No plan to scrap provinces, Zuma tells Zille

President Jacob Zuma has no plans at present to do away with the provinces, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille reported on Wednesday.

Speaking to journalists outside Tuynhuys in Cape Town after a two-hour meeting with Zuma, she said the president had given her a guarantee that were this to change, he would first discuss the matter.

“On the future of the provinces, President Zuma said there was no idea at present to scrap the provinces, or to take away powers of the provinces.

“And he gave me a guarantee that if that were to change at anytime in the future, he would call us in and have a discussion.”

Zille said she had asked for the meeting, which dealt with national political matters, as well as issues pertaining to the Western Cape, of which she is premier.

She described Zuma as more accessible than his predecessor.

“In terms of availability, there is a great improvement. If I phone the president’s office, I do get appointments.”

She said the meeting had been friendly.

Asked if the meeting had been positive, she replied: “It was positive, it was constructive, although we disagreed on many issues.”

Among other things, Zuma had agreed to look very carefully at her objections to the single public service.

“And he has also agreed to take very carefully into account our views on the 17th Constitution Amendment Bill, although I have no doubt they’re going to go ahead with that Bill,” she said.

Other key issues discussed included the independence of state institutions, the Judicial Service Commission, the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s board and “various others”.

“The discussions focused on the independence [of state institutions] from the ruling party, which is a point I stressed repeatedly,” Zille said.—Sapa

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