Zuma storm likely to be unleashed on provinces

20 December 2012 - 02:06 By Thando Mgaga and ZINE GEORGE
BUBBLY: President Jacob Zuma walks through the Progressive Business Forum tent at the ANC national conference yesterday
BUBBLY: President Jacob Zuma walks through the Progressive Business Forum tent at the ANC national conference yesterday

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma's re-election as leader of the ANC is already having ripple effects in provinces, with the removal of premiers being predicted.

Delegates from the North West and Eastern Cape want their premiers removed and a debate has started in KwaZulu-Natal about Zweli Mkhize's successor now that he is the party's treasurer-general.

In Gauteng, however, premier Nomvula Mokonyane, who lobbied for Zuma, is understood to be hard at work to oust provincial party chairman Paul Mashatile next year.

Eastern Cape secretary Oscar Mabuyane said yesterday there was a strong move to eliminate the "two centres of power" in the province. They, as a province, were appealing to the "national [body] at least for that centre to hold".

Eastern Cape chairman Phumullo Masualle declined national executive committee nomination and it is understood that the province wants him to take over from premier Noxolo Kiviet.

"It's an unhealthy situation. I'm saying it is unhealthy because [Kiviet] might be working well with the provincial executive committee but, honestly speaking, there are others [MECs] who think they are untouchable."

The province resolved to replace Kiviet with Masualle as far back as 2009 when it held its sixth provincial conference.

Kiviet declined to comment, saying: "I am deployed by the ANC and therefore it is the ANC that comments on that."

In KwaZulu-Natal, Mkhize's elevation to the top six has opened the door for provincial executive committee member and education MEC Senzo Mchunu to become premier.

The treasurer-general position is a full-time post, like the secretary-general and chairman, based at the party's Luthuli House headquarters in Johannesburg.

KwaZulu-Natal secretary Sihle Zikalala downplayed the contest for Mkhize's replacement, rubbishing speculation about a successor.

Zikalala said it was critical there was a smooth transition for the party's chairmanship in the province.

"Zweli is still the chair of the ANC and the premier . If the need arises, the ANC will consider that, but so far there is no need."

He said there was a proposal to amend the constitution for members who serve on the national executive committee not to hold positions in lower structures.

"If that goes through we will have to find a way of dealing with it," said Zikalala.

The ANC in the province was stable and "we are not really stressed about who is going to be the chair", he said.

The North West ANC appears set to approach Luthuli House to remove premier Thandi Modise.

A senior leader in North West, who commented on condition of anonymity, said Modise had failed to unite the province while she was serving as deputy secretary-general of the party.