KZN opposition parties stage walk out at Zikalala's swearing-in ceremony

2015-11-26 19:36
Sihle Zikalala. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

Sihle Zikalala. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

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Durban – Opposition party members staged a walk out during the swearing in of the ANC’s new provincial chairperson, Sihle Zikalala, at the KwaZulu-Natal legislature on Thursday.

Zikalala was sworn in as an official member of the provincial legislature, taking up the position that was previously occupied by provincial secretary Super Zuma.

Parties, however, complained that Zikalala was given special treatment, including sitting in a seat that was usually reserved for Premier Senzo Mchunu.  

The DA said in a statement that it and other parties protested "the unprecedented and blatant abuse of power associated with the entry to the House…".

"Contrary to the Rules of the Legislature, the new powers-that-be in KZN decided that it was appropriate to seat Zikalala in the seat reserved for the Premier – at the head of the front bench - with his seat labelled 'Leader of the Majority Party'."

The party said this effectively meant that the ANC had taken precedence over the head of the government in the province.

The National Freedom Party's KwaZulu-Natal leader, Vikizitha Mlotshwa, said the NFP walked out because Zikalala received "exclusive" treatment.

Mlotshwa said: "His name tag is different to ours when we are all equal members. He was being treated exclusively and special… He was seated where the Premier sits, if they are trying to tell us he is the new premier, they must come out and say it."

'Zikalala was given special treatment'

He said the NFP had written a letter to the speaker demanding answers.  

The Inkatha Freedom Party’s Blessed Gwala said: "The problem is when they close gates and members have little access to certain areas. We also have a problem when disruptions are caused by the speaker by calling an hour long media briefing because of a new member.

"He [Zikalala] was given special treatment, he is nothing special, he is not the king… We walked out as a matter of principal, we need a meeting with the speaker about the matter."

ANC provincial secretary Super Zuma called the walk out "cheap politicking aimed at leveraging a few minutes of fame for the politically bankrupt opposition".

Zuma dismissed concerns about the seating arrangements saying: "This was an internal decision by the party’s parliamentary caucus which has nothing to do with the legislature as an institution."

He said opposition parties’ hysteria revealed the "true level of their desperation".

"In fact, this is tantamount to interference in ANC caucus decisions… Clearly [opposition parties] are out of their depth and can no longer contribute to the formulation of policies that speak to the people of KZN," said Zuma.

Read more on:    nfp  |  da  |  anc  |  ifp  |  senzo mchunu  |  sihle zikalala  |  durban  |  politics

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