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Cape Town - Western Cape Premier Helen Zille has added two women to her provincial Cabinet, announcing her 10-strong team on Wednesday.
The new Cabinet comprises eight MECs from the last term in office, and the two vacancies come after the departure of Agriculture MEC Gerrit van Rensburg to the National Assembly, and Transport and Public Works MEC Robin Carlisle, who has retired.
Five MECs have kept their portfolios, two have new portfolios and one has a changed portfolio.
The latter is that of Alan Winde, former MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism. Winde drops the Finance portfolio, and takes on Agriculture, while retaining the Economic Development portfolio. This, Zille explained, was because agriculture was such a powerful driver of the Western Cape economy that she chose to unite the porfolio with Economic Development for maximum cohesion.
The two newcomers to her Cabinet are Nomafrench Mbombo, incomingMEC for Cultural Affairs and Sport, and Debbie Schafer, incoming MEC for Education.
Introducing the pair, Zille said Professor Mbombo was an academic in the Faculty of Community and Health Sciences at the University of the Western Cape who has focused on maternal and child health.
She would be tasked with pioneering the flagship Mass Opportunity Development Centres for youth across the province, an innovation of the Western Cape government.
Schafer comes to the Western Cape legislature from the National Assembly at Parliament, where she has served since 2009.
Prior to that she was a councillor in the City of Cape Town.
“Before beginning her political career, Ms Schafer practised as an attorney of the Cape High Court for 12 years,” Zille said.
The 10 MECs, and Zille as Premier, will be sworn in by Western Cape High Court Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso on Monday.
The ministers retained in the Cabinet are, with explanations from Zille:
1. Minister Theuns Botha – Health
The largest budget in government, which faces enormous pressures in escalating demand for services, due to demographic shifts, piloting new national programmes, reducing the burden of disease, and driving public-private partnerships in health care.
2. Minister Anton Bredell - Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning.
Two critical portfolios: The first to build the capacity of local government to deliver basic services, implement their integrated development plans, and improve their audit outcomes; and the second to balance environmental protection with promoting development that drives economic growth.
3. Albert Fritz – Social Development
This is an interface and service portfolio to our most vulnerable citizens. It runs major projects autonomously (such as places of safety for children and rehabilitation centres for drug addicts, services for people with disabilities, and victims of abuse). It funds and partners NGOs and NPOs to assist in delivering these and a range of other services. For the first time in years this department has achieved stability and can now deepen and broaden its services.
4. Donald Grant – Transport and Public Works (Grant was formerly Education MEC).
Public Works is a critical portfolio for the major developments envisaged in our five year term, from the city regeneration programme, to the Two Rivers Urban Park, to the redevelopment of the Conradie Precinct, District 6, and major provincial infrastructure projects, including roads, schools, hospitals, clinics, and land consolidation for public services. Transport is responsible for facilitating the integration of transport services across the province, the oversight and licensing of the taxi industry, for bringing down the death toll on our roads through the “Safely Home” project, and for the management of Provincial Traffic Police amongst other things as well as co-ordination with the municipal police.
5. Bonginkosi Madikizela – Human Settlements
The most complex portfolio in government from a policy and implementation point of view, requiring depth of understanding, management of complex processes, ongoing conflict resolution, innovation of new delivery methods, mobilisation of alternative sources of finance and resolute leadership.
6. Dr Ivan Meyer – Finance (Meyer was former Cultural Affairs and Sport MEC)
This “backbone” department is responsible for aligning the provincial budget with the provincial strategic plan, as well as the integrated development plans and budgets of local governments. It must oversee the province’s “operation clean audit” programme, and interact with the National Treasury in the management of the Province’s financial affairs.
7. Dan Plato - Community Safety
This is an oversight portfolio with major new challenges including the implementation of the oversight mechanisms of the Community Safety Act, pilot projects of the Safety Lab, and strategies to combat drug and alcohol abuse, including the new Liquor Act. It also requires extensive liaison and partnerships with communities in developing our “whole of society” approach to safety.
8. Alan Winde – Agriculture, Economic Development and Tourism (Winde loses Finance, but takes on Agriculture)
Alan Winde will now lead the Departments of Agriculture and Economic Development and Tourism. In a new innovation, the two departments have to maximize economic growth and job creation potential in the Western Cape. Agriculture and Tourism constitution the backbone of the Western Cape’s economy, with many rapidly developing sectors in ascendancy. Outstanding leadership of these portfolios are essential to maximize job creation.