‘Now is the time to put the people of KZN first’

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Thami Ntuli. Picture: DOCTOR NGCOBO/Independent Newspapers

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Thami Ntuli. Picture: DOCTOR NGCOBO/Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 24, 2024


Durban — One of the biggest challenges for newly-elected KwaZulu-Natal Premier, the IFP’s Thami Ntuli, will be to manage the clash of personalities of those who make up his Cabinet.

Failure to do so would determine the success or failure of Ntuli’s administration, said Siyabonga Ntombela, a political analyst and lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Ntuli, who is also the IFP provincial chairperson, announced the members of executive council (MECs) last week, a mix of IFP, ANC, DA and NFP representatives.

Speaking at a press briefing, Ntuli said clashes that had occurred in the past were now behind them and their focus was on service delivery.

“I appreciate that we come from different political homes, and we campaigned with different manifestos. However, now is the time to put the people of KZN first. All of us are expected to serve diligently with honesty and dignity. We must never betray the people of our province who voted for us. There will be a process that ensures that we monitor and evaluate the performance of every member of the executive,” he told his MECs.

Ntombela said Ntuli’s task would be twofold: to manage his team of MECs and ensure service delivery.

“People need help, like yesterday, in terms of service delivery, and what the premier needs to do is lead a team that is focused on such,” he said.

The academic stressed the significance of the emergence of uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MKP) to the political landscape and how this had affected discussions and decision-making from the voters. Ntombela said the MKP was a very significant opposition party that was likely to capitalise if the provincial government of unity messed up.

“When you have a political party that has more than 40% of voter support sitting in the opposition benches and the government is made up by parties that could not match that party individually, it means as an alternative – which is what the IFP was in this case. It must deliver on the promises made or face the prospect of losing in future,” he said.

Ntombela said it was important for Ntuli to stamp his authority from the first Cabinet meeting to ensure that his executive functions properly.

KZN Council of Churches’ Bishop Zondi, who was part of the civil society group monitoring the elections, said the province was facing unfamiliar territory which would demand firm and committed leadership.

“The difficulty this time around is that unlike before, the government is not made up of people from the same organisation, and this could present a set of challenges for the team,” said Zondi.

Sunday Tribune