Mchunu welcomed, mostly, as second-term premier

2014-05-21 00:00

THE appointment of KwaZulu-Natal ANC chairperson Senzo Mchunu as the premier-elect for the province for the second time was yesterday greeted by some with cautious optimism.

Although most parties welcomed Mchunu’s appointment, two parties said he was not suitable for the job and that he would stifle proposals from the opposition.

Political parties were unanimous in urging the premier-elect to accelerate delivery of services.

Mchunu was named as the premier-elect and Lydia Johnson as KZN legislature speaker by the ANC national leadership after the national executive committee meeting ended yesterday morning.

He was endorsed for the hot seat after being nominated along with Education MEC Peggy Nkonyeni and Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube.

Mchunu has been premier since former premier Zweli Mkhize stepped down last August.

He is to be sworn-in with other new and returning public representatives in Pietermaritzburg today.

University of KwaZulu-Natal politics lecturer Zakhele Ndlovu said Mchunu’s appointment made sense in terms of continuity and his track record could have worked in his favour. “He is probably the most senior leader in KZN at the moment. I am not surprised that he was retained to the same position,” Ndlovu said. “In the past he served as [ANC] provincial secretary and as Education MEC without any scandals. He was perhaps someone the ANC could trust. Also, he was given a chance to act as the premier and did not disappoint,” he said, adding that Mchunu needed more time to continue where he had left off.

New opposition leader Sizwe Mchunu of the DA said his party had not seen much of the new premier in his capacity as political head of the KZN government. “We hope and anticipate he will rise to the occasion. We are yet to be convinced because he is not suitable for the job. So he does not receive endorsement on our side,” Mchunu said.

IFP’s Blessed Gwala said Mchunu’s appointment was strategic because he was effective in stifling proposals from the opposition for the benefit of the ANC.

While the NFP’s Nhlanhla Khubisa congratulated Mchunu, he said his appointment could have been for purely for continuity.

Khubisa said Mchunu should accelerate service delivery by improving education, providing houses, luring investors to the province and ensuring the public money was spent properly as well as ensuring that there as peace and stability for service delivery was to thrive.

The Economic Freedom Fighters’ Vusi Khoza said Mchunu should ensure that he reduced the rate of unemployment, sped up service delivery among the poor, opened up economic opportunities for blacks in particular, redistributed land and prioritised youth development.

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