News / South Africa / Government

Makhosandile Zulu
3 minute read
28 May 2019
4:47 pm

Zikalala defends appointment of ‘inexperienced’ MECs in KZN cabinet

Makhosandile Zulu

The KZN premier says he is confident in the capabilities of his cabinet.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)

KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Premier Sihle Zikalala on Tuesday defended his appointment of some of the provincial members of the executive council (MECs), in particular, those who opposition parties in the province had taken issue with due to their inexperience.

The Inkatha Freedom Party had questioned whether the appointments in the education and health portfolios, namely Kwazi Mshengu and Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu, respectively, were “wise” – adding that Mshengu had no experience in the field.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) raised questions around Simelane-Zulu’s appointment, considering she has no experience in this area.

Zikalala said he concurred that there were tasks that required experience.

“But comrade Mshengu, while he may appear young and having not served directly as a MEC, has been to government as an employee, he is one of those who are coming from senior managers of the government,” Zikalala said, adding that this empowered Mshengu with adequate experience and an understanding on how “to run government”.

Zikalala further said Mshengu understood the “priorities” of the African National Congress (ANC), saying he believed the newly appointed MEC for education would do well in the portfolio and in “any other deployment”.

“He is very capable, he is always willing to learn and that is what makes people succeed,” Zikalala said.

Mshengu is a 34-year-old KZN ANC Youth League chair who holds a master’s in law from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and has served as the head of ministry in the economic development and tourism department.

Zikalala said it was a perception held by some that a MEC for health should have experience as a health professional.

“For me that is additional, it is just that you’ve got more than you need. But in that space, you need someone that is going to be … a driver of the policy implementation, ensure that all policies are [detailed] into plans and plans that are implementable.

“Key focus is to ensure that medical practitioners are trained, provided with support, all necessary support, but ensure that our medical facilities, health facilities are in very conducive environment because in most cases you find that there is a decline in the facilities, in our facilities, whether you talk of hospitals or clinics.

“The maintenance is declining, the administration, and there is a lack of proactiveness, so those are things that we must address, and ensure that the management is tightened while doctors work and provide medical support while nurses work to provide the nursing support, which is not the real … task of the MEC,” Zikalala said.

Cde Sihle Zikalala engages us following his Inauguration and the selection of his cabinet.

Posted by ANC KwaZulu-Natal on Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Zikalala announced on Tuesday that the KZN MEC for arts and culture, Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi, would move to agriculture and rural development and her position has been taken up by Hlengiwe Mavimbela.

Zikalala’s post as MEC for economic development, tourism and environmental affairs will be taken up by former KZN MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) Nomusa Dube-Ncube.

Simelane-Zulu, the spokesperson of the ANC in the province, will take over from Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo as the MEC for health.

KZN ANC Women’s League chair Nonhlanhla Khoza and Peggy Nkonyeni were announced as the MECs for social development and public works respectively.

Sipho Hlomuka was named for MEC for Cogta and Mxolisi Kaunda remains the MEC for transport, community safety and liaison.

Ravi Pillay was announced as the MEC for provincial treasury.

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