Outbound KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Prime Minister Sile Zikalala says he is happy to be stepping down from local government without “any charges”.
Zikalala held a media briefing on Friday following his request to the African National Congress (ANC) to be relieved of his post, which was accepted by the ruling party.
The premier’s resignation follows his defeat at the 9th ANC KZN provincial conference in July, which saw him lose the party’s provincial chairmanship to Sibanisa Duma.
During the briefing, Zikalala said he accepted that the new ANC leadership could take a different direction, hence his decision to resign.
“When personnel becomes the focus of anything that does not advance the revolution, that member must make a conscious self-assessment as to whether he or she is still helping the organization to carry out its program.
“Considering this and having consulted accordingly, I did [decided] resign as Premier of KwaZulu-Natal Province.
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“I made this decision consciously and quickly so that there would be no doubts about the strategic direction of the movement and the government,” said the Prime Minister.
Zikalala noted that he made the decision to resign from the post of prime minister without any pressure.
“I made the decision to resign not because I was pushed by the new leadership, but simply because of the narratives being spread against me.
“My revolutionary teaching was that revolutionary duty is fulfilled not by satisfying personal desires, but by serving the organization and the masses it controls.
“I am happy that I am leaving the government without any charges. And I hope that as cadres we will preserve a clean government that is focused on the emancipation of people,” he said later at a briefing.
Zikalala said he believes he is leaving the KZN government in a better position than it was in 2019.
“When we started this term, only two departments had clean inspections. Today, as we leave, the Prime Minister’s office has passed its first ever clean audit. In addition, six other departments received a clean chit.
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“We have equally improved the overall financial performance of the departments. This is a record number of clean inspections to be carried out by provincial departments,” he said.
He also praised the efforts of the provincial government in the fight against corruption.
“Despite the bureaucracy that exists in government institutions, we have laid a solid foundation for fighting and eliminating corruption. We responded promptly to reports of corruption even in the Prime Minister’s office, resulting in the removal of officials and ongoing criminal cases.”
Zikalala went on to criticize those who accused the ANC KZN leadership of betraying former president Jacob Zuma.
Zuma is currently on parole after being jailed for contempt of court last year.
“I want to make it clear that I supported President Zuma from June 14, 2005 to date. I supported him as a leader and a man who sacrificed his life for the liberation of South Africa.
“My support was never personal, but always organizational. I never tried to get a position through association with him. Equally, I have never badmouthed others because they did not support him,” he said.
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“This deceptive narrative further incriminates me, in particular, by suggesting that I sided with President Ramaphosa.
“It is the tradition of the ANC that dictates that members must always accept and work with the elected leadership, regardless of whether they supported the election of that leadership or not,” Zikalala added.
Meanwhile, KZN could get its first female premier after the PEC nominated provincial MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube as its preferred candidate for the post, media reports said.