A KwaZulu-Natal cabinet reshuffle is looming after Premier Sihle Zikalala’s lost his grip on power during the ANC provincial conference which closed on Sunday.
The conference saw Zikalala being replaced as ANC KZN provincial chairperson by ANC KZN Legislature MPL, Siboniso Duma.
Members of Zikalala’s cabinet who failed to make it into the ANC top five leadership structure include education MEC, Kwazi Mshengu and Finance MEC, Nomusa Dube-Ncube.
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Out of the new top five leaders who were elected at the conference, only two: Health MEC, Nomagugu Simelane — who was elected ANC provincial deputy chairperson and Co-operative Governace and Traditional Affairs MEC, Sipho Hlomuka, who retained his ANC deputy secretary position, are part of Zikalala’s ten-member cabinet.
While Duma assured the media that there was no cabinet reshuffle on the horizon, key members of the Taliban — the ANC faction that propelled the new leadership to power, told The Witness that a cabinet reshuffle was inevitable.
“If anyone is under any illusion about these new members of the ANC provincial top five leadership structure, then they are making a big mistake. You certainly can’t expect the new provincial leader, Duma, to continue being a backbencher at the legislature.
“Our position is that he should immediately be made the leader of government business at the KZN Legislature. And, the only way that can happen is if he is appointed as an MEC,” the Taliban member said.
The position of leader of government business is currently held by Dube-Ncube — who was voted out of the ANC top five leadership structure at the conference Political analyst, Zakhele Ndlovu, said it was unlikely that Duma will keep his promise that there would be no cabinet reshuffle.
Ndlovu said a provincial cabinet reshuffle is likely to be on the cards soon.
I think we are going to see some MEC’s being recalled to make room for the new leadership,.
In 2016, a year after the ANC provincial conference, then KZN Premier Senzo Mchunu along with four MEC’s in his cabinet were recalled by the ANC’s newly elected provincial executive committee (PEC) led by Zikalala.
Mchunu and his cabinet were replaced by then PEC chairperson, Zikalala and four other members who were supportive of Zikalala’s campaign.
The Taliban is perceived as part of ANC factions supporting former president Jacob Zuma and former health minister, Zweli Mkhize.
Mkhize supporters, who want him to contest one of the ANC national top five positions in the upcoming ANC national conference, are of the view that he was forced to resign from Ramaphosa’s cabinet.
On the other hand, Zuma supporters have blamed Ramaphosa and the ANC national leadership for Zuma’s legal woes. On a national front, Ndlovu said the win by the ANC Taliban faction spelled danger for Ramaphosa’s ambitions to get a second term at the upcoming ANC national conference scheduled for December.
Ndlovu said the rise of the Taliban in KZN could favour Mkhize, particularly if the former health minister decided to challenge Ramaphosa at the ANC national conference.
“This has given a boost to Zweli Mkhize’s [presidential] candidacy,” said Ndlovu.
“He [Mkhize] needed this kind of support from his home province now it is a matter of convincing other provinces to support him.”