KZN looks to the future

Monday, July 8, 2024

With the seventh administration having been sworn in, and the Government of National Unity (GNU) established, the country’s provinces are putting their shovels to the ground to ensure service delivery.

The country’s nine provinces also recently announced their new Executive Councils, following the landscape changing elections of 29 May which resulted in no outright majority for political parties.

The elections led to the formation of the GNU which comprises a Cabinet that is made up of 32 ministers that are supported by 43 deputy ministers from nine political parties out of the 11 that form the GNU.

SAnews recently spoke to the new KwaZulu-Natal Transport and Human Settlements MEC, Siboniso Duma, as the province begins a journey of power-sharing among political parties through the Provincial Government of Unity (GPU). The GPU is modelled on the GNU.

The new Executive Council for the province was announced by Premier Thami Ntuli last month and the new government which is made up of various parties is looking forward to adopting an integrated approach to accelerate service delivery.

Duma is one of the three African National Congress KZN members of the provincial legislature.

This comes after the recent swearing in of the new Members of the Provincial Legislature (MPL) comprising the ANC, Democratic Alliance (DA), Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), and the National Freedom Party (NFP), who have all joined hands towards achieving a Government of Provincial Unity.

Accelerating service delivery

The GPU aims to improve the lives of the people in the province.

Duma who served as the MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs in the sixth administration, said the journey to prosperity for the province has begun under the GPU, adding that the new provincial government will work for the vulnerable members of society.

“As KwaZulu-Natal through the Government of Provincial Unity, which is modelled along the GNU, we have adopted an integrated approach to accelerate service delivery. We are inspiring hope for a better future as all spheres of government are working towards achieving common objectives across all political lines,” Duma told SAnews.

Like most things in life, change is inevitable as evidenced also by the merger of the Departments of Transport and Human Settlements to which Duma said the province is cooperating to ensure the allocation of resources and the removal of bottlenecks for the benefit of local communities.

“Nothing should stand between voters and service delivery,” he emphasised.

The MEC is energetic about his new portfolio and the wellbeing of the province, which has in recent times experienced devastating floods.

“As an elected public representative, leading all categories of staff in both departments, we are determined to accelerate the rollout of construction projects throughout the province.

“We are focusing on re-engineering and transforming our economy for the benefit of the people of this province, especially in the rural areas and the townships. On the other hand, we are also inspiring hope for a better future.”

Last week, the MEC held a meeting with all categories of staff in both the departments (Housing and Human Settlements) in uThukela, Umzinyathi and Amajuba Regions.

At the meeting, he reminded staff that they are the engine of service delivery while also appreciating their contribution to the rollout of socio-economic infrastructure.

“Collectively, we must be exemplary in our conduct. The word ‘freedom’ will have a meaning if we respond with a sense of urgency to the needs of the people," Duma said.

Duma, who also had his first interaction with the management committees of both departments recently, emphasised that all categories of staff must work together to strengthen the Government of Provincial Unity.

The new Executive Council of KwaZulu-Natal stands as follows:

-Premier: Thami Ntuli (IFP)

-Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC: Musa Zondi (IFP).
- Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC: Thulasizwe Buthelezi (IFP).
- Health MEC: Nomagugu Simelane (ANC).
- Social Development MEC: Mbali Shinga (NFP).
- Public Works MEC: Marthinus Meyer (DA).
- Finance MEC: Francois Rodgers (DA).
- Agriculture and Rural Development MEC: Thembeni Madlopha-Mthethwa (IFP).
- Transport and Human Settlement MEC: Siboniso Duma (ANC)
- Education MEC: Sipho Hlomuka (ANC).
- Sports Arts and Culture MEC: Mntomuhle Khawula (IFP).

Hitting the ground running

Asked about the future of the province, Duma said: “The look and feel of the province over the next 30 years, will be determined by what the provincial government does every hour of the day, every week of the month and every month of the year.”

The new provincial Executive Council has already hit the ground running with Premier Ntuli reaffirming the provincial government's commitment to rebuilding the areas affected by the recent devastating storms and to implementing measures to mitigate the impact of future occurrences.  The Premier also reiterated his commitment to a team-oriented approach to governance, and to collaborate with everyone willing to work alongside him.

Meanwhile, MEC Rodgers started to demonstrate his commitment to ensure effective spending of the provincial budget by closing down the office on the 9th floor of The Marine Building in Durban.

Rodgers said the closure of the leased offices will save the KZN Treasury an estimated R1 million a year, which will be directed to other strategic service delivery needs of the department in supporting the province.

With all the nine provincial Executive Councils in place, what is clear is that there’s a willingness from all sides to hop on the bus that leads to service delivery for all.