Mchunu adds two new faces to his cabinet

2014-05-27 00:00

PREMIER Senzo Mchunu yesterday injected some new blood into his cabinet when he appointed two new MECs, keeping almost all the other members of the executive council he inherited from his predecessor.

Announcing his cabinet after his inauguration in Pietermaritzburg, Mchunu revealed that former finance chairperson Belinda Scott was the province’s new Finance MEC and planning commission chairperson Cyril Xaba was the Agriculture and Rural Development MEC.

The feisty Scott, an erstwhile member of the provincial legislature for both the IFP and the DA, takes over from former Finance minister Ina Cronjé.

Xaba, formerly an ANC chief whip and adviser to former KZN premier Zweli Mkhize, replaces Meshack Radebe, who was elected as deputy speaker of the legislature.

Apart from these two new appointments, Mchunu made changes to two departments.

He shifted the misplaced Gambling and Betting Board, which his predecessor had placed in the Premier’s Office, to the Provincial Treasury.

Mchunu also moved Environmental Affairs from the Agriculture and Rural Development portfolio to Economic Development and Tourism in a move that could be interpreted as taking a cue from other provinces.

With the appointments of the two new MECs being warmly welcomed by the opposition, they will take charge of critical departments.

Provincial Treasury, under Cronjé, led the province out of the red and introduced austerity measures that were subsequently copied by the national government.

The crisis-ridden Agriculture and Rural Development Department has for a long time experienced problems with the management of its finances as well as with corruption.

Both Xaba and Scott said they were well aware of the tasks lying ahead for them.

“There are challenges like in any department, but I believe together with my colleagues, labour, organised agriculture and all other stakeholders we will overcome those challenges,” Xaba said.

“The people of KZN need development. There is no time to waste. We need to hit the ground running. I will be part of the team to make it a point that happens,” he added.

Scott said she always tended to play an extremely active role in Provincial Treasury issues.

“I don’t regard it just as an administrative task, but as carrying out the mandate of the president and our premier. We have a huge workload ahead of us in terms of fighting corruption and also on clean and good governance,” said Scott, who is well-known for her tough stance and her liking for detail on finance issues.

Meanwhile, Mchunu told the thousands of people at his inauguration that the abuse of state resources for self-enrichment would not be acceptable and that civil servants and public representatives should take pride in their work.

“We will be firm against any form of corruption. We will come down hard against those who are involved in corruption.

“We encourage the people to notify government of any suspicious conduct of officials,” Mchunu said.

He also outlined his first 100 days programme, which turned out be a catalogue of unveiling or launch projects, some in conjunction with municipalities, that are already under way.

Opposition DA leader Sizwe Mchunu said, “The 100 days are commitments we expect from local municipality mayors. He has set unrealistic targets for himself. There is nothing new.”

However, Mchunu applauded the premier for his pronouncement against corruption.

The NFP’s Vikizitha Mlotshwa echoed Mchunu in hoping that Xaba would rise above the challenges in the Agriculture and Rural Development Department.

• mayibongwe.maqhina@witness.co.za

Side Bar

The MECs who retained their portfolios:

Arts, Culture, Sports and Recreation -Ntombikayise Sibhidla-Saphetha

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs - Nomusa Dube-Ncube

Economic Development, Environment and Tourism – Mike Mabuyakhulu

Education MEC – Peggy Nkonyeni

Health – Sibongiseni Dhlomo

Human Settlements and Public Works – Ravi Pillay

Social Development – Weziwe Thusi

Transport, Community Safety and Liaison – Willies Mchunu

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