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04 May 2004 11:41
After weeks of negotiations with the African National Congress, the Inkatha Freedom Party has accepted three ministerial positions in the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government.
The IFP originally withdrew two of its officials from the provincial executive, announced at the end of April. At the time the IFP said the appointments had not met with the “express approval” of the party.
On Tuesday IFP spokesman Musa Zondi confirmed that the talks have been finalised.
“We have finalised talks and have reached an agreement, which the premier [Sibusiso Ndebele] will announce tomorrow [Wednesday].
Zondi could not say which portfolios the MECs will take up.
“Lets leave it to the premier to announce. They offered us three positions during the negotiations,” he said.
However, sources from both the IFP and ANC indicated on Monday that they would be public works—the portfolio being vacated by incoming provincial minister of finance Mike Mabuyakulu—social development and a new portfolio that is expected to embrace arts, culture, tourism and possibly also environment.
The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal said that, in addition, the ANC has given the IFP the position of deputy speaker in the provincial legislature.
The ANC also extended its gratitude to the people of KwaZulu-Natal for the “resounding mandate they have given the movement to lead governance in this province. The people’s patience on the two weeks of ANC/IFP talks is also appreciated wholeheartedly.”
The IFP, which lost control of the province in the April 14 poll, was also dropped from Cabinet when its leader, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, and Ben Skosana were axed from the home affairs and correctional services portfolios respectively.
Subsequently the party lost two deputy-minister positions after dithering delays annoyed President Thabo Mbeki last week.—Sapa, I-Net Bridge
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