New KZN premier in line after Zikalala resigns

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KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala.
KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala.


Just two weeks ago, finance MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube failed to muster the support of 25% of ANC KwaZulu-Natal delegates for her to be nominated as chairperson of the party. But now, she could be the premier of the province in no time. This comes after KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala threw in the towel and resigned before he could be pushed by the new provincial ANC leadership.

After he lost the position of chairperson to Siboniso Duma two weeks ago, by a margin of close to 300 votes, news started circulating that the newly elected leadership was going to recall him. Provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli also lost out.

Zikalala was humiliated at the ninth ANC provincial conference when delegates sang songs urging him to leave. Since then, it has been a matter of when, rather than if he would resign.

READ: What the KZN conference results mean

Delegates also showed their rejection of him when they failed to vote him into the new provincial executive committee (PEC).

The province could have a new premier in the next few days after the ANC requested it to shortlist and submit the names of three candidates it planned to interview for the post. The list includes Dube-Ncube, who also lost out at the provincial conference, Amanda Bani and Mbali Fraizer, who are scheduled to attend interviews on Saturday.

Zikalala was accused of failing former president Jacob Zuma when he was arrested and sent to jail for contempt of court in June last year.

Zuma’s arrest led to unrest which claimed over 400 lives and caused the looting and burning of shops in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

READ: KZN feels Zuma’s pain, says Zikalala

Even though Zikalala called for a presidential pardon for Zuma, he was seen as one of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s men, who failed to protect ANC leaders in KwaZulu-Natal, who have been told to step aside by the party after facing serious criminal charges.

According to the ANC statement, the party has accepted and welcomed his resignation as the premier.

“The ANC accepted Comrade Zikalala’s resignation with pain and difficulty, as he was still doing a great job in the province since he had taken over. The PEC communicated with the ANC national officials and were instructed to make recommendations of three names of comrades, who will undergo an interview process,” read the statement. It indicates that a new premier will be sworn in once interviews are concluded.

Zikalala was appointed to the position in 2019 after the local government election, to replace Willies Mchunu. Before he was elected the premier, he was serving as the MEC for economic development, tourism and environmental affairs.

Dube-Ncube was punted by supporters of former president Zuma as their candidate before the provincial conference.

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