Natasha Marrian Political editor: Business Day
Northern Cape premier Sylvia Lucas with President Jacob Zuma. Picture: DANIE VAN DER LITH
Northern Cape premier Sylvia Lucas with President Jacob Zuma. Picture: DANIE VAN DER LITH

The ANC in the Northern Cape has given Premier Sylvia Lucas until Friday to reverse her cabinet reshuffle in which she axed supporters of newly elected chairman Zamani Saul.

But the premier was adamant on Tuesday that she would not reverse her decision, pitting the party in the province against its own deployees in the administration.

Lucas reshuffled her provincial cabinet on the eve of the provincial conference, which took place last week. She had been widely expected to challenge Saul, the former provincial secretary, for the chairmanship, only to decline nomination at the last minute.

Saul and the newly elected officials in the province met on Tuesday to take stock after the conference, which had divided the province. The officials also met their allies in the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the SACP.

"The meeting with the alliance partners was followed by a meeting with the premier. We agreed with the premier that the reshuffling was not done in accordance with the internal organisational requirements," said newly elected provincial secretary Deshi Ngxanga.

"This was due to the fact that the ANC and the broader alliance were never consulted by the premier. We, therefore, agreed that by the end of this week, the reshuffling that took place on the 11th of May must be reversed," he said.

Lucas, an ally of President Jacob Zuma, axed provincial finance MEC Mack Jack, who claimed she did it to intimidate him due to his support for Saul.

The reshuffle, which affected about 10 portfolios, was criticised by the provincial and national ANC because Lucas had failed to consult the party and its allies about the move.

Lucas said in a statement on Tuesday that she would not reverse her decision, but had agreed to consult on the matter and get back to the party.

City Press reported on Sunday that the reshuffle was conducted due to allegations that R26m had been siphoned from the provincial treasury to bankroll the conference.

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