The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in KwaZulu-Natal on Tuesday welcomed the announcement of a new provincial cabinet by just-appointed premier Sihle Zikalala, but said it was concerned about the selection of unqualified people as members of the executive council (MECs) and what it called the recycling of disreputable characters.
Zikalala on Monday announced a 10-member provincial cabinet including provincial treasurer Ravi Pillay, Kwazi Mshengu as education MEC, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu for health, Sipho Hlomuka as MEC for co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta), and Peggy Nkonyeni to head public works, while Nomsa Dube-Ncube was moved to economic development, tourism and environmental affairs and Mxolisi Kaunda retained his post as MEC for transport, community safety and liaison.
Velenkosini Hlabisa, who leads the IFP in its role as the official opposition in KZN, said the party was concerned about the appointment of some unfit and unqualified individuals into critical departments, saying Mshengu, for example, was not equal to the deep challenges facing the education department.
“Again, the appointment of Ms Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu into the health department is a big challenge,” Hlabisa said. “The health department is a critical department servicing many people and experiencing so many challenges. Ms Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu will not have command and authority in the medical field.”
Hlabisa said Zikalala had compromised these two departments through the appointments and also expressed concern over Hlomuka’s appointment to COGTA.
“We appreciate and support the key role to be played by young people in the cabinet but the interest of the people of KZN should not be compromised with people lacking relevant experience and expertise,” Hlabisa said.
“Again the recycling of compromised Mrs Peggy Nkonyeni into the human settlements department is a big mistake. [It] is a fatal compromise that undermines the integrity of Premier Zikalala’s stated commitment that he made last week during the swearing of new members where he promised to fight corruption and help improve education and health.”
In 2015, the National Prosecuting Authority withdrew criminal charges against Nkonyeni and her co-accused in a R144 million corruption and racketeering trial.
– African News Agency