Nomusa Dube-Ncube Nominated As New KwaZulu-Natal Premier.. The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has announced its nomination of the MEC for finance, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, as the new premier of the province, to replace Sihle Zikalala who resigned last week.
Dube-Ncube, a former diplomat and municipal speaker, who holds a master’s degree in public administration, will be confirmed as premier after being sworn in by the provincial legislature, which sits in Pietermaritzburg, later this month.
She will serve as premier until 2024.
Although Ncube-Dube’s appointment has created fresh concern about a purge of the provincial cabinet by the so-called Taliban faction, which swept the board at last month’s provincial conference, the ANC KwaZulu-Natal leadership has again denied that it plans to remove MECs associated with Zikalala’s faction.
Last week rumours surfaced that the dominant faction, led by new chairperson Siboniso Duma and secretary Bheki Mtolo, would remove other MECs, including Jomo Sibiya (human settlements), Hlengiwe Mavimbela (arts and culture) and Ravi Pillay (economic development and tourism), as well as speaker Nontembeko Boyce, once the new premier was sworn in by the legislature.
But Mtolo and his deputy, Sipho Hlomuka, on Monday downplayed the talk of a reshuffle, saying they were dealing only with the premiership and that Dube-Ncube would be given “space” to decide who to appoint as her replacement as head of finance.
Dube-Ncube and members of the provincial legislature, Amanda Bani and Mbali Frazer, had been shortlisted by the ANC leadership in the province as their choices to replace Zikalala. The national executive committee (NEC) opted for Dube-Ncube, who had previously served as cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC.
The provincial executive committee is understood to be preparing to appoint Bani and Frazer as MECs when the reshuffle takes place later this month.
Dube-Ncube had attempted to contest the post of provincial chairperson at the ANC’s KwaZulu-Natal conference last month, on a radical economic transformation ticket, but failed to secure the endorsement of 25% of the delegates which was required for her to make it onto the ballot paper.
At a media briefing in Durban on Monday, Dube-Ncube said she accepted the nomination and committed herself to working with the provincial leadership in implementing the ANC conference resolutions and in promoting economic development in the province. Dube-Ncube said she had accepted deployment by the ANC leadership and thanked it for the “trust” it had shown in her.
She would be guided by the national development plan and the provincial growth and development strategy, both of which focused on job creation, economic development and poverty eradication as priorities.
“That is what we will have to work around as a leadership and also talk about economic growth that reflects the demographics of our people,” she said. “We will not disappoint.”
Mtolo said Zikalala was “never pushed to resign, but made an offer to us as the leadership, which we declined”.
“However, he made much persuasion which compelled this leadership to accede to his decision as our senior and a cadre of the movement. As much as we disagreed with his offer to resign as premier, we felt that it was important that we consider his decision and respect it,” Mtolo added.
Zikalala had met President Cyril Ramaphosa on the sidelines of the ANC national policy conference in Johannesburg last weekend to inform him of his decision to resign.
Last Sunday, Zikalala, who was booed by ANC members during the provincial conference, was heckled at the Premier’s Cup in Durban and had to be represented by MECs at several public events thereafter.
He resigned several days later.
Mtolo said there was “no acrimony” as a result of Zikalala’s resignation and that the outgoing premier would continue to work with the ANC as “we still have a lot of responsibilities that need his experience, as the leader to serve our people, and he has agreed to that”.
He said the ANC had chosen a woman as it considered it was time to do so.
“The ANC believes that having a woman premier will also ensure that we up the ante in dealing with the issues of service delivery. We want to improve public participation and accountability to our people. It is also very important that we strengthen local economies, thereby creating jobs to fight poverty and unemployment among the youth and women in the province,” Mtolo said.
Hlomuka declined to comment on speculation that a cabinet reshuffle was in the offing, saying that the only post vacant was that of finance MEC.
The ANC would leave the decision on who to deploy to the post to Dube-Nube, he said.
He said the PEC “would not deal with the executive” as the only post that needed to be filled was finance.
“We will allow the premier to apply her mind. By law, the premier is the one who will appoint the executive. Let’s allow that process,” Hlomuka said.
Mtolo said the process of handover would be “smooth” and that Dube-Ncube would be “implementing ANC policies to the T”.