ANC provincial leaders locked in reshuffle talks

2011-11-15 00:00

THE long-awaited shake-up in the KwaZulu-Natal cabinet appears to be on the cards. Last night ANC provincial leaders were locked in a meeting at the party’s Durban office, where the details were being hammered out.

This follows ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala’s announcement earlier this month that MECs in the province are going to be assessed.

At the time he ruled out an immediate reshuffle. But yesterday sources in the tripartite alliance told The Witness that some MECs have been summoned to a meeting to discuss their fate.

Speculation is rife that among those to be reshuffled are Social Development MEC Meshack Radebe and his agriculture counterpart, Lydia Johnson. Arts and Culture MEC Weziwe Thusi is also believed to be affected.

None of the MECs could be reached for comment. Late yesterday afternoon members of the KZN Legislature were informed of a special sitting at 2 pm, fuelling speculation of the long-awaited shake-up.

Opposition MPLs were told that the special sitting is to discuss the Division of Revenue Act. However, given that the bill is only due to be passed in February, they believe the real reason has to do with the expected changes in government.

Within ANC circles there have been rumours of a shake-up for some time.

By yesterday several members said they had heard that Radebe was going to arts and culture. It was not clear where Thusi would be deployed.

The Sunday Times reported last month that Johnson would become the new speaker and that the incumbent, Peggy Nkonyeni, would return to the provincial cabinet in her post.

However, this could not be confirmed.

There is also talk that a national MP will join the KZN Legislature and assume a provincial cabinet post. The last MP to be redeployed to KZN from national was Trevor Bonhomme.

Women’s League sources said there is dissatisfaction that it is mainly women MECs who would be affected by the reshuffle. The league is concerned that this would result in fewer women in cabinet, contravening the ANC’s gender parity policy.

At the time of going to press senior ANC leaders were still in a meeting and could not be reached for comment.

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