Friends of former ANC Limpopo provincial chairperson and premier Cassel Mathale want current premier Stan Mathabatha to reshuffle his Cabinet to make space for Mathale’s confidants.
The calls for a Cabinet reshuffle were made at the funeral of Limpopo agriculture and rural development MEC Joyce Mashamba in Malamulele on Saturday.
“Limpopo came second in the country in terms of job creation. But we believe the new leaders have what it takes to elevate this province to the number one spot,” said Masilo Maloko, chairperson of the Phusela branch in Tzaneen, yesterday.
Maloko, who is known in political circles as “King Solomon”, said he believed a new crop of leaders would work like “a well-oiled machine to bring relief in Limpopo”.
“Most of these people have been in government before and we trust they are capable of fighting the scourge of poverty, unemployment and the escalating underdevelopment,” said Maloko.
Another branch leader, Khothongo Mopai of Peter Teanet branch in Bolobedu, said: “We believe in the leadership of comrade Dickson Masemola, comrade Joshua Matlou, comrade Florence Radzilani, comrade Baiseko Makamu and comrade Nkakareng Rakgoale.
“These are tried and tested cadres of the movement who have the capacity and leadership qualities to take Limpopo to greener pastures as MECs,” Mopai said.
The five are perceived to be confidants of Mathale, so they were all deployed in government leadership positions during Mathale’s tenure.
But a high-ranking official from the Limpopo provincial government brushed these views aside, saying the new leadership elected at the Limpopo conference comprised Mathale’s foot soldiers.
“You must remember it was during Mathale’s administration when Limpopo was put under section 100,” said the official, who did not want to be named.
“This saw six of the province’s departments put under administration because the province could not account for over R2.7 billion in irregular expenditure.”
Yesterday, Mathabatha’s spokesperson, Kenny Mathiba, said reshuffling was not on the premier’s list of priorities.
“The premier has more pressing matters that concern the wellbeing of the people of this province.
“But he will possibly consider having someone to act on Mashamba’s portfolio until such time as there is a need to shake up his Cabinet,” said Mathiba.
Mathiba also said the office of the premier had not received the resignation of sports, art and culture MEC Onicca Moloi.
Moloi has been involved in a social media storm after she ostensibly offered to resign as MEC soon after she was not elected to the provincial executive committee during the recent elective conference.
Party provincial secretary Soviet Lekganyane said the ANC viewed the message as offensive and that action had to be taken against her.