‘I am fine’, says Premier Mchunu following collapse

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PIETERMARITZBURG, February 27 – Outgoing KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu assured members of the public that he was fine and blamed excessive heat for his on-stage collapse during the State of the Province Address on Wednesday.

His speech, which many saw as his last hurrah, was completed by economic development MEC Sihle Zikalala.

Mchunu stopped his speech to say he was experiencing a “challenge” and asked Zikalala to please complete the delivery. Seconds later, he teetered at the podium and was grabbed and held by the sergeant-at-arms. He was then shuffled from the venue by various MECs and officials and taken to a Pietermaritzburg hospital for tests.

Just a couple of hours later, Mchunu was back  at the Royal Showgrounds and appeared in fine spirits, joking with former president Jacob Zuma and Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, who attended the event.

Addressing the media, Mchunu said he would continue discharging his duties until the end of his term as doctors had given him a clean bill of health following the collapse.

“I am fine, what happened today was that there was a lot of heat which was probably because of the lights pointing towards me, and I just battled for fresh air. If had drank water before taking to the podium there would not have been a problem,” said Mchunu.

He conceded that over the years he had not allowed his body sufficient rest because of party and government commitments.

“When considering that one has been in government for this long… there is a point to be made that one has not given the body sufficient rest over the years, that is why I am looking forward to leaving government duties when the time comes,” Mchunu said.

He said while he would leave government work after the May 8 elections, he would remain active in the ANC and SACP structures where he formed part of the leadership.  (ANA)