Dube-Ncube’s election as KZN premier begins with a showdown

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Nomusa Dube-Ncube, new premier of KwaZulu-Natal. Photo: Daily Sun
Nomusa Dube-Ncube, new premier of KwaZulu-Natal. Photo: Daily Sun

POLITICS


The special sitting of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature on Wednesday to elect former finance MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube as the new premier went smoothly, although it was not without the DA and the EFF staging a brief sideshow on which party has the greater ability to oppose the governing ANC.

The DA fielded its own candidate to contest Dube-Ncube, even though, as the third largest opposition in the 80-member chamber, its candidate, Mmabatho Tembe, was doomed to fail.

READ: 10 things to know about Nomusa Dube-Ncube

Dube-Ncube won by 45 votes against Tembe’s 11. Her promotion came on the back of former premier Sihle Zikalala stepping down just two weeks after losing the provincial chairperson post of the ANC to MPL Sboniso Duma.

The ANC has 44 seats in the legislature, followed by the IFP at 13, the DA at 11, and the EFF with eight seats. The red berets were not to be upstaged by the DA, as the party’s caucus leader, Vusi Khoza, reminded Dube-Ncube that during her tenure as cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) MEC many municipalities in the province collapsed and traditional authorities were unpaid.

READ: KZN shake-up looms

Khoza said Dube-Ncube was also the former MEC of economic development, but even then, unemployment among young people continued to soar:

Maybe she will find it in her heart to explain to us as to what happened to the R250 million drought money that disappeared under her watch. What happened to it?

The Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority have been investigating the alleged misappropriation of drought-relief funds since 2019, including the suspected involvement of Dube-Ncube.

DA caucus leader Francois Rodgers said the election showed that there is one effective opposition to the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, “and that is indeed the DA, having been the only party that fielded a candidate”.

“So that just gives one some hope that there is effective opposition in our province.”

READ: Municipalities creaking as debt soars

He said if Dube-Ncube’s focus was economic development, job creation and dealing with the scourge of inequality, the DA would work with her to address those challenges.

Dube-Ncube said during her acceptance speech that it was:

untrue that there was a misappropriation of funds under my watch in the department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs.

“This is the matter that was raised by the former MEC for agriculture and rural development. In any event, if such misappropriation of funds had occurred, the office of the Auditor-General would have uncovered evidence thereof during its audit of the department of agriculture and rural development or Cogta”.

She said that under her watch the office of the premier would:

play a much more assertive and visible role in providing leadership and coordinating key and priority government programmes that will drive us towards the achievement of our provincial vision.

“The office of the premier, therefore, will monitor and evaluate on a regular basis all provincial government departments, public entities and municipalities in relation to the impact on service delivery.”

She said there was no intention to usurp any functions, roles or responsibilities of other line function departments:

but we need to have our finger on the pulse of this province and must be able to intervene where necessary, as guided by the ANC, as a governing party.

Duma said the ANC:

elected the first ever woman premier to demonstrate our commitment as the ANC to ensure the total liberation of women ... We are confident that [Dube-Ncube] will strengthen all efforts aimed at ensuring the economic empowerment of women.

The ANC, he said, had “always held the view that the economic wellbeing of a society cannot be achieved if women are massively underprivileged, particularly in the employment sector, compared with their male counterparts”.

“Nor can an economy remain healthy without utilising the contributions and skills of women in different economic activities, whether it’s education, health, engineering, construction, information technology, maritime, mining or the automotive industry.”

He said the ANC championed women’s empowerment and made significant progress in women’s political representation in decision-making, particularly at the provincial and local tiers of government.

Then he took a dig at the opposition:

Unlike the [DA], which pursues neo-liberal policies, as the ANC we have also emphasised the importance of radical economic transformation...

“Such transformation must result in the empowerment of women and all those who still live in abject poverty and underdevelopment because of the legacy of the apartheid government.”


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