IFP wants premier's 'sweetheart' removed

2014-10-22 13:31
Senzo Mchunu (File, Sapa)

Senzo Mchunu (File, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu must remove his wife from her post as uThungulu district mayor, the IFP demanded on Wednesday.

"If the premier has what it takes and wants to display good leadership he must lead by example and tell his wife that she must vacate her position," Inkatha Freedom Party MPL Blessed Gwala said.

He said Thembeka Mchunu was not working full-time in the province's spousal office, where she was meant be, and was instead juggling two positions, as mayor and as First Lady of the province.

The mandate of the KwaZulu-Natal spousal office was to provide support to the premier in the execution of their responsibilities. A spouse was expected to fulfil the role of partner at all ceremonial, state and executive functions.

"Earlier this year I raised the issue of the premier's wife being the district mayor when she should have been removed to work on a full time basis in the premier's spousal office," said Gwala.

"Senzo Mchunu did not take action at that time because this matter relates to his sweetheart. We know that if it was an IFP member involved, the ANC would have commented about this matter in the legislature and in the media."

Not fulfilling duties

Gwala said the mayor had not fulfilled her duties in that post, and in her position as provincial first lady.

"After carefully considering the workload associated with her two responsibilities, she must come to the conclusion that she needs to spend more time fulfilling her responsibilities as the premier's wife.

"She has failed to provide services to the people of uThungulu and she has not done anything as the first lady of the province. This is totally unacceptable."

He said the IFP would not allow a situation where "some people" were protected because they were married to senior ANC leaders.

African National Congress provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said the matter had been discussed.

"The issue of two positions occupied by comrade Thembeka Mchunu was discussed during the recent conference in Musa Dladla region, but no decision has been taken on whether she should relinquish one of her posts," he said in a text message to Sapa.

"It is unfortunate that the IFP has decided to hijack our internal process by making exaggerated claims in the media on this matter. We view this as an opportunistic and desperate attempt to rekindle its lost political fortunes."

Statement a distraction – Premier’s office

The premier's spokesperson Ndabezinhle Sibiya said mayors were deployed by the ANC, and were not solely the premier's responsibility.

"We therefore reject the statement from the IFP as it is only aimed at distracting Premier Senzo Mchunu from strengthening service delivery," Sibiya said in an e-mail to Sapa.

"Over the past few weeks uThungulu district municipality has received awards for service excellence, which is an indication that issues of service delivery are being prioritised by the council, which is led by the mayor."

He said Mchunu, as first lady, had been championing programmes focused on women, children, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

The mayor's office said it would comment shortly.

Read more on:    senzo mchunu  |  service delivery

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