File picture: Supplied

Durban - ANC veteran and long-serving regional chairperson Bhekuyise Ntuli has been elevated to the KwaZulu-Natal cabinet.

Judge Thoba Poyo-Dlwathi swore in Ntuli at the Premier's Office in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday as the new Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC. He replaces Mxolisi Kaunda who is now the new mayor of eThekwini Municipality. 

Soon after taking the oath of office, Ntuli told the media that he would deal with challenges facing the province through negotiations. He said he would work on bringing peace in the province. 

"My work will be centred around peace and stability as in my organisation (ANC) I have been responsible for peace and stability.

"I believe in negotiations as I come from the background of the trade union movement," said Ntuli.

Premier Sihle Zikalala said he chose to deploy Ntuli to the position because of his background as he had been chairperson of the departments' portfolio committee for three terms. He has also been the chairperson of ANC's Musa Dladla Region for 15 years.

"When we appoint in the ANC, we are guarded by the principle of deployment.

"Principle number one is an issue of track record and the seniority of a comrade. We consider the issue of knowledge, talent and skills including academic qualifications," said Zikalala. 

Zikalala said therefore "the most appropriate and fitting person would be comrade Bhekuyise Ntuli".

"Having served in the underground structures (of the ANC) before even the liberation, and having worked in the very same space of community safety even post liberation, even outside being in government but also when he became the MPL," said Zikalala. 

However, Zikalala said Ntuli was taking over from successful predecessors. 

In 1994 to 1999 Bheki Cele became the MEC while he was he was still a chairperson of the portfolio committee. If you deal with (former) MEC Willies Mchunu he dealt with issues of negotiations and even bringing organisations that started working on illegal activities, he was the one person who transformed those organisations but also ensured that in the taxi industry there were negotiations and he addressed issues through engagement.

"Under Comrade Kaunda when there was a crisis he would be the first to be there," said Zikalala.

Political Bureau