Durban - KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has gone about his official business despite speculation about his future at the helm of the provincial government following the results at the ANC KZN elective conference.
Zikalala was defeated by Siboniso Duma in the contest for ANC KZN chairperson on Saturday, prompting speculation his days as premier were numbered.
On Monday, Zikalala joined the family of Deputy Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga in a memorial service for her late son Khulekani Xaba, his wife and four children, which was held at the Cruise Terminal in Durban.
Xaba, who was also a Transnet employee, died in a road crash with his wife, Zinhle, and their four children on the N11 last week in KZN.
In his address, Zikalala offered words of comfort to the Xaba and Chikunga families on their loss.
“No words can express our pain at your loss, not just one member of the family but six on this now notorious stretch of the N11. It was former premier S'bu Ndebele who said while the living are meant to close the eyes of the dead, it is actually the dead who open the eyes of the living,” said the premier.
He added that the provincial government must, along with the national government, embark on a serious and urgent campaign to make the N11 safer through a number of interventions.
“Indeed, the eyes of the living should be opened by those who have sadly suffered this tragedy, but we must not only mourn but actively do something so that no more people are killed on our roads on the N11 or any other,” said Zikalala.
Some ANC members, political pundits and analysts have predicted that Zikalala may not see the end of the year at the helm of government following his defeat at the conference, with some suggesting that he may be deployed to the National Assembly in Cape Town.
The premier is expected to meet members of the executive council (MECs) on Wednesday as part of the weekly cabinet engagement.