Cape Town - Community activists and opposition politicians are up in arms about the fact that nearly three months since Albert Fritz was suspended as Community Safety MEC, Premier Alan Winde has yet to appoint a permanent replacement.
There is also speculation about who will be named to fill the crucial post on the provincial executive council when the premier finally makes a decision.
Spokesperson for the premier, Odette Cason, said: “The premier is applying his mind to the vacancy that exists in his cabinet. He intends to make this appointment soon, and we will communicate the decision when it is made.”
Cason said MEC Anroux Marais would continue to act in the position until a permanent replacement was made.
EFF provincial chairperson Melikhaya Xego thought the post would go to DA MPL Dan Plato, who held the job between June 2011 and October 2018.
“We all understand Fritz was compromised in order to accommodate Dan Plato. Now it’s a serious challenge to openly do it just like that. But it is in the pipeline that Plato will ultimately replace Fritz in the long run.”
He said the DA was waiting for the right time to appoint Plato without making it look obvious that this was the reason he was brought back to the provincial legislature.
Khayelitsha CPF member Francina Lukas said: “We call on the premier to appoint an MEC as soon as possible.
The situation in our province is such that we cannot afford to have caretakers in such an important job.”
Provincial ANC community safety spokesperson Mesuli Kama pointed to the recent mass killings and the ongoing gang turf wars in the province, and said the fact that the premier had not urgently appointed a permanent Community Safety MEC showed he did not care about the lives of the people – black lives in particular.
“The acting MEC has been acting in the position for three months, despite her limited understanding of the community safety space. We call on the DA to make a permanent appointment in the position, because black lives matter.”
Philippi community activist Xolani Pukayi said he did not think the premier was affected by the crime in the townships because the areas where his rich supporters lived were already well protected.
ACDP MPL Ferlon Christians said he was concerned by how long it was taking to make the appointment, and urged the premier to stop dragging his feet.
Hanover Park CPF public relations officer Kashiefa Mohammed said: “An MEC must be picked based on merit, not just to fill a vacant position.”
She said she did not think the premier had the will to fight crime issues and that the safety plan he had been talking about for the past two years was not working.
Al Jama-ah MPL Galil Brinkhuis said: “We feel it is shameful that the provincial government has delayed the appointment of an MEC. The premier must come and sort out this mess.”