By Carien Du Plessis

For the first time in the history of the country, the majority of the premiers will be women.

The ANC has announced four women premiership candidates who will be duly elected by their respective legislatures next week.

The Western Cape, which was snatched by the DA from the ANC, will also be led by a woman, party leader Helen Zille.

The ANC's women premiers are:

  • Eastern Cape - Noxolo Kiviet, the Speaker in the legislature;

  • Gauteng - Nomvula Mokonyane, Gauteng Housing MEC;

  • Northern Cape - Hazel Jenkins, Pixley ka Seme district mayor;

  • North West - Maureen Modiselle, Finance MEC.

    "In the Western Cape, Lynne Brown (the deposed premier) will play a role of shadow premier and will set up an ANC shadow provincial cabinet," the ANC said.

    Apart from serving Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale, who took over from COPE defector Sello Moloto shortly before the elections, all the premiers will be new.

    In the appointment of four women, the ANC has stuck to its principle of gender parity.

    All the premiers will be elected by their respective legislatures on Wednesday.

    KwaZulu-Natal Finance MEC and ANC chairman Zweli Mkhize was chosen to lead the province.

    Free State ANC chairperson Ace Magashule will become premier there, while Mpumalanga Agriculture MEC and ANC chairperson David Mabuza will lead his province.

    The names of the new premiers were announced on Thursday, after a three-hour-long meeting of the ANC national executive committee. A parliamentary shake-up was also announced.

    Max Sisulu will be the new Speaker of the National Assembly, replacing Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde. Ex-Cape Town mayor Nomaindia Mfeketo will be his deputy.

    Ex-Gauteng premier Mathole Motshekga will be the ANC's new chief whip, taking over from Nyami Booi, while Gratitude Magwanishe, an ANC parliamentary whip, will be his deputy.

    MJ Mahlangu is due to stay on as chairman of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for now to ensure continuity, while the deputy chairperson was due to be nominated later, once all the names for the council from the provinces had been submitted.

    Nosipho Ntwanambi will be the ANC's chief whip in the NCOP and former deputy Speaker Nosiviwe Madlala-Routledge is to become the chairwoman of the ANC caucus.

    The ANC leadership's choice of premiers could, however, unleash controversy. The choice of Mokonyane and Jenkins as premiers will come as a surprise to some provincial ANC leaders, while Cosatu could object to Kiviet.

    There has been lobbying from the ANC's leadership in Gauteng and the Northern Cape respectively for provincial chairperson Paul Mashatile, the current Gauteng premier, and John Block to lead them.