South Africa

Cabinet clean-out as Dube-Ncube takes over as KwaZulu-Natal premier

The newly-elected KwaZulu-Natal premier, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, has reshuffled her cabinet a day after taking office, appointing four new members to the executive council (MECs) to accommodate members of the recently-elected ANC provincial leadership.

In doing so Dube-Ncube has dropped several of the MECs who stood on former premier Sihle Zikalala’s slate at last month’s ANC provincial conference, at which she also attempted to stand as chairperson but failed to get the endorsement of 25% of the delegates present on the floor.

The new ANC provincial chairperson, Siboniso Duma, has been appointed as economic development, tourism and environmental affairs MEC, while the new treasurer, Ntuthuko Mahlaba, the former mayor of Newcastle, replaces Jomo Sibiya as human settlements MEC.

Member of the provincial legislature (MPL) Amanda Bani-Mapena is the new sports, arts and culture MEC, replacing Hlengiwe Mavimbela, while MPL Mbali Frazer, who had been named as a potential premier along with Bani-Mapena, gets the education portfolio at the expense of Kwazi Mshengu.

In a surprise move, Dube-Ncube appointed Zikalala, who resigned as premier last week, to head the cooperative governance and traditional affairs department, replacing the new deputy secretary, Sipho Hlomuka, who was moved to the transport portfolio.

Zikalala resigned as premier after losing the contest for chairperson to Duma last month, after a number of incidents in which he was heckled by ANC members and the public.

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Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane, who was elected as deputy provincial secretary at last month’s provincial conference, retained her cabinet position, as did social development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza.

Bongi Sithole-Moloi retained the agriculture portfolio, while former transport MEC Peggy Nkonyeni — who has served in various cabinet portfolios since 2004 — was appointed as finance MEC.

The MECs who have been dropped from the cabinet will remain as members of the legislature, with the exception of Ravi Pillay, who resigned as MEC and MPL on Wednesday.

The new cabinet permutation sees the “Taliban” faction, which won the provincial conference in dominance, but keeps some level of balance in allowing Zikalala and Nkonyeni to retain cabinet posts.

Dube-Ncube said the focus of her cabinet would be on rebuilding the KwaZulu-Natal economy and “creating decent jobs in the formal and informal economies”.

The province would use state investment in infrastructure development and other areas to unlock opportunities for economic transformation in the province and would contact various sectors of society to work with them.

She committed her cabinet to “hard work” and delivery.
“Our fate is bound together as elected leaders of society and society at large and therefore we must work together to unlock the potential of this province. What is urgently needed is to choose the right path that will enable all of us to reach our destination. We are inviting the people of KwaZulu-Natal to walk with us as we embark on this journey,” Dube-Ncube added.

Artmotion S.Africa

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