File photo: Dr Meshack Radebe and President Jacob Zuma.

Durban - The ANC on Friday condemned workers who celebrated the removal of Meshack Radebe as KwaZulu-Natal agriculture MEC.

“The African National Congress in KwaZulu-Natal condemns in the strongest possible terms the celebrations held by workers affiliated to Nehawu at Cedara in Pietermaritzburg yesterday (Thursday) following the new deployment of Cde Meshack Radebe,” the party's provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said.

Radebe's appointment as deputy speaker of the provincial legislature was announced on Wednesday.

The celebrations at the Cedara agricultural college were uncalled for and “show the highest degree of immaturity”, Zikalala said.

“We call on workers and officials to distance themselves from issues of deployment and making irresponsible statements which might create unnecessary divisions within the department.”

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union's (Nehawu) provincial secretary Zola Sapetha said not all the workers were members of the union, but that they had every right to celebrate.

“The workers in general in the agriculture department were happy to hear Radebe was deployed given their relationship with him.”

Radebe “was the worst employer” who acted contrary to the aims of transformation and development.

He said the celebrations were not against the ANC, but against the system exploiting workers, and Radebe, as MEC, was an employer.

“He presented a challenge in the system.”

Sapetha said the union would challenge future MECs and that such challenges were neither political nor personal.

On Wednesday the Democratic Alliance's KwaZulu-Natal leader Sizwe Mchunu said they were concerned about Radebe's new post.

“What we are witnessing here is a trend whereby failed MECs from the ruling party come to the legislature to take up positions at the speaker's office. It cannot be good for this house.”

Inkatha Freedom Party leader Blessed Gwala said it illustrated the extent of the rot within the ruling party.

“When current speaker Lydia Johnson failed she was sent here. Mtholephi Mthimkhulu, also from the same department, came to the speaker's office. This is clearly a dumping site for the ruling party's failed individuals,” Gwala said on Wednesday.

Zikalala disagreed.

“The deployment to be Member of Parliament is the most important task assigned by the organisation to all ANC members.

“But a further deployment is an honour, hence we reject any insinuation that the speaker's office is a dumping area as opposition parties have suggested.” - Sapa