Swearing-in tomorrow

2013-09-25 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL will have a new premier tomorrow when it is expected that Education MEC and ANC chairperson Senzo Mchunu will be sworn in and inaugurated to the hot seat in provincial government.

Mchunu has been acting in that position since former premier Zweli Mkhize stepped down in August, months before his terms ended, to become ANC treasurer-general on a full-time basis at Luthuli House in Johannesburg.

He had acted in that capacity for a few days after Mkhize announced his resignation, before he left for Malaysia with a government delegation led by President Jacob Zuma.

While the ANC would not say who its premier candidate was, several sources told The Witness that Mchunu would be nominated at the special sitting to be held in Pietermaritzburg.

Mchunu was endorsed for the hot seat when his name and that of Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Willies Mchunu and Legislature Speaker Peggy Nkonyeni were forwarded to the party’s national leadership.

His name was put forward by his campaigners to ensure that he, as the ANC provincial chairperson, became the premier candidate and became the face of the ANC’s election campaign in KwaZulu-Natal.

The news of Mchunu’s inauguration has apparently been kept under wraps, with invitations being quietly sent to guests earlier this week by the Office of the Premier.

Invited guests — who must wear formal or traditional attire to the event — have until midday today to confirm their attendance of the inauguration, to be held at Dales Park Sports Field.

Media invitations are yet to be sent out.

The inauguration comes four days before the deadline set in the Constitution, which stipulates that a vacancy of premier must be filled no later than 30 days after it occurs.

Yesterday, Legislature spokesperson Wonder Hlongwa confirmed that a new premier would be elected at the special sitting in the main chamber of the Legislature tomorrow.

“Judge President Chiman Patel will preside over the election of the premier and the swearing-in,” Hlongwa said.

He added that after the election of the new premier, a lunch would be served at Dales Park.

Opposition parties would have an opportunity to nominate their premier candidates, he said.

“Obviously they will nominate their own candidates if they want because after all they all vote,” he said.

ANC chief whip Lizzy Shabalala said the party was looking forward to electing a new premier.

She declined to say who the ruling party would nominate as their premier candidate.

She said she did not know whether the other political parties have submitted their forms nominating their candidates. “I’m not sure if they have candidates.”

The ANC, as the majority party in the Legislature, currently has 50 MPLs; the IFP has 18 public representatives; the DA has seven MPLs; the Minority Front two MPLs; and the ACDP and Cope each have one.

The ANC still has to fill the position left by Mkhize in the Legislature.

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