Premier not told of withdrawals

2004-04-24 12:14
Durban - New KwaZulu-Natal premier S'bu Ndebele has not received resignation letters or a telephone call from the Inkatha Freedom Party MECs who withdrew from the cabinet he announced on Friday.

African National Congress provincial spokesperson Mtholephi Mthimkhulu said he also did not know of the withdrawals until a journalist asked him to comment on them on Friday night.

"The premier said he is not aware of any resignations and as ANC we were not briefed of the action to withdraw Rev Celani Mtetwa and Inkosi Nyanga Ngubane," Mthimkhulu said after he had asked Ndebele.

He told Sapa he was surprised to hear IFP spokesperson Musa Zondi's voice on radio announcing the IFP had withdrawn its members from the provincial cabinet.

Mthimkhulu said: "We would like to assure all South Africans, particularly KwaZulu-Natal people, that as the ANC we are continuing with the broad-based government installed today."

Earlier on Friday, in what Ndebele reportedly said was an unprecedented move, the outgoing premier, Lionel Mtshali of the IFP, nominated him as his successor before they shook hands and hugged each other. Mtetwa and Ngubane were subsequently appointed to the provincial cabinet.

In a statement later in the day, Zondi announced the IFP had withdrawn its members from the cabinet saying they were appointed without the party's express agreement.

"The appointment of Inkosi Nyanga Ngubane and Reverend CJ Mtetwa to the KwaZulu-Natal provincial cabinet by the newly appointed premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Mr S'bu Ndebele this morning was done without the express agreement of the Inkatha Freedom Party," the statement read.

"Subsequently, Inkosi Ngubane and Reverend Mtetwa have withdrawn from the provincial government until the matter is resolved."

Zondi said the party objected to the premier announcing the appointments without the IFP's prior approval and because discussions were still taking place about giving the IFP three cabinet portfolios.

"The ANC delegation had agreed to give the IFP three portfolios in the negotiation process," Zondi added. He said Ndebele had expressed concern about certain names that the IFP might nominate.

The IFP said: "In a number of telephonic conversations last night and this morning between Zondi and Mr Ndebele, Zondi unequivocally left no doubt that the IFP position was that the party would need to agree to the names of IFP members of the cabinet.

"This was confirmed to Mr Ndebele a few minutes before the sitting in the legislature. Yet he went ahead and announced a cabinet containing only two IFP names that the party had not agreed to."

Zondi was not immediately available to explain his party's next step or whether the Inkosi Mhlabunzima Hlengwa, sworn-in as Deputy Speaker, would also withdraw.

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