Party closes ranks on premier

2011-06-29 11:56

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has closed ranks around its chairperson, provincial Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize, over claims by former Umsunduzi deputy mayor Mervyn Dirks that Mkhize’s wife benefited from looting the municipality’s coffers.

The ruling party will also now take disciplinary action against ANC members from Pietermaritzburg over slogans and placards accusing Mkhize of tenderpreneurship during the five weeks of protest against the appointment of ANC regional treasurer Alpha Shelembe as deputy mayor of the city.

ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said the party’s provincial executive committee had “full confidence’’ in Mkhize’s leadership and rejected the claims that he was linked to the decimation of the city’s funds, which saw it being placed under administration last year.

Zikalala said the PEC had looked at the claims and was “satisfied’’ that they were untrue.

“Some of these remarks and writings in placards reflect ill-discipline and foreign behaviour that is unacceptable to the ANC,’’ Zikalala said.Individuals, he said, had launched a “direct attack” on Mkhize because of the situation in Pietermaritzburg, which “will never succeed as the ANC will never allow its leaders to be sacrificed for no reason’’.

He said the ANC would now take disciplinary steps against any of its members who had breached its code of conduct during the Pietermartizburg protests, as well as those involved in the allegations against Mkhize.

Zikalala added that while the ANC had replaced Zonke Mbatha, the speaker of the municipality who, along with Shelembe, was targeted by the protesters over alleged corruption, it would not accede to demands to fire the regional ANC leaders.

The ANC, he said, found “no reason’’ to fire them and would instead go back to its branches to prepare for the region’s conference in August or September.

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