Zikalala’s ‘Team RET’

2019-05-28 16:44
Premier Sihle Zikalala. (Gallo IMages, file)

Premier Sihle Zikalala. (Gallo IMages, file)

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KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala on Monday unveiled the province’s new cabinet amid pledges to fast-track radical economic transformation, root out corruption and create a climate of political tolerance in the province.

Zikalala’s cabinet team of six women and four men has five new faces, including ANC Youth League (ANCYL) provincial chairperson Kwazi Mshengu and ANC Women’s league (ANCWL) KZN chairperson Nonhlanhla Khoza.

Former members of the provincial cabinet who did not make the cut were former Education MEC Mthandeni Dlungwane, former Social Development MEC Weziwe Thusi, former Treasury MEC Belinda Scott, former Agriculture MEC Themba Mthembu and former Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo.

Addressing about 200 guests, who included former president Jacob Zuma, who had attended Zikalala’s inauguration at the premier’s official Parkside residence in Pietermaritzburg, the newly sworn-in premier said assembling the team had been a “daunting task”.

“Selecting 10 people from 80 highly talented members of the Provincial Legislature (MPLs) has been an extremely difficult exercise,” he said.

The new cabinet, which includes former Education MEC Peggy Nkonyeni who was removed during the 2016 provincial cabinet reshuffle, Zikalala said, will vigorously pursue programmes aimed at uplifting the previously disadvantaged.

“We want to lift millions of people out of poverty through a clear radical economic transformation programme,” he said.

Providing financial support to emerging farmers, training unemployed youth and turning rural areas into sustainable economies would be among the new government’s priorities. “We are going to ensure that government sources its required products from local small and micro enterprises and co-operatives.

“The Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs will soon launch the Operation Vula Fund to provide financial support to feasible SMMEs and co-operatives,” he said.

Zikalala told guests that his government will be harsh on corrupt government leaders and business organisations using violence to get government contracts. “We will ensure that all cases of corruption are dealt with expeditiously and further ensure transparency in the work of government, especially procurement processes.

“The abuse of political or administrative power must not, and will not, be tolerated. There are also those people who go around disrupting businesses and then saying it’s radical economic transformation — those people do not represent the kind of small businesses that deserve government assistance,” he said.

The ANC in the KZN legislature, Zikalala said, will not use its majority status to suppress the views of opposition parties and shield the corrupt from accountability.

However, opposition parties expressed concern that some of the people that Zikalala appointed as MECs lacked the skills and qualities required for the job.

Mshengu, who previously worked as head of ministry in the provincial Economic Development Department, was appointed Education MEC.

The KZN Legislature’s official opposition, the IFP, said Mshengu and Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu, who was appointed Health MEC, did not possess the right skills required in their respective portfolios.

“The appointment of Hon. Mr Kwazi Mshengu as the MEC for Education leaves much to be desired. His experience and qualifications make him not equal to the deep challenges experienced by the Education Department. Again the appointment of Ms Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu into the Health Department is a big challenge,” IFP provincial caucus leader Velenkosini Hlabisa said.

The DA said Zikalala should not have brought back former Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC and now Economic Development MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube

“Of particular concern to the DA is the return of former Cogta MEC, Nomusa Dube-Ncube … who 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 and one can only wonder what she will bring to her critical new role,” DA provincial chief whip Francoise Rodgers said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  sihle zikalala

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