KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu will resign on Monday following strong pressure in the past week for him to step down.
A source within the premier’s support base, the SACP, told The Mercury that Mchunu would definitely resign on Monday.
“We have lost the fight. He will submit his resignation today,” the source said.
A staff member in President Jacob Zuma’s office said Mchunu’s recall was meant to accommodate more members of the ANC provincial executive committee into the provincial cabinet.
“Right now there are lots of MECs who are not provincial executive committee members. This creates two centres of power which makes it hard for the government to function. The PEC’s decisions are not implemented,” said the source.
However, it’s believed Mchunu’s family are trying to convince him not to resign, and rather to wait for the president to act.
It has been reported that Mchunu was enraged on Friday when the PEC instructed him to go.
Zuma’s staff member said the decision was taken by the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC). He said the party’s national working committee would hold a special meeting on Monday to decide on Mchunu’s future if he continued to ignore an instruction to leave.
“This is a meeting that would finalise what has already started. Senzo was asked to voluntarily resign,” the source said.
The SACP member said Mchunu had told the PEC that he would not resign before discussing it with Zuma.
“One can read between the lines that his sudden decision to resign tomorrow is an indication that he spoke to Zuma when he was here in Durban today for the day of prayer. Even the fact that he was not at the stadium is an indication of what is happening.
“Willies (Mchunu) delivered the opening and closing remarks, the role that should have been played by Senzo as the premier,” said the source.
Zuma’s staff member said Zuma had offered Senzo a post as an ambassador, which he rejected. There was also a plan to give him a position in the national cabinet.
What further raised eyebrows was that during the National Day of Prayer for Unity at Kings Park Stadium, Senzo’s government spokesman, Ndabe Sibiya, was acting for Willies.
Willies’s government spokesman, Kwanele Ncalane, was at the stadium, but not assisting his boss.
But when Sibiya was questioned, he said, “I am assisting him (Willies) because he had been deployed as the leader of government business”.
Both Sibiya and Willies played down reports of a recall.
Willies Mchunu declined to comment, saying he was not the one appointing MECs and the premier.
“I am not acting premier. I was asked by Premier Senzo Mchunu to be here as the leader of government business. He always asks me to represent. Today he sent me a message that he would not be able to make it because he is busy somewhere,” said Willies.
It had been reported that Senzo Mchunu’s departure would be accompanied by a major reshuffle of the provincial cabinet. Several MECs, such as Economic Development MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu, Education MEC Peggy Nkonyeni and Agriculture and Rural Development MEC Cyril Xaba would be sacked.
This could not be confirmed by The Mercury on Sunday.
It is believed that ANC provincial chairman Sihle Zikalala would replace Mabuyakhulu.
It was also reported that MPL Mathandeni Dlungwane would replace Xaba, and that Mxolisi Kaunda – who declined to comment about the new development – would become the new transport, community safety and liaison MEC. Bongi Sithole-Moloi would become new education MEC.
Another SACP member said Senzo Mchunu’s supporters had not met to strategise on how to react to his recall. “But this would definitely further divide the already fractured ANC in the province. This would hit the party very hard during the elections. There would be lots of independent candidates,” he said.
He said Senzo’s supporters had planned a meeting with him. “If he tells us that he had been intimidated (into making the decision to resign) we will defend him,” the source said.