Only 2 of 9 Health MECs in job for more than 2 years

Following South Africa’s 2019 national and provincial elections, new members of provincial legislatures have been sworn in and new provincial executives appointed.

Four new MECs (provincial ministers) for health have been newly appointed and five were reappointed. MECs have substantial power in South Africa since most of the day-to-day running of the public healthcare system is devolved to provinces.

The latest set of changes follow a busy 2018 in which five new MECs for Health were appointed – two of those five have now been replaced.

Of the nine current MECs for health, four were appointed in 2019, three in 2018, and two in 2015.

Of the nine MECs seven are women and two are men.

Below is a province-by-province breakdown of the changes. Spotlight will provide more detailed analysis of some of the new appointments at a later stage.

Eastern Cape

Ms Helen Sauls-August is replaced by Ms Sindiswa Gomba. Sauls-August was appointed MEC for Health in 2018 and was only in the position for a year. Gomba was charged in relation to the Mandela Funeral scandal. The case was withdrawn earlier this month, but National director of public prosecutions Shamila Batohi has expressed serious concern over the withdrawal of the case.

Free State

Ms Montseng Tsiu remains MEC for Health. Tsiu was appointed MEC for health in 2018.


Dr Gwen Ramokgopa is replaced by Dr Bandile Masuku. Ramokgopa was Gauteng MEC for health from 1999 to 2006 and again from 2017 to 2019. Masuku is a medical doctor and a board member of the Office of Health Standards Compliance and chair of the Tswane University of Technology council.


Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo is replaced by Ms Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu. Dhlomo was KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Health from 2009 to 2019. Simelane-Zulu was previously the ANC’s spokesperson in the province. Both the DA and IFP have expressed concern over her appointment given her lack of health qualifications and experience.


Dr Phophi Ramathuba remains the MEC for Health. She was first appointed to this position in 2015. She is currently the joint longest serving Health MEC together with Nomafrench Mbombo of the Western Cape.


Ms Sasekani Manzini remains MEC for Health. Manzini was appointed as MEC for Health in 2018.

Northern Cape

Ms Fufe Makatong is replaced by Ms Mase Manopole. Makatong was appointed as MEC for Health in 2018. Manopole was previously a member of the National Council of Provinces.

North West

Mr Madoda Sambatha remains MEC for Health. Sambatha was appointed as MEC for Health late in 2018.

Western Cape

Dr Nomafrench Mbombo remains the MEC for Health. Mbombo was appointed MEC for Health in 2015. She is currently the joint longest serving Health MEC together with Phophi Ramathuba of Limpopo.


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