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After collapsing at Sopa, KZN Premier Mchunu returns to event

KwaZulu-Natal premier Willies Mchunu was earlier taken to a hospital after collapsing during his State of the Province Address.

KwaZulu-Natal premier Willies Mchunu greets the media as he arrives at the Royal Showgrounds in Pietermaritzburg following a visit at a hospital after he fainted during his State of the Province Address. Picture: @kzngov/Twitter.

PIETERMARITZBURG - KwaZulu-Natal premier Willies Mchunu has arrived at the Royal Showgrounds in Pietermaritzburg after a short stint in a hospital.

Mchunu was earlier taken to a hospital after collapsing during his State of the Province Address (Sopa).

Shortly after starting his speech, Mchunu paused and asked a colleague to take over. Moments later he collapsed.

Paramedics assessed him at the venue before transporting him to a hospital for further treatment.

Mchunu was discussing the inroads and progress KwaZulu-Natal had made in infrastructure development when he suddenly paused and then requested that leader of government business Sihle Zikalala take over from him.

“Madam Speaker, may I pause here to request the leader of government business to continue on my behalf. I have a challenge.”

Moments later, Mchunu lost his balance, with officials rushing to the stage to help him as he collapsed.

There were gasps throughout the room as dozens of guests tried to edge closer to the premier to pray.

The KwaZulu-Natal premier has not been well for several months, which is part of the reason why Zikalala has been stepping in in an acting capacity during recent government events.

Mchunu was attended to by paramedics who were on scene within minutes of his collapse.

Officials have since indicated that Mchunu’s condition has improved.

In a joint briefing with Zikalala and African National Congress (ANC) officials, provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli said the premier’s condition had improved and Wednesday’s incident was regrettable.

“We’re extremely relieved and grateful to the Almighty that the premier’s condition has since improved.”

When asked if the ANC would ask Mchunu to step aside due to his protracted ill-health, Ntuli said the party was not able to do so.

“The condition of the premier will always be best understood by the medical practitioners. It is not our call as the ANC to determine at what point and at which time any member of the ANC deployed in government should take a break.”

Mchunu returned to the venue in high spirits and was expected to give his own briefing.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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