ANC treasurer-general, Zweli Mkhize may emerge as the new leader of the ruling party, as he has officially announced his readiness to contest the top post along side six other ANC candidates that are reportedly in the ring.
The treasurer general’s nomination reportedly came last month at the Alfred Nzo region in the Eastern Cape, during the region’s elective conference.
Since then, he has been vocal about his ambition while towing the party line. What is not clear – for now – is “the Zuma influence” in Mkhize’s presidential race.
However, he announced on Wednesday that he is ready to accept nominations from branches who want him to be the next president.
There’s no gainsaying the fact that he is one of President Zuma’s strong supporters. But, in recent time, Mkhize has severally criticized the president publicly. The last occasion was in 2015 when Zuma tried to replace former Minister Nene with Des van Rooyen.
Although his actions cost him some support from within the Zuma faction, Mkhize has since managed not to support any faction in the party.
Recently, he criticised people who jubilated after the motion of no confidence in Zuma failed. He, rather, called on his colleagues to have a self-introspection on the crisis facing the party.
On Gupta leaks, the KZN-born politician wants those implicated to be held to account.
Zweli Mkize’s strong points
- His neutrality
Within the ANC structures, Mkhize is known for his neutrality. Although he is not a person everyone supports, he is someone everyone can live with.
Going by what is on the ground, with Mkhize’s neutrality, coupled with his political weight and popularity within the ANC, he might go a long way in enticing both the Ramaphosa and Zuma factions to his side.
- His strong ties with his home province
Unlike President Jacob Zuma, who has severally received furious backlash from his kith and kin, Mkhize enjoys an amicable and cordial relationship within his home province (KwaZulu-Natal).
His relationship with the regions dates back to his leadership regime in the province. This explains the reason the ANC in KZN was the first to nominate Mkhize for the position of treasurer general on the Zuma slate in 2012.
Zweli Mkhize served as KwaZulu-Natal Premier between 2009 and 2013. He stepped down from the position after he won the seat of the ANC ANC treasurer general.
- His rhetorics
While the likes of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma are strongly campaigning on President Zuma’s Radical Economic Transformation (RET), Mkhize settled, to a very large extent, for the restoration of unity in the party.
It’s very unfair to say that Mkhize is an enemy of radical economic transformation. He’s not. In fact, he is quite rooting for a people-centered economic transformation. But his mission, if nominated, will be to restore brotherhood and unity in the ruling as he once said.
It might also interest you to know that Zweli Mkhize was the second chancellor of the University of KwaZulu Natal. His successor is Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.