MK Party likely to nominate deputy PM Inkosi Chiliza as KZN premier candidate

Leader with close ties to the Zulu Royal House will go up against IFP provincial chairperson Thami Ntuli

14 June 2024 - 09:17
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Deputy prime minister of the Zulu Royal House Inkosi Phathisizwe Chiliza. File photo.
Deputy prime minister of the Zulu Royal House Inkosi Phathisizwe Chiliza. File photo.
Image: Lwandile Bhengu

Deputy prime minister of the Zulu Royal House Inkosi Phathisizwe Chiliza has been touted as the MK Party's (MKP) candidate for KwaZulu-Natal premier. 

Three insiders close to former president Jacob Zuma's inner circle said the MKP was confident it would emerge as the new government in the province despite the announcement by the IFP that it would form a government with the ANC, DA and NFP in KwaZulu-Natal.

Chiliza was previously a member of the ANC but it emerged he had defected to the MKP when the Electoral Commission of South Africa released party lists of candidates in the legislatures and parliament.

The MKP leader with close ties to the royal house will go up against IFP provincial chairperson Thami Ntuli. The ANC, IFP, NFP and DA have 41 seats between them while the MKP, with 37 seats in the legislature, will rely on the EFF's two seats in a contest for control of the government. 

Until Thursday, the MKP maintained that it would not attend the first sittings in national and provincial governments.

However, after suffering heavy losses in the courts, including in the Constitutional Court to interdict the first sitting of parliament and have the recent elections declared unlawful, the party announced it would attend legislature sittings in provinces where it won seats. 

“Our commitment to challenging election rigging and fraud remains firm. The MKP is unwavering in its pursuit to ensure every vote reflects the true will of the people. We continue to reject the 'hasty' declaration of the May 29 2024 election results, advocating for a fair and just process that respects the democratic rights of all citizens,” said its spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndhlela.

One insider said the MKP had no intentions of attending the first sitting of parliament on Friday, the same day as the KwaZulu-Natal legislature sitting. 

A leader whose party was part of the government of national unity (GNU) talks said there were fears the MKP would exert influence on the ANC's 14 MPLs and convince some to vote with it. 

Should the MKP nominate Chiliza, the election will automatically be turned to a secret ballot. 

EFF leader Julius Malema held a media briefing on Thursday night and announced he would support the MKP in KwaZulu-Natal. 

He said the EFF was of the firm conviction the MKP should be given the opportunity to lead the government in KwaZulu-Natal. 

“The EFF will support all processes to constitute the legislature led and guided by the MKP as the political party that received the highest number of votes in the province,” he said.

The EFF leader had met with ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday to discuss the GNU. 

Malema told journalists the EFF had called for the ANC to support its candidates for National Assembly speaker and/or deputy speaker. 

The EFF and other opposition parties including the ATM, Al Jama-Ah, PAC, UAT and UDM met on Thursday night and resolved to ask for a meeting with Ramaphosa. 

In a letter addressed to ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula, the parties said they had been politically excluded from meaningful and comprehensive GNU discussions.

Calling themselves the Progressive Caucus, the parties said engagements held so far had been meaningless and fragmented, with bilateral meetings between the ANC and individual members of the caucus not yielding substantive outcomes.

“During its meeting tonight, the Progressive Caucus discussed the formation of the GNU and its current status. We have a right to form an integral part of the discussions that will ultimately lead to a GNU which will ensure the creation of an effective parliament that can discharge its constitutional mandate to hold the executive to account, ensuring a government that acts in service of the people.

“A collective meeting should take place in an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect, and in a non-zero-sum and integrative manner to ensure the goals and aspirations of all South Africans are significantly enhanced.

“We hereby request an urgent meeting with the ANC at 8am of June 14 2024, preferably at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, to discuss the formation of the GNU,” the letter stated. 

Reports emerged on Thursday that factions within the MKP were fighting over the list for the KwaZulu-Natal legislature.

This could pose a problem for the new political party when it goes up against the GNU pact on Friday.


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