Gauteng premier on why he has not met with Zuma in two years

Despite Gauteng’s status as the economic hub of South Africa, President Jacob Zuma has not once met with the provincial premier David Makhura in nearly two years.

This is according to a report in the Financial Mail, following an interview with Makhura, who said: “It’s just not how we do things.”

Gauteng contributes approximately 35% to South Africa’s economy and 11% to Africa’s GDP. The smallest of the nine provinces, it accounts for 40% of the country’s business and services sector, and 64.6% of trade.

On Tuesday Gauteng finance MEC Barbara Creecy tabled a R103.4 billion budget over the next three years.

The MEC said that between 2010 and 2015, Gauteng’s population grew by 2.8% or an increase of 1.8 million residents, to 13.2 million or about 24% of the country’s population.

Makhura was appointed to his post as Gauteng Premier in May 2014, and faces a difficult task of arresting the ANC’s decline in two major metros in Johannesburg and Tshwane in the municipal elections later this year.

According to Financial Mail, Makhura and Zuma did not speak following the president’s sacking of Nhlanhla Nene as finance minister.

“Of course we felt the consequences,” Makhura said. “You can’t be a leader and not be affected by something like that. And we particularly felt it in this provincial economy, where a lot of investment is directed.

“But, no, I didn’t phone the president,” he said. “And the reason is simple: an issue of great concern is addressed in the provincial ANC. That’s my first port of call.”

Last month, the DA alleged that Makhura is plotting to remove Zuma from office.

Speaking in the National Assembly, DA’s Chief Whip in Parliament, John Steenhuisen, said that the reason for Makhura’s absence in the house was because of his disdain for the president.

“The reason why the premier of Gauteng Province is not here today, is because he hates president Zuma. He is in his province doing what South Africans across the length and breadth of this country are doing, and that’s plotting to get this president out of office, and rescue this country,” Steenhuisen said.

Makhura told Financial Mail that he would not entertain any talk about Zuma. “I don’t discuss any leader’s performance or how they are doing their job.”

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Gauteng premier on why he has not met with Zuma in two years