Willies Mchunu

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The Honourable
Thembinkosi Willies
MPL
Mchunu
7th Premier of KwaZulu-Natal
Assumed office
24 May 2016
Preceded by Senzo Mchunu
Personal details
Born Thembinkosi Willies Mchunu
(1948-05-11) 11 May 1948 (age 69)
Nationality South African
Political party African National Congress
Spouse(s) Dudu Mchunu (d. 2016)

Willies Mchunu is the current and 7th Premier of the Province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa in May 2016. He was previously the Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for the Department of Transport, Community Safety, and Liaison in the province. He is a member of the African National Congress and the former chairperson of the South African Communist Party (SACP) in KwaZulu-Natal and is a member of the Central Committee of the SACP.[1] He is seen as a close ally of South African President Jacob Zuma.[2]

Controversies[edit]

Violence at the Kennedy Road informal settlement in 2009[edit]

Willies Mchunu's response to the violent attacks on Abahlali baseMjondolo at the Kennedy Road informal settlement was and remains controversial.[3][4] At the time of the attack, he claimed that the attacks were by a "criminal forum" associated with Abahlali baseMjondolo president S'bu Zikode.[5] Abahlali baseMjondolo and many civil society organizations have called the attack on Abahlali baseMjondolo and Kennedy Road residents politically motivated and blame Mchunu for condoning the attacks by an armed group affiliated with the ANC .[6][7][8] Mchunu's response to the attacks has also been criticized by Bishop Rubin Phillip and Archbishop Thabo Makgoba[9] Mchunu refused calls for an independent investigation into the attacks.[10][11] Amnesty International sent a letter of concern to Willies Mchunu, but there was no response from his office.[12]

On 18 July 2011, the case against the twelve members of Abahlali baseMjondolo arrested after the attacks was thrown out of court.[13] The Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa issued a statement saying that the "charges were based on evidence which now appears almost certainly to have been manufactured" and that the Magistrate had described the witnesses as "belligerent", "unreliable", and "dishonest".[14]

According to Paul Trewhela, "The scandal is that this political prosecution was instituted in the first place, and that it was dragged on, month after month, by magistrates, prosecutions and police without a shred of reliable evidence - with plentiful evidence, rather, of manipulation and intimidation of witnesses by the police and local ANC structures."[15]

Deaths During Traffic Department 'Fitness Test' in 2012[edit]

In last 2012 six applicants for positions as traffic officers died during a fitness test and another committed suicide following which there were calls for Mchunu's resignation.[16]

Fields Hill 2013 Crash[edit]

Since 24 people were killed on 5 September 2013 in one of the most horrific accidents on Fields Hill, the 2013 Pinetown crash, Willies Mchunu has discounted calls from residents for the banning of trucks on the "Hill of Horrors" as it has become known. Local City Councillor Rick Crouch has been vocal about the Provincial Government's failure in stopping the carnage on Fields Hill, going as far as accusing the KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Willies Mchunu, of practicing tombstone legislation.[17] Councillor Crouch has been campaigning for stricter rules for trucks on Fields Hill.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ What is Going on in KZN?, by Paul Trewhela, Politics Web, 9 January 2012
  2. ^ Senzo Mchunu's removal: 'Premier League' has cemented its support in KZN], Natasha Marrian, Business Day, 25 May 2016
  3. ^ Willies Mchunu and the attack on Kennedy Road, Paul Trewhela, Politics Web, 29 August 2011
  4. ^ Appeals are important, even on behalf of Zuma, Steven Friedman, Business Day, 1 June 2016
  5. ^ "Police task team for Kennedy Road on cards after weekend killings". SA Government. 
  6. ^ "The Provincial Government and the Police have Officially Endorsed the Attacks on Abahlali baseMjondo". Anarkismo. 
  7. ^ "Ethnic tension boils over". Mail & Guardian. 
  8. ^ "Update from Kennedy Road". Abahlali baseMjondolo. 
  9. ^ "The Archbishop of Cape Town Speaks Out". Abahlali baseMjondolo. 
  10. ^ "Kennedy Road truth being hidden". BusinessDay. 
  11. ^ "The Kennedy Road Informal Settlement controversy: Why an independent inquiry is essential". The KZN Witness. 
  12. ^ South Africa: Failure to conduct impartial investigation into Kennedy Road violence is leading to further human rights abuses, Amnesty International, 16 December 2009
  13. ^ Press statement by the Unemployed Peoples Movement, 18 July 2011
  14. ^ "Kennedy 12" Acquitted
  15. ^ The ANC and the failing of democratic governance, Paul Trewhela, Politics Web, 27 August 2011
  16. ^ Fitness test deaths: Provincial minister dismisses calls to resign, Mail & Guardian, 31 December 2012
  17. ^ "VIDEO: Councillor on Fields Hill truck restrictions". East Coast Radio. 5 September 2014. Retrieved 5 September 2014. 
  18. ^ "Hill of horrors claims more lives". Independent on Saturday. 29 November 2014. Retrieved 29 November 2014.