Born in 1958 in the area of Hlabisa in northern KwaZulu natal, Senzo Mchunu is a South African politician who has risen to the top office of the Kwazulu-Natal province of country.
He began his education at iNhlwathi Primary School, from where he moved to Mbopha Secondary School in KwaHlabisa for his secondary education. He later obtained his high school education from Amakholwa High School, Sinathing.
In 1992, he got a Secondary Teachers’ Diploma from the University of Zululand. By 1986 he had gotten a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree from the University of South Africa, where he majored in Education and International Relations. He went back to school, University of Free State, in 2002 for his Masters Programme in Political Transformation.
Before joining politics, Senzo Mchunu who is mostly regarded as Edward Senzo Mchunu, has had teaching experience at St Augustine’s High School in Nquthu, as well at Impande High School in Nkangala.
In 1990, he married Thandeka Mchunu, who was a former district municipality mayor of uThungulu in Kwazulu-Natal. The couple has four children; two boys and two girls.
Mchunu began politics as a party man with the African National congress (ANC). In 1990, this saw him appointed as a scribe of the Regional Interim Committee of the party in Northern Natal. The next year, he became the areas first Regional Secretary and was reelected in 1992 during the second regional conference. He was reelected again and again, until 1995.
In 1994, with the merger of the Zulu Bantustan of Kwazulu and Natal Province, he became the first provincial secretary of the party in the province. In 1997, Senzo was elected the Regional Deputy Secretary of the ANC.
In the same year, he was elected into the Kwazulu-Natal (KZN) legislative house. In the house he was made chairman of the Agriculture Portfolio Committee from 1998 to 2002, and Chairman of the Social Development Portfolio Committee from 2002 to 2004.
From 1998 to 2005, he served as the Provincial Deputy Secretary of the ANC. After the tenure ended in 2005, he was elected into the office of Provincial Secretary of the party in KZN.
In the KwaZulu-Natal legislative house, he was made Chairperson of the Education Portfolio Committee from 2004 to 2009. In 2008 he got reelected into the position of Provincial Secretary of the ANC in KZN, and a member of the Provincial Executive Committee of ANC in 2012.
He was Member of the Executive Council for the Department of Education from 2009 until 2013, when he became the acting Premier of KwaZulu-Natal Province. In that same year he was made the premier of the province. He served in that position until May 2016 when he resigned.
The former premier was made to resign in May 2016 after various allegations were leveled against him. Although the allegations were not made public, it was believed that the allegations were bordered on party issues, as well as office issues.
There are however, allegations of wrongfully increasing the number of staff in his office by around 200, as well as meddling in the activities of some Member of the Executive Councils (MECs). It is not clear if these are part of the reason for his ousting.
Although he was made to resign by the national working committee of his party, Mchunu has never stopped denying the allegations brought against him. In fact, he has rejected a position given to him in the National Assembly. According to him, unless he was given an opportunity to clear his name, he would not accept any position, as he wouldn’t add to the integrity of the assembly, until the dent on him was cleared.
Since his departure from office on 23 May 2016, the former KZN premier has stuck to his guns that unless his name was cleared he wouldn’t go to the Assembly, which has been applauded by so many as the height of integrity. He has gone as far as writing to the General Secretary of the African National Congress, Gwede Mantashe, to have his own side of the story told.
Senzo Mchunu’s problems began when he lost the chairmanship of ANC in KwaZulu-Natal in 2016. According to him, he was sure that the whole story of his ousting was not known to even the president that is why he has to have his side of the story told.
He was succeeded as Premier of the Province of KwaZulu-Natal by Thembinkosi Willies. Willies were the party’s deputy provincial chairperson and transport MEC, and a close ally of President Jacob Zuma.