National News/27 February 2023,14:34pm/ Staff Writer
Newly elected Free State Premier Mxolisi Dukwana:image supplied
By Staff Writer: Since the Provincial elective gathering of the members of the African National Congress in the Free State; the province has been in transition.
One however; can admit that this shift has been taking place since Mxolisi Dukwana was chosen to lead the province’s Interim Committee just less than two years ago.
In May 2021; the National Executive Committee appointed the Odendaalsrus born Dukwana as convener of the Interim structure after the Court declared the 2018 elected PEC unlawful. Since then; there has been an added interest in Free State politics as Dukwana has taken calculated and strategic steps back into politics.
Dukwana’s rise to provincial leadership has required patience and support from all regional structures and this became evident when the branches affirmed him as Provincial Chair in January 2023; just weeks after the party’s National Elective Conference in Gauteng.
In a much contested space; he emerged victorious with 346 votes to his administrative predecessor; Sisi Ntombela’s 303. Dukwana’s endorsement has not only brought him back into leadership but has also presented this province with new faces within the Top 5 and young minds to the Provincial Executive Committee.
The newly elected Chairperson and now Premier of the centre of the country isn’t new to politics.
His involvement in politics dates back to the 80’s noting his active involvement in the South African Youth Congress.
His name isn’t new to provincial leadership either.
Between 2005 and 2012; he made part of the ANC PEC and served as Provincial Treasurer. Dukwana has served within various cabinets in the Free State before; including that of Beatrice Marshoff.
His entry into government was through the Education Portfolio under the controversial leadership of Terror Lekota who was then the Premier of the Free State in 1996.
A position he held until 1998. His understanding of government reaches far and wide when looking at the number of Departments and portfolios he has served in.
Under Beatrice Marshoff; Dukwana moved between portfolios as MEC when he moved from then; Public Safety and headed the Department of Economic Development; Tourism and Environmental Affairs.
Before taking his position as MEC in Marshoff’s Executive; Dukwana played various roles in the Provincial Legislature. First as Chief Whip; followed by the Deputy Speaker position in 1999 and ultimately the Speaker of the house.
Transitional governments aren’t new to Dukwana. He was presently active when Marshoff’s successor Ace Magashule moved into office in 2009 and kept him as MEC of Economic Development until 2012 when Magashule releaved him off his duties.
Dukwana now; both Chairperson and Premier has the responsibility to unite the Free State and lead the Province to the 2024 national elections.
He leads a political joined force that promises to bring formidable change in the Province; carrying the hopes of millions in the Free State heavily challenged.
The young and old but mostly; the young. The new Premier takes over government machinery at the beginning of the 2023/24 Financial year; just after numerous Lekgotlas held to prepare the province for the assignment ahead.
While Dukwana has the responsibility to steer the African National Congress in the Province in the right direction; he now also has an added responsibility of directing government to stability and creating a balance after taking over from his predecessor; Hexonia Ntombela whose cabinet he served in as MEC of Corporative Governance and Traditional Affairs as well as Human Settlements.
Now sworn in as Premier of the Free State; Dukwana and his team are now racing against time to prepare for the State Of the Province Address which is scheduled for Tuesday 28 February 2023 .
As Dukwana assumes office; it remains to be seen whether the grey-haired man will rise to the occasion and change the trajectory of the Free State to make it a better and stronger Province.