Lesufi beats DA’s Msimanga to become Gauteng’s new premier

ANC Gauteng chairperson Panyaza Lesufi has been officially elected and sworn in as the premier of the country’s economic hub.

Lesufi, a long-serving MEC of education, beat the DA’s candidate Solly Msimanga by 16 votes after EFF members of the provincial legislature staged a walkout, confirming that the party was no longer going to vote with the DA in pursuit for power. The EFF holds 11 votes in the Gauteng legislature.

Before departing, deputy provincial chairperson of EFF, Itani Mukwevho, caused drama and called for outgoing Gauteng premier David Makhura to be arrested.

Lesufi’s election ended months of speculation over who was going to replace Makhura as the premier of the country’s richest province. Makhura had been at the helm of the province since 2014 and has led the ANC in different capacities for the last 22 years.

However, there has been a strong push for Lesufi to become the face of the 2024 elections campaign following successive declines in electoral support in the province, which led to the ruling party losing power in metros.

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Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the event, Makhura, who handed his resignation to speaker of the legislature Ntombi Mekgwe on Tuesday, said he had worked close with Lesufi and that the former MEC was a capable man.

“That is why I have worked extremely hard to ensure a smooth transition,” he said.

Delivering his acceptance speech, Lesufi heaped praise on the former premier. “I’m taking over from one of the humblest servants of our province. I wish to state that premier Makhura led from the front,” said Lesufi.

Lesufi will announce members of his provincial cabinet tomorrow.

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