He’s ‘ready to deliver’

2013-09-27 00:00

NEWLY-ELECTED KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu yesterday promised peace and stability in the province, with delivery of services being accelerated in the few months leading to the general elections.

“In the remaining seven months of our term, the focus will be on ensuring peace and stability in the province, which can only be achieved if all of us can co-operate by putting high premium on human life and prevent killing as we move to elections in 2014,” he said.

He delivered his acceptance speech at the Dales Park sports field in Pietermaritzburg.

Earlier he was sworn in at the Legislature’s main chamber by KZN Judge President Chiman Patel.

He replaces his predecessor Zweli Mkhize, who resigned last month to become the ANC treasurer-general at Luthuli House in Johannesburg full time.

At yesterday’s special sitting, legislators had to vote, because the IFP’s Blessed Gwala and the DA’s Sizwe Mchunu were nominated by their parties, alongside Senzo Mchunu.

However, Mchunu, who is also the ANC KZN chairperson, garnered 50 votes, with Gwala trailing behind with 14 and Mchunu seven votes.

The new premier later joked about the contest from his colleagues in the opposition.

“I hope they will sleep well and try their luck next time,” he told journalists.

At yesterday’s inauguration, Mchunu did not announce any cabinet reshuffle, but said a new MEC for Education to replace him would be announced next Thursday after he applied his mind and consulted the ruling party.

“The Department of Education requires a replacement.

“Within a week a new MEC for education will be appointed.”

Mchunu also promised that his government would ensure there was good governance, and that civil servants should do their work as expected.

Mchunu also promised greater delivery on the basic needs of people.

“Our government is ready to deliver more than before,” he said.

Mchunu paid tribute to his predecessor, whom he credited for “remarkable achievements”, particularly on reducing KZN’s deficit from R3 billion and lowering the growth of HIV-Aids prevalence.

Mchunu also said the focus will shift increasingly to economic growth, fighting unemployment, inequality and the urban-rural divide by ensuring the economy was evenly spread. He will also fight corruption.

On the issue of crime, he said there should be maximum co-operation between communities and police through various structures led by the Community Safety and Liaison Department.

In the wake of deadly accidents in the province, Mchunu said reckless driving and drunk driving would not be tolerated.

He also promised to work with the Zulu Royal House on the social upliftment programmes led by King Goodwill Zwelithini. He will work also with traditional leaders, businesses and parties in the Legislature which shared a common purpose and consensus with the ruling party.

Parties congratulated the caretaker premier.

Cope’s Lucky Gabela said: “We look forward to working with you and hope you will not fail the people of the province.”

The Minority Front’s Shameen Thakur-Rajbansi assured Mchunu of their support.

The DA’s Sizwe Mchunu said: “You will have friends in the DA when you fight corruption. You will have friends in the DA when you make our municipalities effective and also ensure service delivery reaches people who still desire and are still waiting for it.”

The IFP’s Henry Combrink put out this challenge: “Meet with the official opposition and opposition parties to discuss issues that concern us. We are part of this government and we are part of this house.”

The ANC’s Willies Mchunu said they were commited to give support and rally behind the new premier.

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