Is Zweli about to move?

2013-07-13 00:00

WITH his home on the market and the ANC’s coffers said to be all but depleted, KZN Premier Zweli Mkhize’s departure to Luthuli House to take on his position as full-time treasurer of the ANC is thought to be imminent.

Sources within the ANC believe the move could be made within the next three weeks. They claim the premier has been preparing for the move and that his house in Ashburton has been placed on the market.

The reason he will be leaving shortly, according to the sources, is that the ANC urgently needs to build up its war chest for the national elections, set to take place in nine months. The party’s coffers were all but depleted after its massive national elective conference in Mangaung last December.

This week, the media reported on a court case regarding outstanding monies allegedly owed by the ANC to a company that did catering at the Mangaung conference.

Apparently at the party’s provincial general council (PGC) meeting held in March, it had been discussed that Mkhize would move to take up the full-time position at Luthuli House by June at the earliest.

This was to ensure the least disruption during the process of overseeing the province’s budgeting process.

When Mkhize was elected national treasurer at the ANC’s elective conference, the party in KZN had said it could not predict how long he would stay on as premier.

ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said at the time that it was the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) and not the party’s provincial structures that would decide on whether Mkhize stayed or left.

Zikalala said yesterday the matter was being discussed by ANC structures. “They will announce it at an appropriate time,” he said.

However, an NEC member who did not want to be named told Weekend Witness that as far as he was aware, there had been no recent discussions on calling Mkhize to Luthuli House. He said Mkhize’s position was discussed earlier this year and a decision had been taken at the time that he finish his term as premier before moving full-time to Luthuli House.

Another senior ANC member felt it could be members of a faction who were not fans of Mkhize who were raising the matter now. He said they may want him out of the province to begin positioning themselves for leadership positions come next year’s election. The member said that Mkhize was already hard at work at Luthuli House, when free from his premiership duties. “This man has an incredible capacity for hard work. Don’t be surprised if he is coping with both jobs and don’t forget he has staff who have learnt how to work with him in both offices,” he added.

Mkhize could not be reached by the time of going to press. His spokesperson, Ndabe Sibiya, said that as far as he was aware, the premier “continues to work collectively with members of his cabinet to continue service delivery”. He said a series of meetings and activities were lined up as part of his responsibilities as premier.

ANC national spokesperson Keith Khoza said an announcement would be made when Mkhize was to vacate the premiership and take up his treasurer-general position on a full-time basis. “So far we have not communicated anything to that effect,” Khoza said.

Some sources says that ANC provincial chairperson and Education MEC Senzo Mchunu will automatically step in as premier when Zweli Mkhize relinquishes the position. However, others believe that Transport MEC Willies Mchunu, the party’s provincial deputy chairperson, will step in as caretaker premier until the elections. They say that Senzo Mkhize will become the KZN premier after the 2014 elections. This is to ensure there will be no disruption to the education portfolio in the interim.

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