Eastern Cape African National Congress chairperson Oscar Mabuyane was sworn in as a new member of the legislature, fuelling speculation that a reshuffle is imminent.
Mabuyane, who took over the position of chairperson in the Eastern Cape in 2017 during the provincial elective conference (PEC), dubbed the festival of chairs, became a new member of the legislature together with his deputy, Mlungisi Mvoko.
ANC secretary in the province Lulama Ngcukayitobi, congratulated the two men and said he was confident that Mabuyane and Mvoko would pursue party policies.
Asked if Mabuyane’s swearing in meant that he would become an MEC or even ascend to the position of premier, Ngcukayitobi responded that Mabuyane’s deployment was an oversight post.
“For now, he is going there to tender the work. If there are any developments, we will let you know,” he said.
Ngcukayitobi visited Luthuli House this month to ask secretary general Ace Magashule to approve a recall of Premier Phumulo Masualle.
It is understood that the meeting was attended by top Eastern Cape officials and the ANC’s top six, including President Cyril Ramaphosa.
However – due to the recall of former president Jacob Zuma – the proposed recall by ANC chairperson Oscar Mabuyane and the provincial leadership was put on hold, a source told News24.
Ngcukayitobi said that while there was no pressure on Magashule to make a decision, he urged the secretariat to treat the matter with urgency for the sake of continuation and certainty in the province.
“There is no pressure for them to come back… We expect they will take the matter with urgency. I sense that they are still dealing with national responsibilities,” he said.
Masualle attended the State of the Nation address on Friday as a member of the National Council of Provinces in his capacity as the premier.
Tensions between Mabuyane and Masualle are at an all-time high, following the result of the PEC elections in October 2016.
The reshuffle will see Masualle and six of his MECs in the firing line.
These include Thandiswa Marawu, Sakhumzi Somyo, Mlibo Qoboshiyane, Nancy Sihlwayi and Phumeza Dyantyi.
The MECs were also part of the group that refused to recognise the PEC’s election, where Mabuyane was elected party leader in October 2017.