Even with the best intentions

2013-07-24 00:00

THE long-postponed decision as to when KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize will resign from his post to take up the full-time position as ANC treasurer-general cannot be in the best interests of the ANC or the province.

News that the Premier’s Office is unaware of its boss’s pending move to the ANC’s Johannesburg headquarters does not only leave the province in limbo, but possibly complicates ANC fundraising efforts.

Imagine the moral dilemma of an investor who meets Mkhize over the possibility of ploughing money into the province, but who also has the capacity to donate to the ANC. Does the investor donate to the party before or after he or she has been assured that his or her business is welcome and appreciated in the province?

When does Mkhize ask for the donation? How can investors not wonder if their response to the request for help may be used for or against them in their business with Mkhize’s government.

This is not to suggest that Mkhize will necessarily use his office to advance ANC projects. It is not just about him and his integrity; it is also about the comfort of the investor and the donor.

Running a province must be a tough job. It is not a non-executive director position where one can drop in when one is able to and be excused if one cannot. It needs a full-time executive who will oversee the areas of government and, in KZN’s case, manage political egos and factions that might interfere with that project.

It is not just about the biblical argument that one cannot serve two masters because one is likely to love one and hate the other. I am certain that Mkhize loves the ANC, and his role in the province pre-1994 and in government is there for everyone to judge.

It is possible, however, that even with his best intentions and highest regard for the party and government, Mkhize may not have the capacity to work full-time at two positions that demand so much of his energy. The trouble with two full-time jobs that one is equally good at is that one can fail at both jobs, not because of incompetence, but because one does not have time to do justice to both. Alternatively, one may excel at the one job but be totally dismal at the other.

I cannot imagine that the ANC is pleased that its chief fundraiser is raking it in at the same time that governance is declining so badly that there is a real possibility of opposition parties winning or increasing their numbers at the next election.

KwaZulu-Natal citizens deserve better from their premier. He is everyone’s premier, not just the premier of those who voted for his party. We are already into election season. This means that Mkhize must double his efforts of finding money for the party to fund its election machinery.

When will he be able to do this if he has government business to take care of?

If Mkhize has any worries about leaving the incomparable beauty of the Midlands, perhaps he should have tea with The Witness editor about forming a support group for those who now have to endure the sterility of the concrete jungle that is Johannesburg.

• Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya is freelance journalist and former editor of The Witness.

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