Mtshweni promises to work hard in changing lives

Mtshweni promises to work hard in changing lives
TRAILBLAZER: Refilwe Mtshweni has risen from being an ordinary member of the ANC to become the province's first female premier. PICTURE BY Zibonele Mncwango.

She thanked all those who have entrusted her with state machines.

Newly elected Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtshweni on Wednesday promised she would work hard in changing the lives of the people of the province for the better. 

She said the battle to take on the challenges of poverty and unemployment has already begun. 

Mtshweni was elected by the legislature on 22 May 2019 as the 5th Premier of the Mpumalanga province.

In her acceptance speech, the province’s first woman premier said she will work “tirelessly” to do what government is expected to do and “commit myself to be your servant, to serve you with honesty, dignity, diligence and integrity”. 

“Leadership, by its very definition, carries great responsibility that I commit myself to bear,” she said at the Mpumalanga legislature on Wednesday afternoon. 

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Mtshweni’s name was part of at least 6 candidates who’s names were submitted in a report for nomination by the Mpumalanga PEC for the position during a special NEC meeting on 11 May 2019.

Sources say among the names were acting secretary Lindiwe Ntshalintshali, NEC members Reginah Mhaule and Violet Siwela as well as PEC member Jeneath Thabethe.

Mtshweni has the backing of ANC deputy president DD Mabuza, Gert Sibande chair Muzi Chirwa, eHlanzeni chair Ngrayi Ngwenya, amongst others in Mabuza’s circles. 

Mtshweni is also believed to be gunning for the position of Mpumalanga ANC chairperson and this will apparently see Chirwa becoming the secretary. 

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Opposition parties congratulated Mtshweni and said they want to see actions. 

EFF leader Collen Sedibe said she will have to “walk the talk” and “prove to the people of Mpumalanga that she is not a stooge of DD Mabuza as many people are contemplating”.

“She must fix the provincial departments and state-owned enterprises and root out corruption. We congratulated her already at the legislature,” Sedibe said. 

DA leader Jane Sithole said they want Mtshweni to focus on issues of service delivery, the unemployment and the apparent reluctance by the provincial state to investigate politicians accused of corruption. 

“As President Cyril Ramaphosa has already said that those who put their hands where they don’t belong should go to jail. We expect her to run an efficient government, professionally so, so that the government services all people of this province equally,” she said. 

(edited by ZK) 

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