Pair outsmart each other to get nod from Zuma

2014-04-07 00:00

WHILE thousands of Durbanites came to witness the official hand-over of the Cornubia housing development at Ottawa, there were two people who were seemingly out there for another mission.

Theirs was to make a lasting impression on President Jacob Zuma well in advance of when the ruling party decides on who the next provincial premier should be.

Premier Senzo Mchunu and Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube did their best to outsmart each other in an apparent effort to get a nod from the man who has much influence on who becomes premier after the elections.

Dube-Ncube currently tops the ANC candidate list for the KZN legislature and is followed by Mchunu, who is the ANC provincial chairperson.

While the positions the pair hold make them preferred candidates, they are not automatic choices as the provincial leadership is expected to recommend three names to Luthuli House.

As master of ceremonies, Dube-Ncube took her musical cue from the president, who is well known for his singing, and while Zuma appeared to study his prepared speech, her voice took flight, providing new words to a well-known hymn tune: “This government takes us from here and places us there, this government is so kind to us”, adding that the poor were now closer to Gateway than before.

This caught Zuma’s attention, as did Dube-Ncube’s slogans shouted against the IFP by playing on the word “inkatha”, which can refer to the item that women put on their heads as a support when carrying loads of wood. She told the crowds to “dump Inkatha” just like they dropped loads of wood.

Mchunu could be seen sitting back in his chair, somewhat detached from proceedings, while Zuma laughed and apparently translated and explained to Human Settlements Minister Connie September what Dube-Ncube was saying.

When Mchunu finally took to the podium, Zuma just sat in his chair in a pensive mood, looking on as the premier tried to warm up to the audience.

It was not until Mchunu had recounted some of the successes of the KZN government, including electrification of houses and the tarring of roads, that Zuma was in stitches when Mchunu said that those who did not see development should be taken to see where it was taking place.

When Mchunu finished his address, the two men were seen shaking hands. But as if not to be outdone, Dube-Ncube continued where she had left off, likening the ANC-government to a moving car, to the delight of Zuma.

But was it a big hint when September sang the song, The name of women must be praised, as she introduced Zuma?

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