Former KZN premier Zikalala touted to head transport portfolio

Former KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala. Picture: Supplied.

Former KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala. Picture: Supplied.

Published Feb 6, 2023


Former KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala is being touted to head the transport ministry in an expected Cabinet reshuffle in the next few weeks.

This as speculation grows about who President Cyril Ramaphosa will appoint to his Cabinet, especially since deputy president David Mabuza announced his resignation on Saturday.

However, the Presidency said yesterday that Ramaphosa had not accepted the resignation and had asked Mabuza to remain in the position.

Zikalala, who lost the position of ANC provincial chairperson at the party’s elective conference last year, resigned as premier and was replaced by Nomusa Dube-Ncube, but was then appointed provincial Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC.

He has since resigned from this post and yesterday the ANC issued a statement saying Zikalala, ANC deputy president Paul Mashatile, ANC second deputy secretary-general Maropene Ramokgopa and former Gauteng mayor Parks Tau would take their oaths of office as new MPs in the Speaker’s office today.

The statement issued by the office of ANC Chief Whip Pemmy Majodina reads: “The ANC caucus congratulates the four members and looks forward to benefiting from their tremendous skills, talents and experience.”

Four ANC MPs have resigned recently, Tshilidzi Munyai, Mervyn Dirks, Masefako Dikgale and Matshidiso Mfikoe. A senior ANC source said while the people expected to be announced to Ramaphosa’s Cabinet were remaining tight-lipped, discussions were revolving around Zikalala being appointed to take over the transport portfolio from Fikile Mbalula who has to relinquish the position after being appointed ANC secretary-general.

“There was talk that he would take over the department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) from Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma but there are suggestions that NDZ will remain in that position.”

There is speculation that Tau will replace Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu. Dlamini Zuma and Sisulu were outspoken critics of Ramaphosa’s handling of the Phala Phala matter.

With Ramaphosa expected to deliver his State of the Nation Address on Thursday, he has requested Mabuza to remain in his position until such time as the transition has been finalised.

Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Vincent Magwenya confirmed Mabuza’s desire to resign from his position. This follows the outcome of the party’s elective conference in December in which Mashatile was elected the ANC deputy president.

Mabuza announced his resignation on Saturday at his brother’s burial service in Mpumalanga.

Political analyst Professor Sipho Seepe said the ANC always placed former premiers in ministerial positions.

“It makes sense if Zikalala is made a minister… Former Gauteng premier David Makhura is also being touted for a ministerial position. Parks has been in the economic space for a long time and it is not outlandish if he finds himself heading the tourism portfolio.”

Seepe said Tau had been mayor of a major economic hub, Joburg, and understands the modern economy.

“Zikalala has also had experience as a leader of provincial government business and the economy and so the tourism or transport portfolios will be a good fit for him,” said Seepe.

Another political analyst Professor Bheki Mngomezulu said it was unprecedented for Mabuza to have announced his own resignation.

“Ordinarily we would have expected him to have handed his resignation to the president and the president can then accept, work out the logistical arrangements and then convene a press briefing where he can inform the nation that his second in command has exited the stage, and all the other processes would follow.”

Mngomezulu said the ANC rejuvenation did not mean dismantling the party. “Some people say the president has sufficient support in the NEC (national executive committee) and the NWC (national working committee) but you cannot talk about rejuvenation on one hand and on the other you dismantle the party. He must make sure that all the factions are brought together, all those who hold different views are made to see the bigger picture which is the future of the ANC as a governing party.

“These personal differences should not be given space because the moment you do that you are undoing the job of rebuilding the party.”

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