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Sihle Zikalala resigns, search for new KZN premier ramped up as ANC accepts decision

  • KwaZulu-Natal is set to get a new premier after incumbent Sihle Zikalala handed in his resignation on Friday.
  • The ANC’s newly elected provincial executive committee has accepted his resignation and already started the process of searching for Zikalala’s replacement.
  • Finance MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube and ANC MPLs Amanda Bani and Mbali Frazer will be interviewed for the position on Saturday.

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has put forward the names of Finance MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube and ANC MPLs Amanda Bani and Mbali Frazer as possible replacements for outgoing premier Sihle Zikalala.

On Friday afternoon, the ANC in the province announced Zikalala’s resignation as premier following his defeat at the ANC KwaZulu-Natal elective conference, where he had to relinquish the chairperson position.

“Comrade Zikalala offered the provincial executive committee (PEC) his resignation yesterday (Thursday), which was accepted”, and the PEC has since communicated with ANC national officials and [was] instructed to make recommendations for three names who will undergo an interview process,” the ANC said in a statement.

According to the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, the names of the three candidates have been submitted and they will be interviewed on Saturday.

The party said it was with “great pain” that it accepted Zikalala’s resignation “as he was still doing a great job in the province since he took over”.

“We are grateful for the job he has done for the people of this province, and we appreciate that he made a conscious decision not to leave office hastily. Comrade Zikalala’s tenure has come with a lot of good in the province, including a number of provincial government departments receiving unqualified audit outcomes for the first time,” read the statement.

According to sources, the newly elected provincial executive committee (PEC) was informed of Zikalala’s request to leave his position when it met for the first time on Thursday.

A PEC member told News24:

It was communicated to us (the PEC) that Zikalala believed the environment was no longer conducive for him to continue as KZN premier and as such asked to step down.

“It was made clear that he will remain in the ANC and was committed to working hand in hand with the newly elected leadership to ensure that there is a smooth transition, and the party wins the national elections,” the PEC member added.

When approached for comment, Zikalala requested that questions be sent to him via text message as he was unable to answer his phone, but he had not responded by the time of publication.

Zikalala’s decision came after he suffered an embarrassing defeat at the recent ANC KwaZulu-Natal elective conference that saw him relinquish the party chairpersonship to his rival, former ANC provincial youth league leader Sboniso Duma.

Rubbing salt into a wound, Zikalala, who had accepted the nomination as an additional PEC member, failed to make the cut as delegates again showed their resentment towards him.

From the outcome of the votes, it was clear that there were anti-Zikalala sentiments, and delegates were ready to vote for anyone but him.

Speaking to News24 at the conference, newly elected provincial ANC secretary Bheki Mtolo promised that Zikalala would not be pushed out and would remain premier until the national and provincial elections in 2024.

A similar commitment was made by Duma, who vowed that there would be no purging of leaders in the provincial executive shortly after he was elected chairperson.

Zikalala himself dealt a similar blow to his predecessor, Senzo Mchunu, when he forced him out as premier after he had also lost the chairperson position at the 2015 provincial elections.

–News24

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