New KZN premier makes sweeping changes

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Thami Ntuli. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/Independent Newspapers

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Thami Ntuli. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 19, 2024


Durban — The IFP’s Arthur Thamsanqa Ntuli is officially the new sheriff of the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government following his official swearing-in as premier in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday.

As expected, soon after his swearing-in, Ntuli announced sweeping changes to the provincial cabinet, retaining some old ANC MECs and introducing new ones from the IFP, the DA and the NFP in line with the Government of National Unity (GNU).

IFP stalwart and Member of Parliament (MP) Reverend Musa Keith Zondi is the new MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (Edtea), a position previously held by ANC provincial chairperson Siboniso Armstrong Duma, who now takes over the new augmented MEC for Transport and Human Settlements portfolio.

Reacting to his deployment, Zondi told the Daily News: “I am particularly chuffed that the premier deployed me to such an important portfolio. In the next five years, I will aim to change the lives of the poorest of the poor.”

The leader of government business added: “We will also work to uplift business people so that our economy is stable.”

The new provincial cabinet that will run KwaZulu-Natal is, back, from left: Public Works and Infrastructure MEC Marthinus Meyer, Finance MEC Francois Rodgers, Transport and Human Settlements MEC Siboniso Duma, Education MEC Sipho Hlomuka, Sports, Arts and Culture MEC Mntomuhle Khawula. Front row, from left: Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC Thulasizwe Buthelezi, Agriculture and Rural Development MEC Thembeni kaMadlopha-Mthethwa, Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane, Premier Thami Ntuli, Social Development MEC Mbali Shinga and Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Rev Musa Zondi. | DOCTOR NGCOBO Independent Newspapers

Reverend Thulasizwe Dominic Buthelezi takes over the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta).

His deployment comes a week after he abruptly resigned as mayor of the Zululand District Municipality last week, cementing speculation that he was eyeing an MEC position.

The previous MEC for Cogta, Bongi Sithole-Moloi, was dropped from the provincial cabinet by the new premier.

The deputy provincial chairperson of the ANC, Nomagugu Simelane, retained her position as the MEC for Health.

The NFP’s Mbali Cynthia Shinga was unveiled as the new MEC for Social Development, taking over from the ANC’s Nonhlanhla Khoza, who recently announced that she was exiting the government.

The Public Works and Infrastructure Department is now under the stewardship of the DA’s Lukas Marthinus Meyer.

Another long-time DA veteran leader, Francois Adrianus Rodgers, is the new MEC for Finance.

The Departments of Public Works and Infrastructure and Education were previously led as MECs by Sipho Nkosi and Mbali Frazer, respectively, but both failed to make the cut in the fresh provincial cabinet.

The new MEC for the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is Thembeni Petty kaMadlopha-Mthethwa (IFP), a department previously led by the ANC’s Super Zuma.

Contrary to the reports that he would be axed, former MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Siphosihle Emmanuel Hlomuka has made a comeback as the new MEC for the Department of Education.

Hlomuka, also the deputy secretary of the ANC in KZN, replaces Mbali Frazer.

The IFP’s Mntomuhle Khawula is tasked with spearheading the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, a department formerly led by the ANC provincial treasurer, Ntuthuko Mahlaba, who was dropped from the cabinet.

IFP provincial chairperson Thami Ntuli paraded with police after he was sworn in as KwaZulu-Natal premier on Tuesday in Pietermaritzburg. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo Independent Newspapers

The new premier, Ntuli, announced that the Community Safety and Liaison portfolio would be placed in his office in a bid to “adequately fight crime” that is plaguing the province.

Ntuli takes over from Nomusa Dube-Ncube, becoming the 10th premier of the coastal province since the 1994 first democratic elections.

Outside the Woodburn Rugby Stadium, a group of aggrieved uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MKP) supporters protested against the election of Ntuli as premier of KZN.

The MKP’s Kwazi Mbanjwa said they had approached the courts to have the election of Ntuli as premier nullified.

“We have evidence that the processes were flouted during his election as premier on Friday,” he said.

The Jacob Zuma-backed MKP bagged 37 seats in the provincial legislature, but is not part of the provincial government after the IFP-ANC-DA-NFP coalition bloc ganged up on it.

There were also a handful of amakhosi chanting traditional songs outside the marquee erected in the stadium.

Ntuli took the solemn oath at 11am before KZN Judge President Thoba Poyo-Dlwati.

This was followed by ululations and clapping from the guests who filled the marquee.

Delivering his inaugural address as premier, Ntuli said: “We will remain servants of our people. We will work to change the lives of the people of KwaZulu-Natal.”

Following the May 29 elections that failed to produce an outright majority winner in KZN, Ntuli said: “These election results have taught us that you (voters) are real bosses who called the shots.”

“Today, we enter a pivotal new period of rebuilding our province that will require all of us to have clear minds while displaying visionary and committed leadership,” said Ntuli.

He thanked the voters for voting for the IFP.

The IFP got 15 seats in the provincial legislature with 80 seats, while the ANC bagged 14 and the DA 11.

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