Ten Members of the Executive Council (MECs) have been sworn in to lead different departments in the Free State this afternoon in Bloemfontein. The MECs held up their right hands to take their oaths after newly elected Free State Premier, Sisi Ntombela, announced that the council would be made up of five men and five women.
The council has seen major changes with all but three departments having change in leadership. MECs of Education, Health as well as Police, Roads and Transport Tate Makgoe, Montseng Tsiu and Sam Mashinini respectively, still overlook their portfolios.
However, MEC Limakatso Mahasa has moved from the Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (Destea) to Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation. Current ANC Youth League Provincial Chairperson Makalo Mohale has taken up the Destea portfolio.
Although the MEC could not comment as they have not yet settled into their departments according to Premier Ntombela, 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. This is a commitment I made in my capacity as the premier, and on behalf of the Executive Council I will be leading,” she said.
The main opposition party in the province, the Democratic Alliance, expressed concern over the number of MECs. “The announcement of the cabinet indicates that the premier is not committed to cutting executive costs since the portfolios remain at ten. The portfolios consist of only five former MECs of whom Maki Mahasa and Mamiki Qabathe remain controversial,” said DA Caucus leader, Roy Jankielsohn.
“The other five members of the cabinet are new to the legislature and therefore have no experience or institutional knowledge of either the legislature or the departments for which they are responsible,” he added. – Nomaqhawe Mtebele