SACP stands behind Nkonyeni

2011-11-01 00:00

THE ANC succession battle in KwaZulu-Natal is heating up. Yesterday the SA Communist Party came out in support of KZN Legislature speaker Peggy Nkonyeni, saying she is the victim of political persecution because of factionalism within the ANC.

The Zulu edition of the Sunday Times reported this week there is talk of a pending provincial cabinet re-shuffle linked to the infighting .

The SACP was responding to an allegation by the Democratic Alliance that Nkonyeni is the director of at least three companies that have done business with government.

On Friday, DA provincial leader Sizwe Mchunu said that Nkonyeni was listed as a director in 13 companies, three of which were known to have conducted business with the provincial government. The information came from the provincial Finance Department in response to a question Mchunu had raised in the legislature.

On Saturday Nkonyeni called on Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to investigate allegations that she is profiteering from her official position.

The SACP told a press briefing yesterday that Mchunu has been unwittingly used by ANC insiders who had leaked misleading information. It warned parties in the legislature to be careful about being used in the factional battles within the ANC.

SACP provincial secretary Themba Mthembu said that whenever something negative about Nkonyeni comes to the fore it usually coincides with major political event within the party, such as an elective conference or government deployment.

SACP insiders noted that Nkonyeni was charged for allegedly being involved in the over-pricing of a mammogram scanning machine at a time when she was to stand as a candidate for premiership of the province. The charges were later withdrawn. She is also an accused in the “Amigos” trial involving a tender related to the sale of water purification plants to the KwaZulu-Natal health department.

Mthembu said the recent allegation seems to signal that another major decision is looming.

Meanwhile, the KZN Premier’s office dismissed the Sunday Times report of a pending cabinet reshuffle as “shebeen gossip”.

The report, quoting unnamed sources, said Nkonyeni was to be moved to the Agriculture Department to succeed Lydia Johnson, who is to be the new speaker.

Premier Zweli Mkhize was to become ambassador to New Zealand with Social Development MEC Meshack Radebe moved to Sports and Recreation.

The report said Mkhize has called an urgent meeting this week with a grouping called the KZN Progressive Professional Network.

The premier’s spokesperson, Ndabe Sibiya, said there is no such grouping and dismissed the report as lies. “We want to assure everybody that we have an elected cabinet with all members working as a united force. This is why KZN leads in terms of socio-economic development.”

MEC for Finance Ina Cronje has not taken kindly to Mchunu linking Nkonyeni’s name to his parliamentary question.

Mchunu confirmed that he did not had not asked the MEC for the names of Nkonyeni’s companies because he already knew the names of the directors from his own research.

• nalini@witness.co.za

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