African National Congress (ANC) veteran, Bushy Maape, is officially the new premier of the North West province.
He was sworn in on Tuesday afternoon by North West Judge President, Monica Leeuw.
Maape was earlier in the day nominated by ANC Chief Whip, Paul Sebego, while the Democratic Alliance nominated its Caucus leader, Winston Rabopati, to challenge him.
He who won against Rabotapi with 21 votes against 5 votes, said his main focus will be to bring developments to the province.
“We want to commit ourselves to fight poverty and inequality and unemployment, particularly amongst the youth. We also commit to combat gender-based violence where it raises its stubborn and ugly head. Together we will form a strong battalion against corruption. We continue to join hands with others to fight against COVID-19. Together we will move this province forward,” Maape said.
Those who backed Maape included former North West premier and current Defence Minister Thandi Modise, who expressed confidence in Maape to stabilize the province.
“We are very happy that in him we see the potential of stability, unity and growth. He is politically strong, he must make sure that he brings together all the parties because you cannot be a leader if you only talk to one group. So when you lead try and integrate, try and hear from everybody, but always take a decision you will stand by and die by. I am hoping that he will do what we expect from him,” said Modise.
ANC’s National Executive Committee deployee to the North West, Obed Bapela, said Maape must focus on service delivery.
“Water is a big issue. The potholes across municipalities is a big issue. Municipalities’ challenges are huge in the North West and we would really want an Exco that can be led by the premier that will help us to really engage on those problems, “ Bapela said.
Opposition parties Economic Freedom Fighters and Democratic Alliance said they used the election of the new premier as an opportunity to show the residents that they have other choices of leadership that are not from the ANC.
EFF’s Betty Diale said her party chose not to participate in the election of the premier as they are focused on the coming local government elections.
“We have been mandated by constituencies to ensure that our people get service delivery, we do proper oversight. But this chop and changes of the ANC we were not interested in. Our focus now is on elections to make sure that we change the government of the day and make sure that our people receive the services that they deserve,” said Diale.
The DA’s Freddy Sonakile said the party nominated Winston Rabopati as the premier elect to remind the public that there are alternative candidates.
“We have to remind people that we are the opposition hence we feel the need to remind people that there is an alternative out there. We could not just get into a very serious election like this and not field the person and allow the factions of the ANC to continue while we are watching and even supporting them,” said Sonakile.
Maape filled the shoes of former Premier Job Mokgoro who was instructed to resign after leading the province for three years.