South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Elects IFP’s Ntuli as Premier

Lawmakers in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province elected an Inkatha Freedom Party official as premier, dealing a blow to the organization led by former President Jacob Zuma that won the most votes in the region.

Bloomberg
First Published14 Jun 2024, 11:45 PM IST
South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Elects IFP’s Ntuli as Premier
South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Elects IFP’s Ntuli as Premier

(Bloomberg) -- Lawmakers in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province elected an Inkatha Freedom Party official as premier, dealing a blow to the organization led by former President Jacob Zuma that won the most votes in the region. 

Officials sitting in the provincial capital of Pietermaritzburg Friday elected Thamsanqa Ntuli in the provincial legislature’s first sitting since the nation’s May 29 election that saw MKP sweep the African National Congress from control there. The ANC got 17% of the provincial vote in last month’s election. Phathisizwe Chiliza of Zuma’s uMkhonto Wesizwe Party also contested.

The ANC, which lost its national majority after ruling continuously since it took power in 1994, wrested control of KwaZulu-Natal from the Inkatha Freedom Party in 2004. The emergence of the MKP was a further blow to its decline in the volatile province.

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Zuma served time in jail in 2021 after refusing to testify before a judicial inquiry into state graft. His imprisonment triggered the worst riots in South Africa since the end of apartheid, leaving 354 people dead. Much of the violence took place in KwaZulu-Natal, Zuma’s birth province that’s home to sub-Saharan Africa’s busiest port and is a key commercial agricultural region. 

The IFP got 18.07% of votes in KwaZulu-Natal last month, while the  Democratic Alliance garnered 13.36% and the National Freedom Party obtained 0.56%. 

Earlier Friday, parties including the ANC and the main opposition DA agreed to join a so-called government of national unity. Participants agreed to cooperate on appointing the president and officials in the national and provincial legislatures, ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula said.  

KwaZulu-Natal lawmakers also reelected the ANC’s Nontembeko Boyce as speaker, while they chose Democratic Alliance’s Mmabatho Tembe as deputy speaker. 

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First Published:14 Jun 2024, 11:45 PM IST
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