Zizi Kodwa - a president's man at State Security

2019-05-30 08:06
Zizi Kodwa (File, Adrian de Kock, Netwerk24)

Zizi Kodwa (File, Adrian de Kock, Netwerk24)

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He is a man who has served presidents - first Fikile Mbalula, then Jacob Zuma and now Cyril Ramaphosa - gaining each of their confidence while under their leadership.

Zizi Kodwa is currently one of President Ramaphosa's most trusted lieutenants, but before that he and Khusela Diko, the president's government spokesperson, were instrumental in the day-to-day running of communications at Luthuli House during the toughest days of Zuma's time in office.

Kodwa has held many positions in the party, including national spokesperson, working closely with former secretary general Gwede Mantashe, after rising from its youth wing.

And now he'll be assisting Minister Ayanda Dlodlo as they lead the State Security Department.

Kodwa has never been far from the public ever since the mid-2000s but where did his political career start?

Shrewd spin doctor

He cut his teeth in the student movement, first in Cosas before graduating to the leadership structures of Sasco while studying at the University of the Western Cape.

There he rose up the ranks in the ANC Youth League, becoming its national spokesperson during Mbalula's presidency, a job he held until he was appointed to replace former national ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu in 2014.

During this time, he developed a reputation for being a shrewd spin doctor. It was arguably one of the toughest times in Kodwa’s career having to contend with growing media allegations of corruption and state capture surrounding Zuma and many ANC ministers.

It was also in this time that Kodwa with Mantashe and deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte stood in front of the media pledging their support for Zuma after he was found to have not upheld the Constitution - an oath of the utmost importance to any president.

Kodwa was also a vocal supporter of Zuma during his rape trial in the High Court on Johannesburg in 2006, often whipping up the crowd gathered outside with song and inflammatory statements.

During the run-up to the ANC’s Nasrec elections in 2017, a debonair Kodwa pronounced he was backing Ramaphosa's CR17 Siyavuma campaign.

Soon after Ramaphosa ascended to power, he appointed Kodwa to serve as head of the presidency in the ANC.

It was in this role that Kodwa faced one of his toughest moments - answering to a rape allegation. During the build up to the general elections, Kodwa was accused of rape and sexual assault.

The woman wrote to the party's secretary general Ace Magashule detailing how Kodwa drugged her before the assault. No formal charges were laid with the police.

The woman later withdrew the complaint.

It was due to this scandal that Kodwa was flagged by the ANC's integrity commission for bringing the party into disrepute. This week he confirmed to News24 that he had appeared before the commission to answer to the claims, despite the withdrawal.

Kodwa, sworn in as an MP last week, had been pegged as one of those who were likely to serve in Ramaphosa's "super Cabinet".

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Read more on:    anc  |  zizi kodwa  |  politics
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