The political tension in Northern Cape’s ANC got to its peak after Premier Lucas fired her political opponents in her recent cabinet reshuffle.
The Premier announced an urgent cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday where she took down the two cabinet members believed to be her strong political opponents.
She replaced them with Gail Parker and Alexandra Beukes, respectively, who are both her staunch followers
The cabinet reshuffle was announced ahead of the African National Congress provincial conference, which is expected to take place at the weekend.
Premier Lucas on Wednesday dismissed the finance, economic development and tourism MEC Mac Jack and transport and safety and liaison MEC Pauline Williams among many others, and replaced them with those believed to be her loyalists.
This urgent reshuffle left many people dumbfounded with much of the party members believing that firing Jack and Williams would further tear the party apart.
Jack is a well-known chief lobbyist for provincial secretary Zamani Saul, who is contesting against Premier Lucas for the ANC chairperson position. His removal has been interpreted by some as revenge by the faction supporting Lucas who has failed to stop the conference from going ahead.
Members of the new cabinet are: Mr Mxolisi Sokatsha (MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture), Ms Tiny Chotelo (Nature (Conservation and Environmental Affairs), Norman Shushu (Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development), Ms Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba (Roads and Public Works), Mrs Alexandra Beukes (Safety and Liaison), Mrs Barbara Bartlett (Education), Mrs Gail Parker (Finance, Economic Development and Tourism ), Mr Alvin Botes (Co-operative Governance Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs), Father Gift van Staden (Social Development ) and Mr Lebogang Mothlaping (Health).
The ANC reacted to the shocking reshuffle saying that the premier failed to consult the party members before forging ahead with her reshuffling.
“We want to put it on record that the ANC was not consulted and we do not know anything about this reshuffling. This was done in total disregard of the ANC internal processes, which require thorough consultation with both the ANC and the alliance partners. We, therefore, do not take kind to this conduct by the premier and definitely there will be consequences,” the party stated.
It said that it was “very suspect” that the reshuffling happened a day before registration was due to open for the 8th Provincial Conference.
“We also want to put it on record that the reshuffling has nothing to do with improving service delivery but has everything [to do with] [influencing] the outcome of [the] conference. This is grossly irresponsible, reckless and self-serving. This is fallacious and deeply entangles the provincial government in the organisational politics of the ANC.”
Meanwhile, despite efforts by Lucas’ faction to stop the conference, the party is expected to kick-start its National Congress provincial conference today.
Four members of Sylvin -a name for Lucas’ faction- approached lawyers to order the ANC provincial executive committee (PEC) to halt the elective conference citing membership audit irregularities, which included the duplication of branch memberships and cloning of members as its reasons.
The group said if these problems were not corrected, it would affect the results of the elections at the conference.
Premier Sylvia Lucas, who is the ANC provincial treasurer and provincial chairperson hopeful, is with the ANC faction supporting Dlamini-Zuma as party’s president and South Africa’s President hopeful.
ANC provincial secretary Zamani Saul, however, noted that the conference would go ahead as planned on Thursday and he denied there were any irregularities in membership audit reports.
The provincial secretary’s reports were approved by ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe following an audit process.