ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Senzo Mchunu has been elected as premier by the KwaZulu-Natal legislature.
Mchunu, the outgoing education MEC, was nominated by his rival, Willies Mchunu, for the chairperson’s post. Willies Mchunu is his ANC deputy and MEC for transport and public safety.
Mchunu’s nomination was seconded by the province’s cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC, Nomusa Dube, who was herself one of the ANC leaders hoping to get the nod for the plum post.
The IFP nominated their legislature head, Blessed Gwala, as premier, while the DA’s Sizwe Mchunu also stood.
Senzo Mchunu was elected with 50 votes to Gwala’s 14 and Mchunu’s seven by secret ballot among the legislature’s 81 members.
The remainder abstained. There were no spoilt ballots.
The premier’s post was left vacant with the movement of Zweli Mkhize to Luthuli House to take up the ANC treasurer’s position to which he was elected at the ANC national conference in Mangaung in December.
Although Mkhize was elected treasurer last year, he had continued to act as KwaZulu-Natal premier, with ANC leaders in the province pushing the national leadership to replace him to improve stability and provide the party with a focal point for its provincial campaign ahead of next May’s general elections.
Mkhize resigned as premier last month, but the slowness to elect a caretaker premier to run the province ahead of the poll sparked speculation that Mchunu might not get the approval of ANC president Jacob Zuma for the job.
Willies Mchunu was backed by a strong pro-Zuma lobby, while Dube and speaker Peggy Nkonyeni were also understood to have ambitions to be Mkhize’s replacement.
Mchunu, a former educator from Melmoth in the north of the province, has served as education MEC since 2004.
He will be sworn in later today.
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