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Letsoha-Mathae becomes 5th female FS Premier

By Libuseng Nyaka

BLOEMFONTEIN – The election of Maqueen Letsoha-Mathae as premier of Free State and the retention of Zanele Sifuba as speaker has made Free State the only province in the country with women at the helm.

Letsoha-Mathae and Sifuba were elected during the first sitting of the Provincial legislature on Friday June 14, 2024, following the provincial and national election held on May 2024.
Letsoha-Mathae who is the former MEC for community safety, roads and transport replaces Mxolisi Dukwana who had served for 16 months.

She is not the first woman premier, as she walks in the footsteps of the Winkie Direko, Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, Beatrice Marshoff and Sefora Ntombela.

In her acceptance speech, Letsoha-Mathae promised to focus on the acceleration of service delivery.

“Let me begin by expressing my heartfelt gratitude for the trust and confidence that my organization, the African National Congress, has placed in me. This day is not merely a renewal of our mandate, but a recommitment to the noble cause of service to the people of our province. It marks the continuation of the good work that our government has been doing.”

She also described her election as premier and Sifuba as Speaker as a victory for women who have been marginalized in the past.

Newly elected Free State Premier Maqueen Letsoha-Mathae.

“To the newly elected Speaker of the Free State Provincial Legislature, I extend my sincere congratulations. Your role shall be pivotal in strengthening the health and survival of the 7th administration, and I am confident that you will carry out your responsibilities with integrity.

“We have no doubt that your tenure shall be marked by fairness, dedication, and a relentless commitment to the betterment of our province. Today is a victory for women who – for too long – were viewed as mere stepchildren in the political and economic life of our country.

“Indeed, today is a testament that women are leaders and drivers of development who deserve equal opportunities to thrive and contribute,” she said.