Zweli Mkhize: eThekwini to Jozi by August?

2013-07-21 14:00

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KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize may make the move to Luthuli House in Joburg from Pietermaritzburg as early as next month to take up the post of ANC treasurer-general on a full-time basis.

While both Luthuli House and Mkhize’s office have remained tight-lipped about when the former ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairperson would take on the party role, ANC sources in the province say August is likely to be his last month as premier.

Mkhize has also put a family house in Ashburton, outside Pietermaritzburg, on the market.

Yesterday, eThekwini (Durban), the ANC’s biggest and most influential region, discussed Mkhize’s relocation at its regional general council held in the city.

Sources in the region said ahead of the meeting that they expected the move to be finalised “sooner rather than later” to allow focus on the leadership that would drive the election campaign in the province ahead of next May’s national and provincial poll.

The party’s Moses Mabhida region in Pietermaritzburg is also set to discuss the change of provincial leadership at a regional general council meeting in the provincial capital today.

After Mkhize’s election as party treasurer-general in Mangaung in December, ANC regulations compelled him to stand down as provincial chairperson. No decision was taken at the time about whether, or when, he would move to Luthuli House to focus on the critical ANC financial post.

The ANC leadership was happy to play it by ear and maintain the status quo as long as Mkhize had the capacity to run the party’s money machine and lead a politically and economically important province simultaneously.

In recent months, ANC president Jacob Zuma has spoken of the importance of the treasurer-general’s post, particularly with general elections just 10 months away and the ANC facing an upsurge in service delivery protests and a rallying opposition.

There is no finality yet as to who will replace Mkhize as KwaZulu-Natal premier until the end of the term, or the premier candidate for next year’s poll.

Senzo Mchunu, who replaced Mkhize as ANC chairperson, is the most likely choice.

But his deputy, Willies Mchunu, is also supported by a lobby in the province to become the next premier, while of late speculation that the post may go to Local Government MEC Nomusa Dube has increased.

Historically, the premier and chairperson have been the same person, but recently this has changed in several provinces, including Gauteng, where Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile is ANC chair and Nomvula Mokonyane is premier.

Mkhize’s spokesperson Ndabe Sibiya said yesterday that he was not aware of any impending move.

“We have not been told anything as yet. For now, Dr Mkhize continues working with his cabinet as premier while doing the treasurer-general’s job.”

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