Mathabatha consolidates power in Limpopo cabinet reshuffle

Limpopo premier Stan Mathabatha has demoted his political rival and public works MEC Dickson Masemola in a cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday.

Early in June, Mathabatha beat Masemola by a landslide to retain his position as the provincial chairperson of the ANC in Limpopo during the party’s elective conference in Polokwane.

In a conference that President Cyril Ramaphosa described as well-organised, the premier garnered 781 votes against Masemola’s 389 for the powerful provincial position.

To consolidate his power in the province, Mathabatha has moved Masemola from public works to social development in a move widely considered as a demotion because public works has a bigger budget compared with the department of social development.

Mathabatha’s staunch ally Nkakareng Rakgoale was chosen to plug the gap left by Masemola at public works in what was viewed as a promotion and a reward for the role Rakgoale played in delivering Mathabatha’s emphatic victory at the conference.

Mathabatha also seemed to have succumbed to public pressure to remove education MEC Polly Boshielo, who has drawn widespread criticism for her lackadaisical performance.

Under her watch, Limpopo has been languishing at the bottom of the matric results’ table and she appears to have no strategy to turn the province’s misfortunes around.

Boshielo was replaced with Mavhungu Lerule Ramakhanya, who was moved from the department of transport and community safety.

The premier said the cabinet reshuffle is part of a commitment he made during the State of the Province Address in 2021 to enter into service delivery agreements with the MECs with the view of constantly monitoring and assessing their performance.

“The premier has accordingly entered into those service delivery agreements with all the MECs. Based on the subsequent performance assessment made on the executive council, the premier has decided to make the changes,” he said.

“I believe that these changes will strengthen good corporate governance and improve service delivery for our people in the province.”

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