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Zikalala clarifies nature of his support for Zuma and Ramaphosa as he bows out

KwaZulu-Natal outgoing Premier Sihle Zikalala addressing media in Durban. Supplied Picture

KwaZulu-Natal outgoing Premier Sihle Zikalala addressing media in Durban. Supplied Picture

Published Aug 5, 2022

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Durban – Outgoing KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala used his final speech to reaffirm his support for former president Jacob Zuma, dispelling the notion that he had forsaken him for President Cyril Ramaphosa.

In a long exit speech made by Zikalala on Friday, he reflected on his nearly three year tenure at the helm of the province, highlighting some achievements.

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He saw the opportunity fit for him to “clear the air” on his support for Zuma.

OUTGOING KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala addresses media in Durban. l SUPPLIED

Zikalala’s resignation came as no surprise following his defeat at the ANC’s elective conference held recently.

He had hoped that he would be re-elected as the chairperson of ANC in the province. However, he lost to incumbent leader Siboniso Duma.

His loss to the conference marked the end of his era, given that he also failed to make a cut in the provincial executive committee (PEC) – a decision-making committee of the ANC in the province.

Zikalala said he felt that he should clarify some rumours about his association with Zuma and Ramaphosa.

“At a political level, there are those who have accused us of betraying former president Jacob Zuma. I wish to make it clear that I have supported president Zuma (Sic) from 14 June 2005 until today.

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“I supported him as a leader and someone who sacrificed his life for South Africa to be liberated. My support has never been personal but always organisational.

“At no point have I ever tried to get a position through being associated with him. Equally, I have never badmouthed others, because they didn’t support him,” he said.

In the same breath, Zikalala also dispelled the notion that he was aligned to Ramaphosa.

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“This deceptive narrative further accuses me, in particular, by suggesting that I have aligned myself with President Ramaphosa.

“It is the tradition of the ANC that dictates that members must always accept and work with the elected leadership, whether they have supported the election of that leadership or not,” he added.

In reflecting on his reign as premier, Zikalala highlighted the clean audit and various programmes he administered during his term.

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He said when his cabinet started this term after the 2019 elections, the province had recorded about R12.4 billion of irregular expenditure in 2018/2019, but he managed to reduce it to R6.8bn.

“Today as we depart, the Premier’s Office has attained its first clean audit in history. In addition, six other departments received clean audits. We have equally improved the overall financial performance of departments.

“This is a record number of clean audits to be achieved by provincial departments. We have rolled out radical socio-economic transformation interventions such as Operation Vula and a black industrialist programme.

“Through these interventions, many small enterprises continue to benefit from government financial and non-financial support. We intensified the support to ensure that blacks are integrated into manufacturing, which is a anchor of economy's growth and sustainable business trajectory.

“For the first time in the history of this province, we established the KZN Youth Business Fund dedicated to supporting young entrepreneurs. This funding has assisted many young people across the province, and some are now penetrating the formal economy,” he said.

The ANC has announced three names, all women, as contenders for the next premier in KwaZulu-Natal.

In accepting Zikalala’s resignation, the party said Nomusa Dube-Ncube, Amanda Bani and Mbali Fraiser would be interviewed on Saturday for the position of next premier in the province.

Zikalala said he would remain a member of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature.

SUNDAY TRIBUNE

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