MBOMBELA – Premier Refilwe Mtsweni was officially sworn in on Tuesday. She was previously sworn in as the acting premier of Mpumalanga twice, as the correct procedures had not been followed.
The ANC’s national working committee nominated her for the position last week, and the provincial legislature elected her on Tuesday morning before she was sworn in by the chief judge of the Mpumalanga High Court, Judge President Francis Legodi.
She announced a reshuffle of her cabinet shortly afterwards. Former human settlements MEC Speedy Mashilo was moved to replace Mtsweni at cooperative governance.
Department of Culture, Sport and Recreation (DCSR) MEC Nora Mahlangu replaced Mashilo at human settlements. Mpumalanga Speaker Thandi Shongwe was appointed MEC for DCSR.
ANC deputy chief whip in the provincial legislature Sibusiso Malaza was appointed to head education, after Reginah Mhaule was appointed deputy minister of international relations.
The leader of the DA in Mpumalanga, Jane Sithole, welcomed the “removal” of Shongwe as Speaker, but criticised the premier for not taking action in the health department.
“We are, however, concerned that the premier did not make use of this opportunity to remove health MEC Gillion Mashego from the health portfolio, though he has dismally underperformed for years. Under Mashego’s leadership, the department is almost on its knees and on the verge of total collapse,” she said in a statement.
Mtsweni said, “It is a great privilege for me to be entrusted with the responsibility to lead this administration.
“I avail myself to be of service to the people of Mpumalanga and to carry forward the fulfilment of their aspirations.”
Yesterday, Judge President Malesela Francis Legodi of the Mpumalanga Division of the High Court of South Africa convened a sitting of the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature and presided over the election of the new Speaker of the Legislature, VS Siwela.
The election of Ms VS Siwela as the Speaker follows a vacancy created by the resignation of former Speaker Mrs BT Shongwe who is now MEC for Culture, Sport and Recreation.
Siwela presided over the election of Deputy Speaker of the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature, Bonakele Majuba and later presided over the swearing in of Thulisile Swankie Khoza, former Executive Mayor of Nkomazi Local Municipality. Khoza was sworn in to fill the vacancy following the resignation of former member and Chief Whip of the majority party in the Legislature, JM Mkhatshwa.