KwaZulu-Natal's new Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu is congratulated by the newly sworn-in premier, Sihle Zikalala. File photo: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA).

Durban - While she has always been a political activist, newly appointed KZN MEC for health, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu says she never thought she would be in this position of power one day.

Simelane-Zulu, who came to power through the structures of the ANC youth league, was born and grew up in Dobsonville, Johannesburg and only came to KZN in 1996 to study at the then University of Natal. 

As an ANC member of the KZN provincial legislature, she represented the Dumbe area where she had a constituency office and her husband, Mxolisi Zulu, is from the area.

She joined the youth league at the age of 16 and she was once a branch leader before becoming the provincial treasurer of the league in KZN between 2003 and 2010. 

She says she feels honoured to be among the six women MECs packing Sihle Zikalala's new cabinet and says as women they should work hard in order to inspire more women.

"The responsibility of leading in a society like ours is a very serious responsibility. I think any woman, young woman give such responsibility must take it very seriously because we have to ensure that the young women coming behind are able to learn and are able to understand that the sky is the limit and there is no glass ceiling anymore. Of course, there are challenges as we live in a patriarchal society and that will always be there, but the struggle continues," she said.

She said while she has always been a loyal member of the party, she never thought she would be a MEC one day.

"No, it never crosses my mind that I will one day be a MEC, not. In fact, I am honoured to be given this responsibility," she responded when the question was asked.

Speaking to Independent Media shortly after she was announced as the new MEC replacing Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, she said she wants to turn around the department, saying it will "not be business as usual".

She says while there are challenges in the department, she will turn it around with the help of the ANC and her cabinet colleagues.

"Things are going to be different now, it will not be business as usual as will hit the ground running," Simelane-Zulu said.

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