The African National Congress (ANC) National Executive Committee (NEC) took a bold resolution of forcing the provincial governments to have balanced gender representations in their executive councils especially in provinces that are led by men. The move was welcomed by many as a step towards promoting women representation in the positions of power and end the male domination. This is the same move that forced Gauteng Premier David Makhura to change his cabinet and remove Kgosi Ramokgopa in his provincial government.
However, it seems the ANC NEC will have to once again take a bold decision to force the government of Limpopo to have a balance of ethnic representation in its executive council. While the country’s focus is rightly on fighting the rising Coronavirus, Limpopo Premier Stanley Mathabatha made a few changes to his executive which is heavily laden with Pedi MECs. The introduction of Mavhungu Lerule-Ramakhanya into the executive has done little in balancing ethnic representation in the executive that still has six Pedi MECs in a cabinet of 10.
Mathabatha’s changes once more received criticism from opposition parties and the public alike about the continued over-looking of other ethnic representation in his cabinet especially the Tsonga people. The Tsonga and Venda people continue to be overlooked in the executive and that is something that has been continuing for years under the ANC’s rule. Mathabatha, who is in his second term of office, is supported by the constitution in terms of appointing and axing the members of his executive council, however, as a man who leads three ethnic groups in the province, he should know better that representation matters a lot.
The inclusion of other ethnic groups will see service delivery reaching their own parts of their villages in the province. This eliminates services constantly focusing largely on where the majority of MECs come from. Limpopo is still a province that is divided along tribalism lines and we cannot blame the apartheid government for that anymore. The tribal friction between the three ethnic groups stems way back and the democratic state has dismally failed to bring these three groups into oneness.
Instead, the Premier by his continuous overlooking of the Venda and Tsonga people in his cabinet has further played his part in the divide between these groups. The ANC NEC along with the Limpopo branch structures should force Mathabatha to reconsider his cabinet and make it inclusive of all the people of Limpopo.