Home South African Coalition secures top posts in KZN

Coalition secures top posts in KZN

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Anxious moments about whether the glue will be strong enough to hold four parties for five years and create a stable government.

The KZN legislature in Pietermaritzburg. File picture: Shan Pillay

DURBAN – With the political party that managed to garner more than 40% of the votes in KwaZulu-Natal in last month’s elections relegated to the opposition benches in the provincial legislature and a government made up of four parties, the province faces its toughest challenge yet.

The uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MKP) narrowly lost its bid for the prime positions of premier, speaker and deputy speaker. The party was defeated by the block made up of the ANC, the DA, IFP and the NFP.

The ANC and IFP put their differences aside and formed KZN’s new government after exchanging insults for months.

The arrangement, which had been in the making for days was sealed during the official opening of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature on Friday, marked the start of the seventh administration.

Nontembeko Boyce was elected as Speaker, Mmabatho Tembe became the Deputy Speaker and the IFP’s KZN chairperson, Thami Ntuli, emerged as premier of the province.

Ntuli’s election marked the first time since 2004, under Lionel Mtshali, that the IFP has held the premier’s position.

The behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing between the parties became apparent when the ANC’s Boyce was nominated by Ntuli, which was contrary to the normally frosty relations between ANC and IFP members, with some of their clashes landing in court in the past.

Recently, former Zululand district mayor Thulasizwe Buthelezi took legal action against Nomagugu Simelane who is the ANC deputy chairperson. The two were sworn in as MPLs on Friday and were tipped for MEC positions under Ntuli’s leadership.

Ntuli has called for differences to be set aside for the sake of the people.

“There are women and men who are seated there at home and do not have something to put in the stomach for the day and that is a task we are faced with. There are youths who are seated at home who are graduates who are looking forward to a prosperous future. There are people in our province who are affected by issues of social ills and crime. There is much to do. A mammoth task that lies ahead,” said the premier.

He expressed a commitment to inspire hope for the province’s citizens, especially those who had experienced challenges in life.

And while the positions have not been allocated, the premier hinted that some departments could be reconfigured.

While Ntuli and company seek to inspire hope they will be aware of the massive challenge looming in the form of the EFF and MKP who have already expressed their discontent during Friday’s proceedings.

The lengthy election of the three office-bearers took nearly eight hours when it could have been concluded within three hours.

Former Msunduzi deputy mayor Mervyn Dirks, who switched to the MKP from the ANC recently, stood against his former comrade Nontembeko Boyce for the speaker position.

“We had the numbers and with the IFP could have won here but they decided to side with the ANC. We will see how long this arrangement will last because they do not really get along,” said Dirks.

HOW THE DEAL WIL WORK

The ANC and IFP indicated that the first hurdle was to get the speaker and premier positions secured, away from MKP, and with that done, negotiations are continuing before Ntuli’s announcement of the new provincial cabinet on Tuesday. With 10 cabinet posts, the ANC and IFP are set to have four MEC posts with the other two going to the DA and the NFP getting the two remaining positions.

The DA entered the arrangement and sought to exercise greater oversight, and following Tembe’s election to the speaker’s office will be pleased to get a cabinet post as well.

ANC chairperson Siboniso Duma and his colleagues Nomagugu Simelane, Mbali Frazer and Sipho Hlomuka are set to secure cabinet positions while Blessed Gwala and Buthelezi have also been tipped for positions in Ntuli’s cabinet.

The chairpersons’ positions are also expected to be split with an MEC from one party overseen by the chairperson from the other, a move which it is hoped will lead to greater accountability and efficiency.

According to ANC KZN spokesperson Mafika Mndebele, the establishment of the Provincial Government of Unity heralds the start of seamless service delivery involving all spheres of government will be engineered starting from national, province and municipalities.

“The people of KwaZulu-Natal will be the beneficiaries of a spirit of co-operation involving leaders of the ANC, IFP, DA and NFP,” he said.

Mndebele committed the ANC to work towards the creation of one nation where hard work, integrity, and selflessness will be the guiding principles of all elected public representatives.

DA leader Francois Rodgers also expressed his party’s commitment to working hard alongside its governance partners in the bid to chart a new course aimed at improving the lives of all people in the province, describing the new partnership as an exciting period filled with hope for the people of KZN.

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