- Sihle Zikalala reaffirmed his support for Jacob Zuma when he announced his resignation on Friday.
- He said there was a "deceptive narrative" which suggested he had aligned himself with Cyril Ramaphosa.
- Working with Ramaphosa was part of the tradition of the ANC, he said in his final speech as premier.
Sihle Zikalala aligned himself to former president Jacob Zuma in his final speech as premier of KwaZulu-Natal on Friday.
"At a political level, there are those who have accused us of betraying former president Jacob Zuma. I wish to make it clear that I have supported him from 14 June 2005 until today. I supported him as a leader and someone who sacrificed his life for South Africa to be liberated," he said.
Zikalala offered his resignation to the ANC's provincial executive committee (PEC) on Thursday.
The party accepted it on Friday.
In the same statement, the PEC said it had communicated with ANC national officials - and it had submitted Nomusa Dube-Ncube, Amanda Bani and Mbali Frazer as candidates for premier.
They are to be interviewed on Saturday, with the preferred candidate set to become the first female premier in KwaZulu-Natal.
At his final press briefing as premier, Zikalala cemented his allegiance to Zuma, saying his "support has never been personal, but always organisational".
"At no point have I ever tried to get a position through being associated with him. Equally, I have never badmouthed others because they did not support him."
He said there was a "deceptive narrative", which had accused him of aligning himself to President Cyril Ramaphosa.
"It is the tradition of the ANC that dictates that members must always accept and work with the elected leadership, whether they have supported the election of that leadership or not.
"The ANC's principles of organisation, democracy and discipline further underline that leaders must lead all members with the same and equal treatment. This is key to ensure unity and cohesion of the ANC."
Zikalala said his decision to resign was not because he was "pushed by the new leadership", but "because of the narrative peddled against me".
He did not say exactly what the narrative against him was.
"It has been my revolutionary teaching that a revolutionary duty is served not by allowing personal desires, but by serving the organisation and the masses it is leading."
Zikalala said he left government "with no cloud or any allegation".
"And I hope, as cadres, we will preserve clean government, which focuses on the emancipation of the people.
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"As I alluded earlier, cadres of the revolutionary movement should consciously avoid becoming the centre of the problem or anything that hinders the progress of the revolution."
Zikalala said the ANC was more united now than it was between 2015 to 2017.
"The journey we traversed from 2018 to the ANC 9th Provincial Conference was not easy, but it managed to re-integrate all members of the organisation into one ANC.
"I have no doubt there is a solid foundation upon which the elected leadership will continue to build on and cement the unity of the ANC and that of the society."
Zikalala leaves his office after being heckled during recent public events, including the provincial elective conference. He also failed to make it on to the party's 35-member PEC.
He said that, despite his resignation, he would retain his position in the KZN legislature as an MPL.