Doubts over premier’s plans

2016-02-26 09:35
Doubt have emerged over KZN Premier Senzo Mchunu's plans for the province.

Doubt have emerged over KZN Premier Senzo Mchunu's plans for the province. (File)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pietermaritzburg - Not even an announcement that nearly R900 million is being spent on drought alleviation efforts was enough to rescue Premier Senzo Mchunu’s State of the Province Address (Sopa) as uncertainty over his future overshadowed proceedings on Thursday.

With two centres of power existing in the provincial ANC, Mchunu’s speech received a lukewarm response as opposition MPLs doubted whether he would remain in power long enough to implement the promises he made to the people of the province.

Jaded MPLs did not follow protocol by giving the premier a standing ovation after he had delivered his speech.

Instead, the only applause came from ANC MPLs.

Later, at a press briefing after his address, Mchunu could not give clarity over his future.

He said the national and provincial ANC leadership had powers to elect and recall premiers.

“All I can do is to focus on my job while I am here,” he said.

Opposition parties said they doubted that Mchunu would be in power long enough to implement his Sopa promises, while ANC sources have said that a provincial Cabinet reshuffle is imminent, with Mchunu being said to have fallen out of favour with both the provincial and national ANC leadership.

The DA leader in the legislature, Sizwe Mchunu, went so far as to question whether the speech presented by the premier on Thursday was the real Sopa.

“There is confusion as to which one is really the Sopa. Is it the one that he delivered today, or the one that was delivered by Sihle Zikalala when he responded to the State of the Nation Address (Sona)?” he asked.

Zikalala, the ANC provincial chairperson, participated last week in Parliament during the debate of the Sona that had been delivered by President Jacob Zuma.

The inauguration of Zikalala into the provincial legislature late last year led to chaos.

Opposition parties stormed out of the sitting in protest against the allocation of the first seat, which is traditionally reserved for the premier, to Zikalala.

The IFP leader in the legislature Blessed Gwala said the uncertainty had left them playing a wait-and-see game.

“How can we believe that he is going to implement what he is saying, because maybe tomorrow someone new will take over and run the province? So we will wait and see,” he said.

NFP leader Vikizitha Mlotshwa said “even tomorrow we could hear anything”, referring to the expected Cabinet reshuffle.

EFF member Vukani Ndlovu said a change of leadership would mean the projects proposed by the premier would not come into effect.

“This is an issue of concern to us,” he said.

However, political analyst Protas Madlala said there was nothing unusual in the way the opposition parties had responded to Mchunu.

“They always find issues. Look at the EFF: they used the Nkandla scandal as their main political strategy. Now they have moved to the Gutpas,” he said.

“Now we are hearing about the name Zupta,” he said.

Madlala said it was normal for opposition parties to always use the weakness of the ruling party to advance their political agenda. “Especially with local government elections coming, they are going to use every opportunity they get to push their agendas,” he said.

THE provincial government is spending close to R872 million to fight the current drought that the province is facing.

By the end of the current financial year, the provincial government will have spent the money via the municipal Infrastructure Grant on water projects, Premier Senzo Mchunu said.

“Progress had been made with larger water schemes such as the Greater Mthonjaneni Phase 2, the Lower Tugela Scheme as well as the Western and Northern aqueducts in eThekwini,” he said during his State of the Province Address yesterday.

Mchunu said the Zululand District was the latest to be hit by drought.

The drought would affect food prices, and the poor would be the worst affected, Mchunu said.

The premier said the provincial government is expected to cut over R1bn in spending in the first year of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework.

The government would also focus on tracking and reducing carbon emissions.

A study had been initiated to investigate the harvesting of rain water to improve water provision and reduce utility costs.

The Office of the Premier would lead efforts to mobilise civil servants who owe the National Student Financial Aid Scheme R400 million to pay back the money.

Mchunu said acting director general Frikkie Brooks had been tasked with finding ways of collecting the money owed to NSFAS.

Departments had also been directed to set their targets in line with their Employment Equity gaps.

The premier had expressed concerns that women and people with disabilities were still under-represented, particularly at senior management level.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.