SACP provincial secretary Jacob Mamabolo - who is also MEC for Roads and Transport in the same provincial cabinet - made the remark despite the incumbent Minister of Forestry and Fisheries and Environmental Affairs, Barbara Creecy, who was born and bred in Joburg, being the first woman to hold such a position in Gauteng in 2014.
Prior to Creecy, all her predecessors were male. Creecy has been a member of the Gauteng provincial legislature since 1994. She was an ordinary member then.
After South Africa’s first democratic elections, Jabu Moleketi was Gauteng’s MEC for Finance and Economic Affairs until 2004. Moleketi completed two terms as finance boss before former president Thabo Mbeki appointed him as deputy finance minister in 2004.
In Gauteng in 2004, the incumbent ANC national treasurer Paul Mashatile was appointed as Finance and Economic Affairs MEC until 2008. During that year, Mashatile briefly served as premier of Gauteng following the resignation of Mbhazima Shilowa in September 2008.
Former ANC chief whip Mandla Nkomfe in the Gauteng provincial legislature took over as Finance and Economic Affairs MEC. Nkomfe was retained as Finance and Economic Affairs MEC after the May 2009 elections. He held the post until May 2014. He was replaced by Creecy who was appointed Finance and e-Governance MEC. Creecy served until May this year under premier David Makhura. She was briefly replaced by Panyaza Lesufi, who lasted in that office for less than two days. Makhura then swopped Lesufi with Nkomo-Ralehoko apparently following pressure from learners and parents who wanted Lesufi returned to education.
Now the SACP is adamant that Nkomo-Ralehoko “is the first African woman to be MEC of Finance in our province”.
“We believe comrade (Nkomo- Ralehoko) unleashes a wave of hope that black and African women can lead and play a critical role in the department that is entrusted with people’s finances and state procurement, to improve the living conditions of the working class,” said SACP provincial secretary Jacob Mamabolo.
Nkomo-Ralehoko had a brief stint as Gauteng MEC for Agriculture in 2009 but her tenure lasted for 25 days following a fallout with then premier Nomvula Mokonyane.
She was demoted to the backbenches of the legislature but took up a prominent role when Makhura replaced Mokonyane in May 2014. Nkomo-Ralehoko was appointed chair of chairs in the provincial legislature.
She also acted as speaker of the legislature.
“We welcome the appointment of all MECs that followed an extensive process of consultation with alliance partners.
“We wish to reiterate and affirm our long-standing profound principle that organs of the state in the province must serve the working class and poor, especially in townships and informal settlements,” Mamabolo said.