Mkhize rules out cabinet reshuffle

2011-02-03 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL Premier Zweli Mkhize has no plans to reshuffle his cabinet this coming financial year, despite complaints that some officials underperform while others frequent medical institutions.

Mkhize said this yesterday during a media briefing before the start of a three-day lekgotla of MECs attended by senior provincial government officials, heads of departments, provincial heads of national government departments, heads of parastatals based in the province, provincial police and the South African Local Government Association officials. The lekgotla is expected to end tomorrow.

Responding to media questions about the possibility of reshuffling his cabinet this financial year in the face of mounting pressure due to complaints of underperformance and poor health of some MECs, Mkhize said: “As far as I am concerned we don’t have a crisis of people who cannot do their work in the cabinet …

“There is no one who is due for medical boarding. If you check medical records of those who were admitted at hospital, you would find nothing of that sort … Cabinet reshuffling is not even part of [the lekgotla] discussions. I am very relaxed about them, I am not at all worried about their health …”

Media inquiries about a reshuffle were sparked by a report from the Zulu newspaper Ilanga that almost half of Mkhize’s cabinet members were admitted to various hospitals in the last few months.

Among those mentioned in the I langa report are Transport and Community Safety MEC Willies Mchunu, who spent a number of days at a Durban hospital; Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube, who is on crutches after an unexplained incident; Arts, Culture and Sport MEC Weziwe Thusi, who was said to be frequenting a Durban hospital; and Social Development MEC Meshack Radebe, whom the report said had been constantly admitted to a Pietermaritzburg hospital.

Mkhize also defended the embattled MEC for Human Settlement and Public Works, Maggie Govender, who was recently put under pressure to resign following the loss of R200 million by her department due to under-performance on delivering subsidy houses.

He said, “The problem facing this department is not only for this province. It’s the structural problem in the way the government works when on the construction of houses …

In some cases land disputes are prolonged, which leads to delay on projects. Also the head of department and some senior officials resigned shortly after the MEC joined the department, which created massive challenges for the incumbent MEC …”

He said the KZN government is speaking to national housing minister Tokyo Sexwale to repackage different housing projects with the aim of building new houses on a massive scale.

In his opening remarks to the lekgotla, Mkhize emphasized that in line with the January 8 statement by President Jacob Zuma, job creation and decent work will be at the centre of all government programmes this financial year.

He said the government will have to partner with the private sector to ensure creation of job opportunities “as the government’s responsibility is mainly to create conducive conditions for job-creation”.

The lekgotla precedes the annual state of the province address by the premier and it introduces its plans for the year.

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