Zweli Lawrence Mkhize (born 2 February 1956, Willowfontein, Pietermaritzburg) is a South African doctor, legislator and politician and the current Treasurer-General of the African National Congress.
Zweli Mkhize was born the fifth child in a family of seven. His great grandfather, through his father's side of the family, was one of the great heroes of the Mkhizes clan of Nkandla in the early to mid 19th century. Mkhize described this knowledge of coming from a great legacy as a humbling experience: "Mindful of this legacy, my father always insisted on us respecting others and living our lives with humility and integrity .... He used to tell us that these values were more important than any riches." At the age of 31, Zweli Mkhize had completed his degree in medicine at the University of Natal. By 1983 his internship at the McCord Hospital was completed; this was important since McCord was often reprimanded for disobeying the Group Areas Act. Mkhize ended up gaining employment at Edendale Hospital in his hometown of Pietermaritzburg in the following year. Despite his accomplishments at Edendale, life was not safe for a successful young black doctor: due to the Apartheid movement, he was forced into exile in Swaziland, eventually settling in Zimbabwe.
Upon his return to South Africa in 1991, Mkhize began to network and build contacts within the African National Congress as a member of its national health secretariat. He is close friends with Jacob Zuma, as they hail from the same province. As Mkhize steadily moved through the ranks, he began to focus on positions within his native province, KwaZulu-Natal, becoming Commissioner for Health of the province by 1994. By 2004, he was commissioner for Finance and Economic Development. In a speech at the 39th National Convention of Black Mayors in Atlanta, he declared, "What has crippled the country historically, apart from decades of colonialism and apartheid - has been maladministration and rampant corruption. The new breed of leaders emerging in Africa understands that good governance is the key enabling factor for Africa's socio-economic development." He was designated on 30 April 2009 as the ANC candidate for Premier of KwaZulu-Natal and was elected to that position by the provincial legislature on 6 May. He is also the newest chancellor of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Premier of KwaZulu-Natal to Treasurer General of the African National Congress (ANC)
Dr. Zweli Mkhize was elected as Treasurer General of the African National Congress (Top 5) at the 53rd National conference in December 2012. This post requires the office holder to work out of "Luthuli House," ANC Headquarters as state in the ANC Constitution 12.11 "Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the Secretary General, the Deputy Secretary General and the Treasurer General shall be full-time functionaries of the ANC." On 22 August 2013 Dr. Zweli Mkhize, as and understanding the constitutional requirements of the Treasurer General position of the African National Congress, stepped down as Premier of KwaZulu-Natal stating, "After considering the workload associated with my two responsibilities, I have come to the conclusion that I need to spend more time fulfilling my responsibilities as the treasurer general of the African National Congress." Mkhize would be based at ANC headquarters Luthuli House in Johannesburg full time as from 1 September.
Mkhize has been the main focus of an investigation into the Intaka scandal, which involved tenders for kickbacks on government projects. Mkhize allegedly made a profit of $20 million through this corrupt scheme involving Uruguayan businessman Gaston Savoi. John Steenhuisen, the leader of the opposition in the province, called for both transparency and justice, stating that Mhkize "needs to urgently clarify the situation with regard to his involvement. It is not possible for him to lead our province and to take a strong line against corruption, when he has such serious allegations hanging over his own head" reiterating his original view that "there needs to be a full and urgent investigation into whether this was an established strategy...in this province, and whether there are other instances where government tenders have been awarded based on party political favours."
Recently, a new scandal has taken form involving the secretive ANC Investment arm known as Chancellor House selling a 25% stake in Hitachi and potentially embezzling a portion of the proceeds in the sale. This came directly after the Eskom scandal involving kickbacks and insider trading. Although Mkhize stated that there was no connection between Chancellor House and the ANC, in reality, Chancellor House was founded by the former Treasurer General Mendi Msimang in 2003. Mkhize raised the possibility of closing Chancellor House due to the amount of negative publicity it generated.
According to the US State Department, Mkhize "has a history of being involved in political violence in the Pietermaritzburg area during the 1980's and has been investigated for his role in a number of political killings in the province, but has never been charged."
Mkhize, currently the Treasurer-General of the ANC and a close friend of President Zuma, has often been mentioned as his successor in 2019 as head of the ANC and potentially as ruler of South Africa. Mhkize has downplayed these rumours, stating his greatest joy would be to retire and breed his Nguni cattle in the thornveld.
|Preceded by |
|Premier of KwaZulu-Natal |
6 May 2009 – 22 August 2013
|Party political offices|
|Preceded by |
|Treasurer-General of the African National Congress||Incumbent|