Final push for Mchunu to exit KZN gov­ern­ment

CityPress - - News - PADDY HARPER paddy.harper@city­press.co.za

KwaZulu-Na­tal Premier Senzo Mchunu’s term is ex­pected to be cut short this week, with at least four other mem­bers of his cab­i­net set to lose their jobs fol­low­ing a final push to oust him by back­ers of pro­vin­cial ANC chair­per­son Sihle Zikalala.

The ANC, both in the province and na­tional, is re­fus­ing to con­firm or deny the ru­mour. The tale sur­faced on Fri­day when the party’s pro­vin­cial work­ing com­mit­tee (PWC) was meet­ing to dis­cuss the mat­ter. How­ever, sources close to the pro­vin­cial lead­er­ship told City Press that the pub­lic was likely to be of­fi­cially in­formed on Tues­day about Mchunu’s pos­si­ble re­de­ploy­ment at the ANC of­fice in Dur­ban. They said he would be re­placed by Zikalala’s deputy and the pro­vin­cial trans­port and pub­lic safety MEC, Willies Mchunu. The two are not re­lated. He is ex­pected to serve the rest of his pre­de­ces­sor’s term, with Zikalala as chair­per­son mooted as the ANC’s premier elect in the next na­tional and pro­vin­cial elec­tions.

Mchunu’s of­fice re­fused to com­ment on the reshuf­fle claims yes­ter­day. The premier was ad­dress­ing a youth event at the Uni­ver­sity of Zu­l­u­land at the time, but he made no men­tion of the ru­mours that he was be­ing forced to re­sign.

Another source, who can­not be named as he has no au­thor­ity to com­ment on the mat­ter, told City Press that at least four other MECs – Cyril Xaba for agri­cul­ture, Ntombi Sib­hidla-Saphetha for arts and cul­ture, Peggy Nkonyeni for ed­u­ca­tion and Mike Mabuyakhulu for eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment – were likely to be re­moved from the pro­vin­cial cab­i­net in terms of pro­pos­als dis­cussed at the PWC meet­ing.

Zikalala is set to re­place Mabuyakhulu, while for­mer Pi­eter­mar­itzburg mayor Bongi Sit­hole will re­place Sib­hidla-Saphetha. Nkonyeni will be moved to the pro­vin­cial leg­is­la­ture to re­place cur­rent deputy chief whip No­magugu Sime­lane-Zulu, while Xaba will be re­placed with Mthandeni Dlung­wana, who will be pro­moted from the leg­is­la­ture. All of the new nom­i­nees were in­stru­men­tal lob­by­ists dur­ing Zikalala’s bat­tle for pro­vin­cial chair­man­ship.

Zikalala’s sup­port­ers, par­tic­u­larly the ANC Youth League, have pressed party lead­ers to re­de­ploy in­cum­bent premier Mchunu be­fore the end of his term fol­low­ing his de­feat at the pro­vin­cial con­fer­ence in Novem­ber.

Two other MECs, Belinda Scott for fi­nance and Sibongiseni Dhlomo for health, may also be pushed out but there was no cor­rob­o­ra­tion for this from sources ex­cept to say there was no final de­ci­sion on the mat­ter.

“A lot of the com­rades have been ap­peal­ing for a de­lay in im­ple­ment­ing the pro­posed changes in the pro­vin­cial cab­i­net, at least un­til af­ter the lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions. Even those who didn’t want Senzo to fin­ish his term didn’t want a full-scale reshuf­fle now,” said the source.

He said some ar­gued the pro­vin­cial lead­er­ship was deal­ing with a lot of fires over the lists for coun­cil­lors. But others be­lieved it was in­evitable and had to hap­pen now rather than later.

“This is go­ing to alien­ate peo­ple. Those who are be­ing purged are not go­ing to want to cam­paign for the ANC in th­ese elec­tions,” the source lamented.

It is un­der­stood that the rec­om­men­da­tions of the PWC meet­ing will be tabled to a spe­cial pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee meet­ing for rat­i­fi­ca­tion, which was meant to take place last night or to­mor­row.

ANC pro­vin­cial spokesper­son Mdu­miseni Ntuli also de­clined to com­ment, say­ing he was only aware of the ru­mour in cir­cu­la­tion from “face­less sources”.

How­ever, he con­firmed that there was a me­dia brief­ing planned “prob­a­bly” for Tues­day.

Senzo Mchunu

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