The ANC in the Northern Cape has today announced the province's ANC Women's League Deputy Chairperson and Environmental Affairs MEC, Sylvia Lucas, as the new Premier. Lucas will replace the ailing Hazel Jenkins.
Jenkins collapsed while delivering her State of the Province Address last year and has now officially agreed to step down on medical grounds.
Lucas' tenure as premier will carry until the next national elections. She will be inaugurated on April 30th.
The new Premier first became involved in political activities in the early 80s, while attending school at the Van Heerden High School in Upington. Lucas, who will be turning 49 on Monday, then took part in a number of activities within the ANC, including the Rosedale rent boycotts, and also formed part of the delegation to the Transitional Council, to ensure communities got prepaid electricity when they could not afford conventional electrical power.
Lucas also took part in the organisation's international study tours in the United Kingdom, Canada and United States amongst others. She holds numerous university certificates in courses such as the introduction to Project Management, Governance and Public Leadership amongst others.
I really feel privileged that the PEC even recommended me because to be recommended is already a great honour
She welcomed her appointment with alacrity, saying her main focus
will be on tackling heated issues such as challenges facing women in the
province and youth unemployment.
“I really feel privileged that the PEC even recommended me because to be recommended is already a great honour. There are many challenges in the province, especially the issue of the youth unemployment. We are already busy putting our ear on the ground to find out how we can address issues of especially the youth and the women.”
The ANC's Provincial Secretary, Zamani Saul, made
the announcement at the party's provincial head quarters, Amaqhawe Building, in the absence of current Acting Premier, Griezelda Cjiekella
and ANC chairperson, John Block, who are both on a ten day visit to
Saul said the delay of the inauguration of the new
premier was as a result of the former Premier's application for medical
boarding, not being approved on time. He reacted irritably (banging the table) when asked
why the announcement was made in the absence of both Block and
“I am the main spokesperson of the ANC, not the chairperson. The spokesperson of the ANC in the province is Zamani Saul not John Block, I speak on behalf of the ANC, not John.”
Meanwhile, the opposition in the province has also welcomed Lucas' appointment saying it is long overdue.
DA's Allan Grootboom says, “The DA welcomes the decision because it is
long overdue. It is the best decision that the ANC could do. She is not
in the pockets of some of the big guns. That means she will be able to
execute her mandate without fear or favour.”
COPE also echoed the DA's sentiments.