Free State cabinet reshuffle: ActionSA urges new MECs to get the basics right

Free State premier Mxolisi Dukwana.

Former Free State MEC (now premier) Mxolisi Dukwana, appears before the commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture. Picture: Dimpho Maja/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Mar 15, 2023

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Rustenburg - The new Free State cabinet should focus on getting the basics right, ActionSA has implored.

Reacting to Free State Premier Mxolisi Dukwana’s cabinet reshuffle, ActionSA Free State provincial chairperson, Patricia Kopane, said the provincial government was teetering towards a state of complete collapse.

“This new cabinet should focus on getting the basics right. This includes the township economic recovery, local municipality empowerment, completion of abandoned capital projects and dealing decisively with corruption in their departments,” Kopane said.

Dukwana reshuffled his cabinet on Tuesday.

Nokwanje Selina Leeto was appointed Health MEC, Makalo Mohale was appointed Education MEC, replacing Tate Makgoe who died in a road accident on March 5.

Thabo Meeko was appointed MEC for Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Moses Ketso Makume, MEC for Co-operative Governance, Traditional Affairs and Human Settlement.

Kathleen Dibolelo Mahlatsi was appointed MEC responsible for Public Works and Infrastructure, Maqueen Joyce Letsoha Mathae is the MEC for Community Safety, Roads and Transport and Motshidisi Koloi was appointed Social Development MEC.

Kopane said Makume has a steep road ahead of him with all the Free State municipalities incapable of delivering basic services.

“All of them crippled by financial mismanagement, poor governance and rampant corruption for two decades.

“Rampant water cuts, residents from across these municipalities; Mangaung Metro, Matjhabeng, Kopanong, Maluti-a-Phofung and Masilonyana Municipalities have been at the receiving end of water cuts. Some of these municipalities have been forced to implement planned water shedding as a result of poor maintenance of water infrastructure,” she said.

She added that the debt owed to Eskom by Free State municipalities was estimated at R17 billion. Almost R7bn was owed to water boards and outstanding debt to pension funds of R446 million.

“Sanitation is an enormous human rights violation in the province that needs to be tackled with urgency.

“Provincial cabinet will have to come up with a strategy on how to complete abandoned capital projects that are compromising service delivery such as the Silver and the Dark City which has cost the taxpayer R260m to date yet they remain white elephants while people are in desperate need of housing.”

Kopane said an urgent plan was needed for the abandoned Bloemfontein taxi rank which has cost the state R400m, yet it remains incomplete.

“The plan was to have a rank with a covering that will protect commuters and hawkers from adverse weather conditions. This should be one of their priorities.

“Public Works and Infrastructure MEC Dibolelo Mahlatsi needs to come up with a plan for decrepit road infrastructure that is severely hampering our economy, especially the agricultural sector which is the buttress of our economy,” she said.

The department of health said it welcomed the appointment of Nokwanje Selina Leeto as the Health MEC.

“The department of health appreciates the leadership that was provided by the former MEC, Ms Montseng Tsiu and wish her well in her future endeavours.

“The department warmly welcomes the new MEC Ms Nokwanje Selina Leeto (MEC for Health) and looks forward to her stewardship in delivering better health outcomes, reduce the burden of diseases and achieve its stated vision of a long and healthy life for the community of the Free State,” said provincial health spokesperson, Mondli Mvambi.

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