Cheers, jeers as Mkhize bids KZN farewell

2013-08-29 19:35
Zweli Mkhize (Picture: GCIS)

Zweli Mkhize (Picture: GCIS)

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Pietermaritzburg - Outgoing KwaZulu-Natal premier Zweli Mkhize was cheered and jeered when he said goodbye to the provincial legislature on Thursday.

Mkhize was applauded after giving his final speech to the legislature as premier, but some opposition parties described his departure as overdue.

Last week, he announced that he would be stepping down to become the African National Congress's full-time national treasurer-general.

Parting shots

The Democratic Alliance and the Inkatha Freedom Party took parting shots at Mkhize.

DA MPL Sizwe Mchunu said Mkhize's departure "was long overdue" because the province deserved a full-time premier.

The premier left a province with 10% of its municipalities under administration, Mchunu said.

Blessed Gwala, of the IFP, accused Mkhize of ignoring the opposition parties.

"In a healthy and serious democracy, the leader of government always keeps in mind that democracy cannot survive or thrive without meaningful opposition. Hence, he or she engages the opposition from time-to-time."

Joann Downs, of the African Christian Democratic Party, praised Mkhize for rolling out antiretroviral medication in the province without national government support.

She said his "grace in that difficult period was amazing" and she praised his "vision and integrity".

She hoped the ANC would not be beset with financial scandals while he was treasurer-general and said he was an example to members of his party in other provinces.

Humbled

In his speech, Mkhize thanked opposition parties for their oversight role.

He said he believed that democracy in the province had matured and that the legislature was now respected in the province.

Since he first took his seat in the legislature in 1994, it had become "a decent, respectful house in a peaceful, thriving province".

"As I step down... I am humbled by the show of unity and maturity in this house," he said.

Mkhize's term officially ends on Saturday.

The ANC was holding a national executive council meeting in Pretoria on Thursday and Friday, when it was expected to decide who would lead the province.

 

Read more on:    anc  |  zweli mkhize  |  durban  |  pietermaritzburg  |  politics

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