Hustling for the top job

2014-05-16 00:00

ONE the eve of today’s nomination for a new premier for KwaZulu-Natal, the behind-the-scenes campaigns for leadership are in full swing.

The incumbent, ANC provincial chairperson Senzo Mchunu, appears to be the preferred candidate, but Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC and ANC deputy provincial secretary Nomusa Dube-Ncube as well as Education MEC and treasurer Peggy Nkonyeni were still in the race as their factions made their plays.

Four months ago reports emerged that there were plans in place to oust Mchunu as the premier after the general elections.

The report pointed to a faction, allegedly led by ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala and the Musa Dladla regional chairperson, Thulani Mashaba.

Both had vehemently denied claims that they were behind moves to oust Mchunu and back another candidate.

“There is still an ongoing consultation,” said one source who is not authorized to speak to the media.

Nkonyeni is no stranger to the nomination, but Dube-Ncube’s has raised some eyebrows in some quarters.

Two Facebook pages were set up more than a year ago to campaign for Dube-Ncube for the premiership, but they appeared dormant and had six and 12 followers respectively.

This happens as the ANC provincial leadership meets today to nominate three names to submit, in order of preference, to the ANC’s headquarters, Luthuli House, to select the premier.

The provincial working committee met last night to decide on the three names to recommend to today’s meeting of provincial and regional leaders.

Currently the candidate list for the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature is headed by Dube, followed by Mchunu and Finance MEC Ina Cronjé.

However, the position of an individual on the candidate list does not make him or her an automatic choice to become premier.

The nominations come almost eight months after Mchunu was appointed — he replaced former premier Zweli Mkhize, who resigned to take up his party treasurer-general position full time.

Party insiders yesterday said Mchunu was set to top the list of three names after leading a successful provincial election campaign and also to ensure that there was continuity within the administration.

SACP provincial secretary Themba Mthembu said any drastic change to the leadership of the province could destabilise KwaZulu-Natal.

“We will stick with the premier to ensure continuity. We do not want to find ourselves in the situation of other provinces where there has been chopping and changes of premiers.

“We don’t want to end up with challenges found in those provinces. We hope the leadership will take note of that,” Mthembu said.

Until recently there had been reports suggesting the province was ready for a woman premier and Dube-Ncube’s name had been bandied about.

But KZN Cosatu has shot down the idea, saying the appointment should not be made on gender imperatives.

“We want to remain convinced that the gender transformation and women emancipation issue is not for sale.

“It is therefore our firm belief that any comrade tasked with such responsibility will be selected on his or her capabilities to execute the tasks at hand,” outgoing secretary Zet Luzipo said.

Zikalala was cagey when asked when they would make nominations.

“The provincial executive committee will meet at the right time. We have no reason to rush things. We will go through the process as expected of us.”

Meanwhile, the KZN legislature is scheduled to meet on May 21 for the swearing in of 80 public representatives and election of a speaker, deputy speaker and premier.

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