The lowdown on Premier Masualle’s four newbie MECs

Premier Phumulo Masualle announced a major shake-up to the provincial executive on Thursday, roping in four new MECs who make their debut as political heads of provincial departments.

We take a look at these new heads and what they have to offer:

  • Xolile Nqatha – rural development and agrarian reform:

Nqatha worked for nine years in the Department of Land Affairs as a researcher and for two years in the non-governmental sector as a community development facilitator.

He also served as a provincial manager for the Dora Tamana Co-operative Centre in the Eastern Cape office focusing on research, policy development and co-operative training from August 2005 to September 2009.

He is currently a member of the Eastern Cape provincial legislature as chairman of the portfolio committee on finance and provincial expenditure and a member of the Scopa, health and economic development committees.

Nqatha previously worked as an underground mineworker and as an assistant at Amatola Star Bakery from 1988 to 1989.

He describes his experience as one rooted in “communications and marketing, community development, local government transformation, local economic development, promotion of co-operatives, financial sector transformation, social and economic justice, and land and agrarian reform”.

His area of specialisation and keen interest over the last three years has been on co-operatives and alternative economic transformation in line with the imperative of social and economic justice.

Nqatha is doing an MPA (Masters in Public Administration) at the University of Fort Hare.

  • Oscar Mabuyane – finance: Mabuyane’s appointment to the provincial executive comes after he took over the ANC provincial chairmanship last year, defeating Masualle in the East London ICC conference.

It was in matric that Mabuyane showed that he was in a league of his own, passing his final exams with flying colours despite there being no science lab to conduct experiments at his high school in Sharpeville in Gauteng.
He left his family home in Ngcobo to join his father in Carltonville so that he could get odd jobs in Johannesburg.

He was forced to take a two-year gap year after matriculating with exemption in 1995, as his family could not afford to send him to university. He was 22 when he enrolled for his BCom in Economics at the University of Fort Hare (UFH) in 1997.

It was in Alice where he realised his passion for helping the needy, after being elected to the student representative council as president.

From graduating with an economics degree, then economic affairs MEC Enoch Godongwana head-hunted Mabuyane to work as a chief-of-staff in his office in Bhisho. Godongwana was then MEC of tourism, economic affairs and finance.

Mabuyane’s political star continued to shine in the ranks of the ANC Youth League until he was elevated to become the provincial secretary of the parent body in 2009, serving two terms before reaching the top last year as provincial chairman of the ANC.

  • Mlungisi Mvoko – human settlements:

This teacher by profession who served in New Education South Africa was instrumental in the establishment of the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union in the 90s.

The 59-year-old Mvoko was elected the ANC regional chair in Sarah Baartman a record-breaking three times in 2006, 2012 and 2015 before progressing to being the ANC deputy provincial chairman last year

Born in Somerset East, Mvoko in 2000 traded teaching to be the Sarah Baartman, then Cacadu, district mayor where he served two terms until 2011.

  • Bulelwa Tunyiswa – sport, recreation, arts and culture:

Tunyiswa had been serving as the Bhisho legislature deputy speaker before her appointment as MEC on Thursday.

She was born in Middledrift in 1962 and graduated from the University of the Western Cape with her first degree.

She went on to complete her master’s in public administration at UFH. She is a former teacher and Sadtu and Cosatu activist, which is where she honed her political prowess. Tunyiswa is a former youth and student activist and served in the SA Communist Party central committee for two terms.