Four of eleven key appointments in roads and transport positions after the recent national and provincial elections are new, confirming the trend of continuity and change set in both national and provincial executives.
Top of the list is Mr Fikile Mbalula, who takes over as Minister of Transport from Dr Blade Nzimande. Dr Nzimande returns to his former portfolio of Higher Education which has now merged with Science and Technology.
Mr Mbalula came to politics via the United Democratic Front and the ANC Youth League, of which he was president. He was previously the Minister of Sport and Recreation and later of Police. He headed the ANC’s 2019 election campaign.
His deputy – Ms Dikeledi Magadzi – was previously the chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on transport. She hails from Limpopo where she served as MEC in several portfolios.
Also new is Gauteng’s Mr Jacob Mamabolo, who heads the renamed Department of Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure. He was previously the MEC of Infrastructure Development.
The last of the new appointees is the MEC for Transport and Safety Liaison, Ms Nontobeko Vilakazi, in the Northern Cape. She comes from the provincial ANC Women’s League where she was secretary.
Heading the list of experienced hands, is North West’s MEC for Public Works and Transport, Mr Gaoage Molapisi. Premier Job Mokgoro and his administration has built a close working relationship with SANRAL in recent months.
In the Western Cape the go-to-man is Mr Bonginkosi Madikizela, MEC for Transport and Public Works. He also leads the DA in this province and has served on the Western Cape executive since 2009.
Ms Wesiwe Tikana was re-appointed as the Eastern Cape’s MEC for Transport, Roads and Community Safety. She will be working in an environment where the approach is to turn the province into a massive construction site.
Back in the job in Mpumalanga is Mr Gillion Mashego as MEC for Transport, Roads and Community Safety. His view is that road infrastructure is a critical part of growing the economy, creating jobs and opportunities for businesses.
In a much-changed executive in Limpopo, Ms Sekutu Mochadi, was one of the few who was retained as MEC for Public Works, Roads and Infrastructure. She is full of praise for the sterling work SANRAL is doing in the province.
In the Free State Mr Sam Mashinini was kept on as MEC for Police, Roads and Transport. He also heads the ANC in the province and points out that as a landlocked entity a high-class network of roads is essential.
Retained as MEC for Transport in KwaZulu-Natal is Mr Mxolisi Kaunda whose intent is on building quality roads and highways across the province to stimulate economic growth.