Nkonyeni urged to work hard to gain support

2013-10-09 00:00

ONLY hard work would earn newly-appointed Education MEC Peggy Nkonyeni support from the KwaZulu-Natal parliamentarians.

This was the clear and ringing message sent to Nkonyeni yesterday when she appeared before the education portfolio committee.

It was her first time before the committee in her new capacity after being appointed by Premier Senzo Mchunu on Monday.

This happened a day after Mchunu, her predecessor, orientated her on the department’s programmes and challenges.

Nkoyeni committed herself to deliver on the undertakings given by Mchunu to the oversight committee, admitting it is a “difficult portfolio”.

“I am committing to whatever former MEC Senzo Mchunu has declared when he previously addressed the portfolio committee,” Nkonyeni said.

She also said she was appointed at a difficult time, when pupils were soon to write final examinations.

“It is not going to be very easy for the political head because we need to monitor and ensure there is smooth running of the examination process.”

Nkonyeni said she still had to sit down with each branch manager to be thoroughly briefed about departmental issues.

“I still have to orientate myself with issues and programmes in the department,” said Nkonyeni.

“I hope I will receive and enjoy the support my predecessor enjoyed from the portfolio committee,” Nkonyeni said.

Committee chairperson Linda Hlongwa told Nkonyeni she could count on their support as long as “you are prepared to work hard”.

Nkonyeni had been hailed by Mchunu as someone who brought transformation to the legislature where she served as speaker from 2009.

At Monday’s press conference, Mchunu offered these words of advice: “It is a hard portfolio. I must say it requires your eyes and ears on the ground.” Mchunu also promised to rally support behind her in the portfolio.

But for now Nkonyeni’s task is to ensure final examinations, especially for matriculants, go smoothly.

She has also set as a priority to work with all stakeholders and seek to understand their concerns.

“I’m sure it will take some time, but I have to be fast,” she said.

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