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By Citizen Reporter

Journalist


New KZN ANC leadership tried to persuade Zikalala to stay on as premier until 2024

Zikalala claims there was a concerted campaign by some of his comrades to paint his leadership team as anti-Zuma.


The newly elected leadership of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal reportedly tried to persuade outgoing Premier Sihle Zikalala to remain in office until the 2024 general elections, but he declined the offer.

That’s according to the new ANC KZN chairperson Siboniso Duma, who told the Sunday Times the provincial party leadership was “hurt” by Zikalala’s decision to step down during the first meeting of the new provincial executive committee (PEC) on Thursday.

“We met him, he is one of our own, he is our senior comrade and we gave him an option to lead until 2024 because we know the good that has been achieved during his tenure.

“We wanted to back him as the newly elected leadership, but due to the circumstances he highlighted he concluded that it is better he resigns — we are hurt, but he pledged to work well with us, that gives us hope that the ANC will not suffer divisions,” said Duma was quoted as saying by the publication.

ALSO READ: Sihle Zikalala briefs media following his resignation

Zikalala officially announced his resignation as KZN premier on Friday, with the province now set to make history this week by installing its first women premier.

The ANC PEC nominated three women for the top post and sent their names to the governing party’s headquarters in Johannesburg, Luthuli House.

READ MORE: Race to replace ‘unpopular’ Zikalala: Three candidates vie for top position

The top contenders for the job are KZN Finance MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube and Members of the Provincial Legislature, Mbali Fraser and Amanda Bani.

Dube-Ncube is said to be the favourite for the job due to her seniority and experience in government.

Why Sihle Zikalala decided to quit 

Speaking to the Sunday Times, Zikalala denied any bad blood between him and the newly elected ANC KZN leadership.

He told the paper his decision to resign was not an act of spite, but he highlighted three issues he said forced him to resign.

These issues related to the alignment of the KZN government with the party, his lack of authority because he was not elected in any structure of the ANC in the province, and “mobilisation” against him by those who accused him of betraying former president Jacob Zuma. 

Zikalala claimed there was a concerted campaign by some of his comrades to paint his leadership team as anti-Zuma and pro-Cyril Ramaphosa.

He said the claims that he betrayed Zuma were lies and part of a “total misinformation” campaign because had had always supported the former president.

“In preparation and post-conference it was used to mobilise against us. I decided to assist the ANC. Instead of the party going about explaining to people that I did not betray Zuma because I am still premier and my face is there, I felt it necessary to exit,” Zikalala was quoted as saying.

KZN cabinet reshuffle looming

Meanwhile, Sunday Times also reported that rumours are rife in KZN that a cabinet reshuffle was imminent now that Zikalala has stepped down.

Duma told the paper Zikalala’s resignation meant changes would have to be made but he didn’t want to “set the cart before the horse and talk about reshuffles”.

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