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Zweli Mkhize decries factionalism and slams ANC members… & More Latest News Here

 

In what looked like a swipe at ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa, National Executive Committee (NEC) member Zweli Mkhize has condemned those who he said are using their power to eliminate their political opponents in the run-up to the ANCs’ national conference in December. 

He suggested that the anti-corruption stance taken by some ANC leaders has become a means to get rid of political opponents. He avoided specifically naming Ramaphosa in his speech.

Delivering the Victoria Mxenge Memorial Lecture on Wednesday evening, 14 September 2022, at the Wiggins Hall in Durban, he said members should be working on unifying the party instead of creating “cabals”.

“We do see tendencies of those who want to use their powers to put pressure on others and then sometimes unashamedly start using powers to eliminate political opponents using the criminal justice system. We would like to condemn that. That cannot be how we run the state and the party,” he said.

“Do not allow anyone to intimidate you. People are saying they will not nominate because they are afraid. I have spoken to a number of people; some of them in some provinces feel intimidated, they are worried that they will be followed and intimidated. You cannot have two types of justice. The ANC is an institution for exercising democracy in this country. Therefore a party must allow freedom of expression and differences of opinion.”

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Zweli Mkhize’s road to ANC top job is littered with potholes 

The former health minister went on to say the rules that have been implemented by the party should apply to all its members. This comes amid internal criticism that the party’s step-aside guidelines have not been fairly executed, as well as calls by a number of provinces to have them scrapped. 

The resolution has caused much controversy within the party since it was formally introduced in 2021, with one of its first casualties being secretary-general Ace Magashule. He refused to step aside and had to be suspended from his position. 

ANC NEC member Zweli Mkhize delivering the Victoria Mxenge Memorial Lecture at Wiggins Hall in Durban. (Photo: Supplied)

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Others who have been affected by the step-aside rule include former ANC Limpopo treasurer Danny Msiza, former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede, the former mayor of the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality, Olly Mlamleli, and former parliamentary portfolio committee chairs Bongani Bongo and Zukiswa Ncitha.

“Corruption is an important issue to fight, but when that issue is arising there must be one law. If we say for the purpose of ensuring that things are properly investigated [that] this is how we should do things, then it should all be standardised. Everyone must do exactly the same. I think it is important to say that when we are sitting here there is no one who will say corruption is good and therefore also to say that the ANC is corrupt is a challenge because you are members of the ANC, that is who the ANC is. Not because of leaders should the ANC be condemned. Leaders should be condemned specifically and individually for whatever they have done,” he said. 

Mkhize has been at the centre of the Digital Vibes scandal linked to his department’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This led to him being placed on special leave and eventually resigning as minister on the eve of a Cabinet reshuffle. He did, however, continue in his role as an ANC NEC member. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Digital Vibes scandal: The story behind the story

Daily Maverick’s investigative journalism unit, Scorpio revealed that Mkhize’s close associates, long-time spokesperson Tahera Mather and his former personal assistant, Naadhira Mitha, who were enlisted as directors of Digital Vibes, benefited to the tune of R150-million from a contract with the department.  In addition it revealed hat Mkhize and his family had also benefited from the deal. A Special Investigating Unit (SIU) investigation confirmed this.

In his resignation letter, he claimed the SIU worked with a “predetermined outcome and a closed mind in the investigation”.

Despite all the controversy surrounding him, Mkhize is one of the candidates vying to stand against Ramaphosa at the party’s national elective conference in three months. Earlier in 2022, Ward 1 in KwaXimba, KwaZulu-Natal, which boasts about 4,000 members, informally threw its weight behind Mkhize. 

He was also endorsed by various regions, leagues and alliance structures attending the memorial lecture. DM

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