PROFILE OF KWAZULU-NATAL PREMIER, MR SIHLE ZIKALALA
Mr Sihle Zikalala is an ANC activist, husband and a father. He is driven by the ideals of a united, non-racial, non-sexist, equal and prosperous society. Born in Ndwedwe in 1973 to a religious family, he grew up to become a humble yet formidable and courageous social activist.
The circumstances of colonial and apartheid misrule of the time determined him to fight to throw off the yoke of poverty and social injustice that Blacks were subjected to. These early experiences with inequality and prejudice inevitably forced Zikalala to join the liberation movement at the tender age of fifteen years.
It was the beginning of a journey that would see him entrusted with key responsibilities within the Liberation Movement in South Africa, including being appointed Secretary-General of the ANC Youth League, ANC KZN Deputy Provincial Secretary and Provincial Secretary.
He is currently the ANC KZN Provincial Chairperson in KwaZulu-Natal and the Premier.
Prior to his deployment as Premier, Mr Zikalala was the MEC for Economic Development, Tourism, and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) and Leader of Government Business – positions which he held with great diligence and passion.
It was under Mr Zikalala and the legislature collective that the province of KwaZulu-Natal pioneered ground-breaking economic transformation programmes under Operation Vula, which included Radical Agrarian Socio-Economic Transformation (RASET) as well as a Bulk Buying and Warehousing programme.
He has carved out a solid reputation for himself as an ardent proponent of the Black Industrialist Programme, a national government initiative which seeks to hasten the pace of the empowerment of black-owned enterprises.
Premier Zikalala contributed immensely to the attainment of peace in KwaZulu-Natal in the early 1990s. He remains seized with the task of deepening peace, advancing democracy and achieving social and economic prosperity in KwaZulu-Natal.
At the heart of his efforts lies a passion to see the KZN economy transformed, growing, and being competitive to reduce inequality, poverty, and unemployment.
Mr Zikalala is a champion for gender equality, youth empowerment, and an advocate for quality education. He strongly believes in education and regards it as an indispensable weapon in the arsenal to advance equality and improve the quality of lives.
Mr Zikalala holds a degree in Communication Science from the University of South Africa, an Honours degree in Public Administration from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and holds a Masters degree in Leadership Studies from UKZN. He is currently studying economics and development policy at Wits University.