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Clive Ndou
Politics editor
3 minute read
23 Apr 2022
06:00

ANC backs KZN Premier Zikalala in water tanker saga

Clive Ndou

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has vowed to crash any attempts by opposition parties to get Premier Sihle Zikalala removed through a vote of no confidence over the water tanker saga.

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has vowed to crash any attempts by opposition parties to get Premier Sihle Zikalala removed through a vote of no confidence over the water tanker saga.

With the IFP’s position that Zikalala is an “arrogant” premier and the DA claiming that the premier has committed a number of blunders since his election in 2019, the tabling a motion of no confidence against Zikalala has always been on the agenda of opposition parties.

Zikalala was embroiled in a dispute with his neighbours in La Mercy in Durban over water that was delivered directly to his house instead of the nearby hall, where the rest of the residents queued for water following water outages in the area.

The opposition parties saw the incident as an opportunity to take aim at Zikalala.

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The DA, which is the third largest political party in the KZN Legislature, has already called on Zikalala to “step aside” to allow an independent investigation to probe the water tanker matter.

On the other hand, the EFF described the water tanker incident as proof that the provision of water to residents affected by floods was being “privatised”.

The EFF has since the November municipal elections — together with the DA and IFP — been voting against ANC mayoral candidates in the province’s hung municipalities.

With the ANC in the provincial legislature likely to use its majority to block calls for any investigation against Zikalala, lobbying within opposition parties to have a vote of no confidence against Zikalala is currently underway.

According to sources within the DA, IFP and EFF, the motion of no confidence against Zikalala could be tabled at any moment.

“We know that some might view the motion as an opportunist move with little prospects of success,” said a source within the opposition.

The source added: 

“The fact is that anything is quite possible given the political climate in KZN. Even though as the opposition we don’t have enough numbers, there is a real possibility that disgruntled ANC MPLs could support the motion.”

However, ANC provincial spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela poured cold water on the opposition’s attempts.

“They have the right to call for a debate, such a motion will be easily defeated,” he said.

The DA brought the water tanker matter up for discussion during the provincial legislature’s special sitting on Wednesday.

This was after some members of the La Mercy Ratepayers and Civic Association have accused Zikalala of enjoying special treatment in the provision of water to the area.

However, in what could weaken the opposition’s case against Zikalala, the association has since made a U-turn.

According to the association’s leadership, which held a meeting with Zikalala shortly after the accusations against him went viral on social media, the premier did nothing wrong.

“Following the deliberations, the La Mercy Ratepayer Association in the spirit of reconciliation apologised to the premier regarding the incident which arose out of miscommunication,” the association said in a joint statement with Zikalala’s office.

During Wednesday’s sitting, the premier told MPLs that he organised the tanker for the La Mercy residents after they had gone without water due to the recent floods.

While admitting that the tanker did supply water directly to his home, Zikalala denied having issued any instruction for the tanker to take water directly to his home. “I was not at home when the tanker arrived,” he said.