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Strange political bedfellows in provincial legislature

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Northern Cape Premier Dr Zamani Saul said he was “looking forward to working with” the FF+ and the PA, where this unlikely alliance gave the ANC provincial chair 19 out of 30 votes and secured him a second term.

MPLs in the opposition benches, including the DA, PA and EFF. Picture: Soraya Crowie

NORTHERN Cape Premier Dr Zamani Saul said he was “looking forward to working with” the FF+ and the PA, where this unlikely alliance gave the ANC provincial chair 19 out of 30 votes and secured him a second term.

DA premier candidate Dr Isak Fritz, who contested the premiership, received 11 votes with support from the DA and the EFF.

The ANC entered into a working relationship with the FF+ after it failed to secure an outright majority in the Province during the May 29 elections.

The hung provincial legislature is made up of 15 seats for the ANC, seven seats for the DA, four for the EFF, three PA seats and the FF+ with one seat.

Saul said he was “deeply humbled and grateful” for the support he received from the opposition parties.

“The three PA Members of the Provincial Legislature (MPLs) are hard-working individuals who do not embark on theatrics,” said Saul.

Premier Zamani Saul and EFF provincial leader Shadrack Thlaole share a moment. Picture: Soraya Crowie

He added that a task team would be set up to work with the Orania transitional team to revisit the status of Orania and address outstanding issues.

“The seventh administration will focus on economic development, job creation and improving infrastructure as well as water and sanitation challenges,” Saul said.

FF+ MPL Theo Joubert. Picture: Soraya Crowie

FF+ MPL Theo Joubert explained that they would remain an opposition party and would not be strong-armed into any political corners.

“We are free to disagree with the ruling party and make our own decisions,” said Joubert.

He indicated that they declined positions that were offered to them in the provincial cabinet, including the Speaker and MEC positions, as they did not wish to work under an ANC regime.

Joubert stated that they would continue to advance the interests and self-sustainability of the Afrikaner enclave, Orania.

“We will also make the Orania model available to other communities in the Northern Cape who share the same values, cultures, religion and language, regardless of race.”

He added that they were looking towards establishing public-private partnerships to improve infrastructure and advance the interests of small businesses.

“In this way, we will boost the local economy and create jobs.”

ANC provincial secretary Deshi Ngxanga stated that the party had not entered into a coalition with any political party.

“However, as part of maintaining a working relationship, the FF+ will chair the portfolio committee on co-operative governance, human settlements and traditional affairs (Coghsta),” said Ngxanga.

He indicated that the ANC was studying a concept document on the state and future of Orania that was submitted by the FF+.

“We welcome these engagements and are quite impressed by the openness and honesty with which the FF+ want us to engage on the matter. We have taken it up with the national leadership of the ANC for guidance and will continue to provide updates as there is keen interest in the matter.

“We remain committed to leading a stable and effective government for the benefit of all residents of the Northern Cape.”

PA MPL Sharifa Ferris. Picture: Soraya Crowie

PA MPL Sharifa Ferris stated that they were guided by the government of national unity agreement, which the PA signed in Parliament.

“Had we not voted for ANC candidates, where votes were equal between the ANC and opposition parties, it could have turned out to be a long, drawn-out process.”

She said they had yet to formalise a working relationship with the ANC.

“Our president Gayton McKenzie isn’t afraid to withdraw from a coalition if it is not working, for example when it did not succeed at municipalities in the Northern Cape. We will continue to fight for our voters in the legislature and make a difference with the three seats that we have. It is not about positions. We will ensure that the provincial leadership is held accountable.”

Ferris added that they disagreed with the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill and the National Health Insurance Act.

“Much more needs to be done on improving health care and education in the Province.”

MPLs were sworn in at the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature. Picture: Soraya Crowie

Saul will meanwhile announce the new provincial cabinet on June 25.

The MEC for Education, Xolile Monakali, the MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture, Deserey Fienies, and the MEC for Transport, Safety and Liaison, Nomandla Bloem, were not sworn in as MPLs last week.

Fienies was, however, appointed to the National Council of Provinces along with the former MEC for Co-operative Governance, Kenny Moeimang, and former Sol Plaatje executive mayor Patrick Mabilo.

The special adviser to the premier, Dr Norman Shushu, and the former MEC for Health, Lebogang Mothlaping, have returned as MPLs.

Speaker Newrene Klaaste announced that the State of the Province address and the inauguration of the premier would also take place on June 25.

ANC MPLs who were sworn in at the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature. Picture: Soraya Crowie

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