Premier under spotlight

2011-07-18 00:00

THE political future of KZN Premier and ANC provincial chairperson Dr Zweli Mkhize is hanging in the balance, a political analyst said yesterday.

City Press reported yesterday that Mkhize’s signature appears on two documents that led to the provincial government spending R44 million on water purification plants, a tender that has led to corruption charges for a number of top officials and political leaders.

Yet Mkhize will not be charged with some of the province’s most powerful individuals when the “three Amigos” fraud and corruption trial finally gets under way in the high court in Pietermaritzburg next month.

Instead, he will be called as a state witness against his cabinet and ruling party colleagues, the report said.

Mkhize’s signature appears on an internal memorandum with those of Economic Development MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu and three heads of department, motivating for the plants to be built without going to tender. A warrant has been issued for Mabuyakhulu’s arrest.

Independent political analyst Protas Madlala told The Witness yesterday he believes the premier’s political future hangs in the balance. He said the fact that Mkhize has been publicly heckled in Pietermaritzburg and Durban is a sign that he no longer enjoys popularity among party members.

Madlala said there is a cold war going on in the light of the murder last week of eThekwini branch secretary Sibusiso Sibiya only a month before the regional conference.

“When you no longer enjoy popular support in your own back yard then where do you run to for it?” Madlala asked.

However, political analyst Zakhele Ndlovu, a lecturer at UKZN, said that at this point there is nothing to suggest that Mkhize could lose his position as ANC provincial chairperson, although there have been signs that some people within the ANC in KZN are not happy with him as their leader, especially in Pietermaritzburg, his home town.

“I thought that the premier should have handled the matter of the activists who staged a sit-in at Moses Mabhida regional offices differently by trying to negotiate with them instead of using the courts to deal with this issue,” Ndlovu said. This would have helped Mkhize shore up his support in Pietermaritzburg.

With the arrests of Mabuyakhulu and KZN Legislature speaker Peggy Nkoyeni looming in the corruption case, he added, people are beginning to lose faith in the government.

“Over the next 10 years the ANC might lose the popularity it currently enjoys if the issue of corruption is not dealt with … as it has a negative impact on service delivery,” he said.

Professor Adam Habib of the University of Johannesburg said it is perfectly legitimate for the Hawks to use the premier as a state witness.

“We have to distinguish between Zweli Mkhize the citizen and Zweli Mkhize the premier. Mkhize the citizen can turn state witness, provide evidence for the prosecution of others and be given legal concessions by the Hawks in this regard,” he said.

But Habib said that as premier Mkhize has no such privilege, as the foundation for holding public office is that one should be trusted to use citizens’ money in an honest manner. If one has been complicit in unethical and corrupt behaviour then the foundational trust is broken and “your legitimacy as premier is compromised and for that reason your party has to act against you”.

Mkhize’s spokesperson, Ndabe Sibiya, said there is nothing new to the story by the City Press and he cannot comment because the matter is before the court. He dismissed allegations that the premier, Mabuyakhulu and Nkonyeni are at odds with each other.

“The premier is continuing with the business of the day with his colleagues in cabinet … Over the past week the premier has addressed several conferences with the MEC for Economic Development, Mike Mabuyakhulu. On occasions the MEC represented the premier.”

Sibiya said the province is functioning well and in fact it is one of the better managed provinces.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.