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Sylvia refuses to back down

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ALTHOUGH Northern Cape Premier Sylvia Lucas has been given a deadline to reverse her cabinet reshuffle by the end of the week, she has decided to stick with her decision. This is despite instructions from the ANC’s Provincial Executive Committee (PEC

ALTHOUGH Northern Cape Premier Sylvia Lucas has been given a deadline to reverse her cabinet reshuffle by the end of the week, she has decided to stick with her decision.

This is despite instructions from the ANC’s Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) to reinstate the two MECs she axed.

MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Mac Jack, and the MEC for Transport, Safety and Liaison Pauline Williams, were replaced just a day before the ANC’s provincial elective conference last week.

The PEC on Tuesday pointed out that the Premier had not consulted with anyone and that the reshuffling was “in blatant regard of organisational processes”.

ANC provincial secretary, Deshi Ngxanga, indicated that the reshuffle had to be reversed by the end of the week.

“The prerogative of the President, Premiers and Mayors to appoint and release members of Cabinet, executive councils and mayoral committees, should only be exercised after consultation with the leadership of organisation.”

Spokesperson for the Office of the Premier, Bronwyn Thomas-Abrahams, yesterday said that the Premier did not wish to discuss internal party politics in the media.

Following a meeting that was held with the top five ANC leaders on Tuesday, Thomas-Abrahams stated that Lucas would communicate with the relevant officials in due course.

However, Thomas-Abrahams made it clear that the Premier “wishes to state categorically, and with a clear and honest conscience, that she will not concede to the request made by ANC officials to reverse her decision”.

“What she did commit to was to consult with all the relevant stakeholders and legislative prescripts before making a decision on the matter. This decision she will then communicate to the officials.”

EFF provincial leader, Aubrey Baartman, believed that the ANC would present a motion of no confidence in the Premier in the Legislature, if she defied party orders and refused to reverse her cabinet.

“I am certain that the ANC will push for an open vote in the Legislature. Her supporters in the Legislature are in the minority so Lucas has no option but to do as she is told. I am convinced that some of her supporters will turn against her, if push comes to shove because they will have to display their loyalties to the new PEC. However, it appears af s ishe is not going down without a fight.”

He added that, during the whole debacle, the Legislature had come to a standstill.

“The work (of the Legislature) is suffering due to the infighting and all programmes have been postponed until Monday.”

Baartman said that the EFF would abstain from voting if a motion of no confidence is brought before the house.

Cope MPL, Pakes Dikgetsi, pointed out that the Premier was elected by members of the Provincial Legislature and not the ANC.

“The ANC must stop playing ping pong with the Constitution. They must not mislead the public into believing that they have free reign over the Province. The Premier is accountable to the citizens and its representatives in the Legislature. In terms of the regulations, a Premier can only be removed through a vote of no confidence, if the person has died, resigned or is incapacitated by way of illness or circumstance.”

He indicated that the Premier had the prerogative to reshuffle her cabinet as she saw fit.

“It is merely courtesy to consult with the ANC and its alliance partners. The Premier has her heart in the right place but she is surrounded by incompetent MECs, who are now stabbing her in the back.”

Dikgetsi stated that the President had the deciding vote on the appointment and retention of Premiers.

DA provincial leader, Andrew Louw, refrained from commenting, saying that the party “does not wish to become involved in any factions”.