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Premier Stan Mathabatha demotes two MECs in Limpopo cabinet reshuffle

Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha. Picture: Chester Makana/Supplied

Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha. Picture: Chester Makana/Supplied

Published Jun 30, 2022


Pretoria - A month after challenging Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha for the position of provincial ANC chairperson, Public Works MEC Dr Dickson Masemola has been demoted.

Despite his previous claims that he had no intention to reshuffle his cabinet, Mathabatha yesterday moved Masemola from the department of public works and infrastructure to the less influential social development portfolio, ending weeks of speculation.

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In a cabinet reshuffle which affected only two departments, former social development MEC Nkakareng Rakgoale swapped portfolios with Masemola.

“During the State of the Province Address 2021, Premier Chupu Stanley Mathabatha made a commitment to enter into Service Delivery Agreements with Members of the Executive Council (MECs) with the view to enable him to constantly monitor and assess performance of the MECs,” Mathabatha’s office said.

Polly Boshielo.

“The premier has accordingly entered into those service delivery agreements with all the MECs.

“Based on the subsequent performance assessments made on the Executive Council, the premier has decided to make changes to this Council,” said Limpopo Premier’s Office yesterday.

Mathabatha also demoted former education MEC Polly Boshielo, who was redeployed to the community safety and transport department and replaced with Mavhungu Leruli-Ramakhanya.

Boshielo also failed to make the cut in the party’s provincial executive committee (PEC) at the Limpopo ANC elective conference earlier this month.

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Nkakareng Rakgoale.

The rest of the MECs remained in their portfolios with Dr Phophi Ramathuba at Health; Seaparo Sekwati at Treasury; Nandi Ndalane at Agriculture; Thabo Mokone at Economic Development, Environment and Tourism; Basikopo Makamu as MEC for Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs and Thandi Moraka as MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture.

The reshuffle flies in the face of Mathabatha’s claims, after he secured a third term as provincial chairperson, that he would not make changes to his cabinet.

He previously told the Pretoria News that he would not use his victory to settle political scores and “advocate reshuffling” of his cabinet, adding he would do so “should it become necessary”.

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“You can’t drop a person from the cabinet because he contested elections. That would be mean. Conditions will dictate but we are not anticipating any cabinet reshuffle.

“But a reshuffle can’t be informed by politics of going to conferences of the ANC.

“That in itself does not mean anything about our deployment in government, so we don’t have any plans for a reshuffle on the cards as yet,” Mathabatha said back then.

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Dickson Masemola.

However, political analyst and public administration lecturer at the University of Mpumalanga Dr John Molepo believes Mathabatha opted to demote rather than fire his political rivals for the sake of unity before the 2024 elections.

Molepo said he expected new faces in the Limpopo cabinet after the general polls.

He said: “You can see that Mathabatha has moved his foes to less critical portfolios and the reason for them to have survived being removed from the cabinet completely is because of the ANC’s unity and renewal idea.

“Should he have removed the two he would have been seen as going against that idea and promoting factionalism. So he took a safer approach.”

The changes come against the backdrop of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s message at the Mpumalanga ANC conference that unity and renewal was the new mandate. He warned structures against cabinet reshuffles, saying such moves would only be fuelling factionalism.

Speaking to the Pretoria News yesterday Mathabatha’s spokesperson Willy Mosoma said it was the premier’s prerogative to change cabinet when he wanted to.

Pretoria News