KZN cabinet reshuffle was poorly handled - SACP KZN

2016-06-08 07:17
Themba Mthembu (Amanda Khoza, News24)

Themba Mthembu (Amanda Khoza, News24)

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Durban – A tug-of-war between ANC and the South African Communist Party in KwaZulu-Natal over the SACP's provincial secretary Themba Mthembu's deployment as MEC has lifted the lid on its deeply fractured relationship.

The alliance partner also claimed the ANC disregarded its opinions on the cabinet reshuffle - which the SACP was against - and the political instability in the province.

"We still feel that the whole matter was poorly handled," said SACP provincial treasurer Nomarashiya Caluza on Tuesday. 

On Monday KZN Premier Willies Mchunu reshuffled his cabinet and announced that Mthembu had been appointed to replace Cyril Xaba in the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Mchunu filled the vacant transport portfolio with Mxolisi Kaunda. Mchunu was previously MEC of the portfolio.

He also appointed MECs Bongi Sithole Moloi (Sport, Arts and Culture), Sihle Zikalala (Economic Development) and Mthandeni Dlungwana (Education).

Conditional acceptance

It emerged on Tuesday afternoon that the SACP only learnt about Mthembu's deployment through the media.

After the swearing in ceremony both the ANC and the SACP leadership, including its national second secretary of the SACP Solly Mapaila, were locked in a long intense meeting to discuss Mthembu's deployment. Mthembu is yet to be sworn in.

In a joint media briefing by Caluza and the ANC's Mluleki Ndobe shortly after the meeting, it was confirmed that Mthembu would accept the position. But there were conditions.

In a separate SACP press briefing later, Caluza told the media that proper consultation processes did not take place and that is what caused the confusion.

She said the party held an urgent extended provincial working committee meeting on Monday night to discuss the matter.

Caluza said Mthembu received a phone call from the ANC office on Monday morning informing him of his new deployment.

Confusion within party structures

She said the party asked the ANC for 24 hours to consult with its internal structures because the deployment would affect the leadership in the province.

"We noted with dismay that despite the ANC having agreed on giving us 24 hours to consult our structures, it proceeded with making a pronouncement on this serious matter and it has created a lot of confusion within our structures."

The SACP said it was always against reshuffling the cabinet in KZN months before the elections.

"We do not support any reshuffling especially at a time going to the local government elections. We said that our focus should be on building unity and campaigning for an overwhelming ANC electoral victory.

"We still feel that the whole matter was poorly handled. We have accepted the apology of the ANC."

Factionalism

Caluza said the SACP told the ANC that it would allow Mthembu to serve as the Agriculture MEC only if the ruling party agreed to a comprehensive inclusive alliance process to build and consolidate unity and especially reaching out to members who were affected by factions.

"They must address hotspots and reach out to communities that are aggrieved and intervene on the challenges they are faced with. They must commit to dealing with factionalism in the province.

"And there must be joint alliance efforts and programmes to address tensions that have resulted in killings in the province."

Caluza said if the ANC did not consider the conditions, releasing Mthembu would have been "a futile exercise and deemed as a co-option".

Read more on:    sacp  |  anc  |  themba mthembu  |  willies mchunu  |  durban  |  local elections 2016

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