Sihle Zikalala, the premier of KwaZulu-Natal, is the subject of increasing rumors about his future and potential resignation, and insiders in the local ANC claim that if he does so, it will open the door for a restructuring of the provincial cabinet.
Before an announcement can be made, there are extensive consultations taking on. On Thursday, the party’s Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) is anticipated to convene for the first time since Siboniso Duma was chosen as chairwoman at the provincial elective conference.
Sources claim that while Zikalala has not been forced out of office, he was anticipated to leave out of a sense of principle because there are concerns over two centers of power, even if it is unclear whether negotiations will focus on the topic of a reshuffle, however, provincial authorities do not want a recurrence of the 2016 power transition, in which Senzo Mchunu, the then-premier, resigned after being requested to do so.
Community Safety, and Liaison Peggy Nkonyeni, it seems that Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane is the front-runner. The “Taliban” grouping, whose influence helped Duma and the new province leadership win the elective conference last month, prefers Simelane, who was chosen as the ANC’s deputy provincial chairperson at the recent conference. Dr. Ntuthuko Mahlaba, the provincial treasurer, would therefore be eligible to become the MEC for health as a result. Nkonyeni and Dube-Ncube are anticipated to keep their roles in the provincial government.
Duma is rumored to lead the Department of Transportation or the portfolio of Economic Development, Tourism, and Environmental Affairs (Edtea). The Department of Sport and Recreation might then be led by Edtea MEC Ravi Pillay, it has been claimed. Nhlakanipho Ntombela, the ANC representative for the region, would only confirm that the PEC will meet on Thursday.
A cabinet reshuffle, according to provincial secretary Bheki Mtolo, was not on the plan. The eThekwini regional executive committee’s spokeswoman, Mondli Mkhize, stated that the PEC would make news on a provincial government overhaul. Nevertheless, he insisted that whatever choices were made, it was crucial to maintain political stability and ensure that the quality of service delivery was not compromised.
In light of the desire for a female-led government, political analyst Dr. Fikile Vilakazi of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) said it made sense that the names of Nkonyeni, Dube-Ncube, and Simelane were being tossed around for interim premier. “Dube-Ncube certainly has the necessary skills for leadership. She holds a master’s degree in Public Administration and is currently pursuing a PhD at UKZN,” Vilakazi said.
Vilakazi claimed that Duma’s decision to oversee a portfolio before becoming the province’s premier is a strategic move. “If it is the Transport Department then that is a troubled portfolio that needs to be sorted out … especially roads and infrastructure. This portfolio is crucial to boosting the economy in KZN. If he can show that he can handle the portfolio well, then this will be considered a show of strength ahead of the party’s December elective conference.”
Professor Bheki Mngomezulu, a political and academic analyst, stated that although the party’s Constitution gave the PEC the authority to make such changes, he does not anticipate significant changes to the provincial government.