The alleged firing of KwaZulu-Natal premier Senzo Mchunu is “a bad move”, Democratic Alliance provincial leader Zwakele Mncwango said on Sunday.
Mncwango told ANA he was shocked when he was told by “highly placed sources” this week that Mchunu had indeed been given an ultimatum to resign by Monday or be given the boot.
The African National Congress has dismissed the rumours of Mchunu’s alleged axing or that an ultimatum has been given to him to resign by Monday.
“I believe the allegations [that he will be axed] are true. Senzo Mchunu has never been accused of anything – not even of stealing a pen – yet the ANC wants to remove him. But they are happy to have a president in office [Jacob Zuma] who is facing 783 charges of corruption,” Mncwango said.
While Mchunu may be facing his axing on Monday, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will on the same day respond to a court ruling made last month that the NPA’s dropping of the 783 charges against Zuma in 2009 was “irrational”.
Mncwango said that the move to get rid of Mchunu was a result of “narrow, internal party politics”, and the subsequent provincial cabinet reshuffle alleged to take place with Mchunu’s axing was a simple way of purging the premier’s supporters.
While there were MECs who needed to be replaced, this should be done on merit not for political interests.
“When I had mentioned rumours and allegations about the premier being recalled previously, the African National Congress came out guns blazing. Sihle Zikalala [ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairman] said that I was a liar and was looking for political gain,” Mncwango said.
Firing Mchunu was “clearly a way of protecting those in the province who are corrupt”. Mchunu had a policy of fighting corruption that was well known, he said, adding that the DA had proof that Mchunu was indeed cleaning house of corrupt officials.
Mchunu was the only ANC politician bold enough to face the ANC provincial executive committee when it came to releasing the Manase Report – a detailed forensic investigation done in 2012 that concluded there was prima facie evidence of massive collusion, fraud, and corruption at eThekwini municipality.
Since being deployed as premier in August 2013, Mchunu has tasked the KwaZulu-Natal treasury’s integrity unit with leading the charge against graft. In that time criminal cases have been brought against almost 750 public servants for the 2012/2013 financial year. For the same time, over 500 civil servants were convicted and sentenced for various cases of fraud and corruption.
Mchunu has said that in the first quarter of 2014, 274 public servants were subjected to disciplinary hearings for grant-related fraud and 78 for fraud and theft.
During his state-of-the-province address in February this year, he announced that the asset forfeiture unit recovered nearly R500 million during 2014. Since 2015 an additional R100 million had been recovered.