Durban — The IFP premier candidate in KwaZulu-Natal, Thami Ntuli, has vowed to prioritise service delivery if he becomes the premier.
In what appeared to be an attempt to dispel the ongoing rumours of tension between Ntuli and party president Velenkosini Hlabisa over the position, the party announced Ntuli as the premier candidate in the forthcoming elections.
The announcement came as parties were battling to control the province.
Hlabisa said he was the one who nominated Ntuli, adding that there was never any tension between them.
The nomination was made after the IFP’s national council and national executive committee met at the weekend.
In welcoming the appointment, Ntuli said he would only outline his plans and vision after the party’s manifesto launch at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on March 10.
But he said his number one priority – and that of the people of the province – was service delivery.
The party lost control of the province in 2004 and since then the ANC has been in charge. Sbu Ndebele was the first ANC premier to lead the province, followed by Zweli Mkhize in 2009 until 2013.
Senzo Mchunu took over in 2013 but he was succeeded by Willies Mchunu in 2016. Sihle Zikalala took over in 2019 and was replaced by current premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube in 2022.
But Hlabisa said on Monday that they were ready to take over the province from the ANC in the 2024 elections.
Hlabisa said the IFP’s campaign in KwaZulu-Natal was focused on restoring an honest and working government in the province.
“Our campaign is well under way, our structures have been mobilised and we have completed all the necessary processes.
“We are ready to receive the mandate of the electorate and give KZN the best possible candidate to run for premier. Ntuli is the most equipped, experienced and committed to the task of good governance,” said Hlabisa.
The elections should be a turning point for the people of KZN, he said. The party will also use this coming weekend’s voter registration to drum up support.
Hlabisa will visit the northern areas of Durban, which have been hit by water challenges. He will also move to the Ndwedwe areas in the north of the province.
On whether his party would form a coalition with the Umkhonto we Sizwe party, Hlabisa said since the MK party has not yet disclosed its policies and principles it would be difficult to say anything. But if the party’s principles and values were similar to those of the IFP he saw no reason why they would not work together.
An independent analyst, Thobani Zikalala, said Hlabisa and Ntuli should be credited for modernising the IFP since they were elected.
The IFP took a good decision to appoint Ntuli to the position since he was the provincial chairperson, he said.
Zikalala said Ntuli had experience of governance since he had been mayor and part of the SA Local Government Association.
“The decision will do good to diffuse the rumours of the two leaders. It is also good that Hlabisa will lead the party in national matters while Ntuli as the provincial chairperson will manage the province for the party,” said Zikalala.
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