Cosatu, through its provincial secretary Anele Gxoyiya, lodged the initial attack on Lucas, who was at the provincial elective conference on Thursday, to purge former Northern MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism Mac Jack and former MEC for Transport, Safety and Liaison Pauline Williams, for allegedly not supporting her campaign to become ANC chair.
Gxoyiya said that Lucas’ decision to reshuffle her cabinet was “unilateral” and that she failed to recognise the work of the provincial deployment committee which consisted of the ANC and its alliance partners.
“We have thrown the matter of her decision to unilaterally reshuffle to conference to decide about her future. It is now up to her to know what is right for her to do or to resign as premier,” Gxoyiya said.
He insisted that any removal of Lucas as premier should be conducted through the internal processes of the ANC, which include disciplinary processes for allegedly bringing the party into disrepute or undermining a lawful party instruction.
However, the ANC in the Northern Cape also have an option to bring a motion of no confidence against her but, for it to succeed, it must be supported by one or two opposition party members.
As for Cosatu, a vote of no confidence was not an option..
“We are not going to propose any motion of no confidence against her in the legislature. We do not want to fight our battles with the opposition parties. We want the ANC to use its own internal processes. We are aggrieved as much as they are also aggrieved. The premier does not qualify to be an ANC public representative,” Gxoyiya stated after his address to conference.
The call gained more weight as the National ANC office had also earlier condemned Lucas’ decision to reshuffle her cabinet without consulting the provincial ANC executive, where she serves as provincial treasurer.
ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa, expressing the views of the ANC top brass, said they noted with “disbelief the actions of the Northern Cape Premier, Comrade Sylvia Lucas,” to reshuffle her cabinet without any consultation with the ANC.
“We view this as a flagrant abuse of her office to further divide the ANC and undermine unity of the organisation. Her unbridled arrogance is a betrayal of trust with the ANC - the organisation that deployed her as premier,” Kodwa said.
He reminded Lucas that the consultation was part of the 52nd ANC national conference resolution in Mangaung in December 2012, which stated that “consultation with the ANC structures on matters of deployment is a principle of the organisation and not a favour”.
“Our deployees must desist from misusing their deployment to deepen divisions in the ANC,” Kodwa said.
SACP Northern Cape spokesman Patrick Bosiame also corroborated the view that the reshuffling by Lucas was “unilateral and individualistic”.
Bosaime said they would hold an urgent meeting as alliance partners after the provincial conference to discuss Lucas’ future as premier. He pointed out that the Premier was elected by the ANC and alliance partners and not by “the masses”.
Meanwhile, Cope indicated that the reshuffle was expected a long time ago. Cope MPL Pakes Dikgetsi pointed out that the battle between ANC factions was playing out.
“The move shouldn’t be viewed as coming from the person occupying the office of premier only, but as a chess game by factions at each other’s throats. They are two sides of the same coin fighting for power, self-enrichment and self-preservation.”
Dikgetsi stated that the refusal of the premier to provide reasons for the reshuffle was “arrogance of the worst order”.
“She fails to grasp the lessons learned by her boss, President Jacob Zuma, when the court ruled that any executive decision has to be accompanied by rational reasons and be premised on the principle of legality.
“This move was not motivated by anything to do with good governance or improved service delivery to the people. It has everything to do with self-serving interests from both warring factions in the ANC.”
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