Sunday Tribune

Former premier owed respect for achievemen­ts


NATHI Olifant’s unkind portrayal of former IFP KwaZulu-Natal premier Dr Lionel Mtshali (‘Lionel’s spiral’, Sunday Tribune, October 18) warrants a response. The diction employed throughout is of the kind that has become reserved for politician­s who hail from parties other than the ANC. It is hard to imagine a profile of a former ANC premier written with so much malice and so little grace.

I wish to reiterate my view that as the longest serving KwaZulu-Natal premier to date, Dr Mtshali did a great deal to transform our province economical­ly and socially. He did so with his hands tied by an unreliable coalition partner, the ANC, whose desire to unseat the IFP-led provincial government often got the better of some ANC ministers.

Despite the difficult political circumstan­ces, Dr Mtshali pioneered the distributi­on of antiretrov­irals to HIV-positive pregnant women at a time when this policy was vigorously opposed by the national minister of Health as well as her counterpar­t in KwaZulu-Natal, Dr Zweli Mkhize, who is now our premier.

On the whole, Dr Mtshali ran an efficient and cogent administra­tion, free from grand self-promotion and bland self-congratula­tion which came so clearly to characteri­se his successor’s term of office.

As leader of the Official Opposition after 2004, Dr Mtshali was instrument­al in exposing some of the worst excesses in the ANC administra­tion, most memorably the massive mismanagem­ent and fraud in the Department of Agricultur­e.

Since this year’s election, Dr Mtshali’s contributi­on to the work of the legislatur­e’s portfolio committee’s remains immense. His grasp of government business is unparallel­ed as is his life-long experience of the public office and his readiness to share it with his juniors.

 ??  ?? Former IFP premier, Dr Lionel Mtshali,‘ran an efficient and cogent administra­tion’, a reader says.
Former IFP premier, Dr Lionel Mtshali,‘ran an efficient and cogent administra­tion’, a reader says.

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