Opposition parties slam KZN premier's cabinet

2019-05-28 13:17
Premier Sihle Zikalala. (Gallo IMages, file)

Premier Sihle Zikalala. (Gallo IMages, file)

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Opposition parties in KwaZulu-Natal have strongly criticised the provincial legislature executive that was announced on Monday.

The executive was announced, to much fanfare, during Sihle Zikalala's inauguration as premier of the province at his official residence in Pietermaritzburg - KZN's administrative capital.

However, opposition parties are against some deployments, including that of Peggy Nkonyeni, who took up the human settlements portfolio and popular ANC Youth League leader, Kwazi Mshengu.

The official opposition in the province, the IFP, also questioned Mshengu's selection as Education MEC.

"His experience and qualifications make him not equal to the deep challenges experienced by the education department," IFP leader Velenkosini Hlabisa said.

He also lambasted Zikalala for assigning the health portfolio to well-known ANC spokesperson Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu.

"The health department is a critical department servicing many people and experiencing so many challenges. [She] will not have command and authority in the medical field. We are of the opinion that the premier compromised these two departments."

Hlabisa also identified Nkonyeni's controversial deployment to the human settlements department as a "big mistake".

"The re-appointment of Peggy Nkonyeni is a fatal compromise that undermines the integrity of Premier Zikalala's stated commitment that he made last week during the swearing-in of new members where he promised to fight corruption and help improve education and health."

He further questioned the National Prosecuting Authority and why it dropped criminal charges in the R144m so-called "Amigos" corruption and racketeering trial against Nkonyeni and Mike Mabuyakhulu in October 2015.

Desperate legislature

Francois Rodgers, DA chief whip in the KZN legislature, described the executive as a "little more than desperate", saying it was hastily cobbled together.

He expressed concern about the return of Dube-Ncube as the political head for the economic development portfolio.

"She still remains under a cloud of suspicion over her husband's business interests within KZN municipalities. That she has now been handed the ultimate 'jobs for pals' portfolio is alarming. With the collapse of both Msunduzi and eThekwini, also under her watch, this is one MEC who should not have returned."

Rodgers said the assigning of Nkonyeni to the human settlements portfolio was alarming. He said it was strange to see her return after she was linked to a tender scam.

"Why she has now been allowed back into the fold is questionable."

He said despite new faces, Zikalala's cabinet would not move KZN forward.

Zikalala and his executive reclaimed power in the legislature after the ruling party emerged with 1 951 027 (or 54.22%) votes. The DA, which managed to secure 517 461 votes as the opposition in 2014 ended up with 500 051, while the IFP improved dramatically and took 588 046 votes compared to 393 949 in 2014.

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Read more on:    sihle zikalala  |  pietermaritzburg

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