List of MECs shows gender equality

New Members of the Executive Council of ten Free State departments were sworn in on Tuesday. From the left, back, are Makalo Mohale (Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs), Gadija Brown (Finance), William Bulwane (Agriculture and Rural Development), Motshidisi Koloi (Public Works and Human Settlements), Thembeni Nxangisa (Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs) and Limakatso Mahasa (Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation). In front are Montseng Ntsiu (Health), Sam Mashinini (Police, Roads and Transport), Premier Sisi Ntombela, Mamiki Qabathe (Social Development) and Dr Tate Makgoe (Education). PHOTO: PIERCE VAN HEERDEN.

The choice of Members of the Executive Council (MEC) is a result of the national agenda of the African National Congress. This is according to University of the Free State political analyst, Sethulego Matebesi, after Free State Premier, Sisi Ntombela, announced the 10 MECs who will head departments in the province on Tuesday.

Premier Ntombela’s list consists of five men and five women with one MEC, Makalo Mohale, being a member of the ANC Youth League. “It is always a good thing to observe that the ANC is no longer just paying lip service to the so called generational mix,” explained Matebesi.

“We should also understand that what is happening in all the provinces is as a result of a directive from the African National Congress at national level. This directive emphasises that there should be generational representation and gender parity in issues that matter most,” he added.

The council has seen major changes, with most seeing changes in leadership. However, MECs of Education, Health as well as Police, Roads and Transport, Dr Tate Makgoe, Montseng Tsiu and Sam Mashinini respectively, still overlook their portfolios.

Matebesi said that keeping these MECs shows continued confidence in them to overlook their departments. During the list announcement at OR Tambo building in Bloemfontein, the premier expressed that the members were chosen after extensive deliberation. “As stated in the State of the Province Address I delivered in February this year, our people should find compassion, humility, honesty, respect and trust in the glory of the ANC, its leadership and its government, she said.

However, Leader of the Free State Democratic Alliance, Roy Jankielsohn, expressed concern over the number of departments. “The announcement of the cabinet indicates that the premier is not committed to cutting executive costs since the portfolios remain at ten,” he said. – Nomaqhawe Mtebele