Johannesburg - The African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) in Gauteng has accused Premier David Makhura of not consulting it in his decision to reshuffle Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko from the education portfolio to finance.
Last week, Makhura had a mini cabinet reshuffle just a day after the Gauteng cabinet was sworn. The changes saw Nkomo-Ralehoko being moved from the education to the finance and Panyaza Lesufi returning to education.
The shuffle has not gone down well with the provincial ANCWL that said Makhura did not take into consideration the perceptions this would create about Nkomo-Ralehoko’s abilities.
In an interview with The Star on Tuesday ANCWL Provincial Secretary in Gauteng, Esther Nhlapo said: “Please understand that we are fighting for the principles on how it was done. We are comfortable with the department, remember we are dealing with human beings.”
ANCWL was currently involved in “engagements and consultations, this will be sorted so that we don’t find ourselves in the same situation again. In fact, we are busy sorting it.”
When asked if the ANCWL in Gauteng had spoken to Makhura as yet, Nhlapo said: “Can I just end here, for now, the matter will be sorted, and we will issue a statement after the engagements.”
Head of Communications in the Office of the Premier Thabo Masabe said Makhura values all 10 Members of the Executive Council and believes that they are capable of performing in any portfolio.
“He was not just listening to perception that we explained he (Makhura) received a lot of messages and representations about the composition of MEC’s. He could not ignore the voice of the people.” he said.
Last week Makhura said in a statement “While there is an appreciation of the appointment of MEC Panyaza Lesufi to the Finance and e-Government portfolio, the overall non-partisan feedback from society, the education sector and the movement in general is that it will serve Gauteng better that he remains in the Education portfolio to continue the good work of ensuring that our province is the leader and pioneer of educational transformation.”
However, in a statement, the Women's League in the province maintained that the move was an example of a patriarchal societal dynamic. They also said that Ralehoko’s performance was put into disrepute before she even had a chance to impart her vision in the department.
The ANCWL’s secretary added that: “It is worrying that a woman’s abilities are now disregarded because she serves at the behest of a patriarchal societal dynamics.”
Nhlapo went on to denounce what she called “sensationalized media reports that sought to tarnish the image of comrade Nomantu by insinuating that she would not be able to perform her duties diligently in the department that she was deployed to.”
She argued that when Lesufi was deployed in 2014 he had no experience, he inherited a well-run department from Barbra Creecy, which prepared the ground for his success.
The argument raised by the women’s league is that Lesufi had been given a chance and it seems it wasn’t the same with her.
After the swearing-in ceremony, Nkomo- Ralehoko said she was a capable leader.
“I am new in this department but I am not new in government because I have been the deputy speaker of the legislature, I have been the chairperson of all committees in parliament. So definitely I have the experience, with more than 20years I have been in the industry. I was once an alternate member in that department so I understand exactly understand what is expected for a person in that department,” Nkomo-Ralehoko told journalists last week.
She added there is a good team already in the department of education that helped Lesufi and she was also ready to work with the same team and continue the work.
Premier Makhura announced a 50/50 female-male cabinet this is despite the NEC resolution compelling provinces where Premiers are male to have a 60/40 executive in favour of women.
This was also received with resentment by the provincial women’s league.