In a marathon meeting that started at 8:00 am on Monday and lasted until late in the evening, the names of the provincial premiers were put forward by the province for the approval of the National Executive Committee of the ruling African National Congress.
While the members were free to propose three names for the most powerful position in each province, the NEC had the final decision. However, from the names that were approved, it appears, that the choices of the provinces were given an ear. It was the gender balance, of which ANC prides itself that seems to have suffered in the process.
According to the party’s deputy Secretary General, Jessee Duarte, of the eight provinces that are under the control of the ANC, there would only be one female premier, which led the NEC to agree that, in the next general council meeting, the nomination process would be reviewed. Duarte added that, as a stop gap measure, the party’s highest decision making body had agreed to the condition that where there was a male premier, the speaker would be female and that the Provincial Executive Committee would be made up of about two-thirds females.
The Northern Cape was the only province where the ANC had appointed a female premier, that is, Sylvia Lukas. Sylvia has been acting premier since May last year when the then premier, Hazel Jenkins resigned following a stroke-induced collapse. Her speaker will be Kenny Moemang.
Five other provinces retained their premiers which, in a way goes to show that they have confidence in the kind of job they were doing. These provinces are , Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Free state and KwaZulu Natal. In Mpumalanga, David Mabuza will be the man at the top while his speaker will be Thandiwe Shongwe. Limpopo kept faith in Stan Mathabatha, with Merriam Ramadwa as speaker. Sisi Mabe will be the provincial speaker while Ace Magashule will get the top job in the midlands province of the Free State. Senzo Mchunu and Lydia Johnson will be the top two provincial people in KwaZulu Natal as premier and speaker of the provincial legislature respectively.
Two provinces, Gauteng and the North West, can easily be held responsible for reducing the number of female premiers. In Gauteng, despite earlier indications and predictions in the media, Nomvula Makonyane was dropped and replaced by the former party secretary in the province, David Makhura. The speaker in the metropolitan province will be the former provincial MEC for corporate governance, Ntombi Mekgwe. In the North West, the chairman of the party in the province, Supra Mahumapelo, took over the reigns from Thandiwe Modise while Sussana Rebbeca Tsebe was voted in as the speaker of the provincial legislature.