stone, as the PEC seems divided on the matter.
“It will be a difficult decision because we have two centres of power (emanating) from who supported who (in the run-up) to Mangaung (ANC 2012 elective conference),” said another source.
Gauteng is believed to have campaigned for Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.