The major thrust of the Eastern Cape cabinet reshuffle has nothing to do with service delivery. It’s all about factional politics – aligning the cabinet with the political forces at play in the province.
The Premier has been bullied in announcing the biggest shake-up in the province’s history with every cabinet position being affected except Sport, Art and Culture.
A second major criteria which the DA believes should have been adhered to (for changing the composition) after service delivery is that of maximising continuity which has been thrown totally overboard.
It is going to take months for this new cabinet to become the cohesive force that this province needs to improve service delivery.
Bringing in three members from outside the legislature at this critical time when it has not been successful in the case of Nombulelo Mabandla and Nonkosi Mvana is to repeat the previous mistakes. This is a slap in the face for existing members of the ANC in the legislature.
Zoleka Capa, for example comes with a history of controversy with regard to the OR Tambo District Municipality’s expenditure.
It is also clear that the Masualle-faction is edging closer to the ultimate prize – the Premiership – with Kiviet loosing part of her portfolio (Youth, Gender and People with Disabilities) and not obtaining the Planning Commission which should have resided with her office.
This unprincipled shake-up is going to bite the ANC in the months ahead and cause a further wave of instability and infighting to flow through the province.
It is imperative that the Departments of Health and Education which account for over 70% of the province’s budget and which receive disclaimers year in and year out are turned around. We hope that Sicelo Gqobana will bring the same energy to Health that he brought to Local Government.
Mandla Makapula, who is not even a member of the education portfolio committee in the legislature is a surprise choice for education and will be the fourth MEC in six years. Unless he can get to the root of the problems nothing will change.
During the course of the week my colleagues will comment further on their individual portfolios.