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Zikalala facing tough days ahead after failing to make ANC PEC - analysts

File Picture: KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala. Picture: Bongani Mbatha African News Agency (ANA

File Picture: KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala. Picture: Bongani Mbatha African News Agency (ANA

Published Jul 28, 2022


Durban - KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala’s defeat at the ANC KZN elective conference has reduced him to a lame duck leader of government who will have to get used to taking instructions from the new leadership, say some analysts.

Political analyst Professor Sipho Seepe said Zikalala’s situation had been made more difficult by his failure to make it as a member of the Provincial Executive Committee (PEC).

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Seepe believes Zikalala should resign to spare himself the humiliation of a possible recall by the new leadership.

Zikalala was defeated by new chairperson Siboniso Duma, and all members of his slate lost to “the Taliban” grouping.

For PEC votes, while another contender for the position of chairperson, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, got the second highest number of votes from the floor at 1 112, with Peggy Nkonyeni getting 1 215, Zikalala managed 629 votes which landed him at position 33 on the list. Along with Sports, Arts and Culture MEC Hlengiwe Mavimbela – who got 587 votes, which placed her at position 35 – he failed to make it to the top 30 list of additional members for the PEC. The development has prompted speculation that a cabinet reshuffle may be announced soon.

“If he was in the PEC, at least he would be part of the body that discusses issues and makes decisions. Under this new reality he will simply be doing as he is told, and that could be difficult for somebody who has been issuing instructions for years,” said Seepe.

He noted how other ANC leaders who had been defeated at conferences had been recalled.

“The best thing to do and for him to preserve his dignity would be to resign and let the new leadership take over,” Seepe said.

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Another political analyst, Dr Fikile Vilakazi of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, observed that the voting patterns at the conference reflected the delegates’ attitude towards Zikalala in giving him the least number of votes.

“This was a reflection of people who have grown tired of his leadership, maybe because of what they perceived as poor leadership and a lack of tangible deliverables on his part as premier.”

She noted how the episode of a water tanker that was delivered to his house when other communities did not have water, may have also left the impression of a selfish leader.

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“The ideal thing to do under the circumstances would be to leave quietly.”

However, ANC KZN secretary Bheki Mtolo cautioned against speculation, when asked about a possible reshuffling.

“First of all, in KwaZulu-Natal there is no cabinet. Such a structure only exists at national level,” said Mtolo, who indicated that he was attending the governing party’s policy conference.

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He also confirmed that the new leadership would sit for its inaugural PEC meeting next week.