The enemy within: Zweli Mkhize – an ally and a lieutenant – is Cyril Ramaphosa's acid test
Zweli Mkhize's star is rapidly on the wane. The health minister, who has presided over a Covid-19 strategy that can be termed anything from stuttering to disastrous (and that's being generous), should be a dead man walking. Based purely on his department's poor performance over the past year, he should already have been dismissed. As of Thursday, thanks to the department's best efforts, a little more than one million South Africans have been inoculated against the coronavirus.
Recent revelations by Pieter-Louis Myburgh of Daily Maverick that Mkhize has seemingly enriched his family and friends with millions of taxpayers' rands meant for the fight against Covid-19 should, however, sound the death knell. He is now fatally compromised by the apparent looting of scarce resources. And, from experience, we know South African politicians are shameless. They will never leave office without being chased out.
For President Cyril Ramaphosa, this is an acid test. Mkhize has proven to be a political ally and has been loyal to the ANC leader since December 2017. It's easy to turn the screws on apparent adversaries, like Ace Magashule, and to claim the moral high ground by reverting to process and procedure. It's much, much harder, in our political environment, to do the same to a friendly party, especially one so senior in the ANC as Mkhize, an immediate past treasurer-general of the party.
If Ramaphosa does not act forcefully, and according to principles of proper governance and management, his claim to be anti-corruption will mean nothing.
In this week’s Friday Briefing, we have three strong contributions from Carien du Plessis, Mcebisi Ndletyana and Professor Ivor Sarakinsky who argue what Ramaphosa should do – but also what the constraints in the realpolitik of the ANC are. After all, the national interest and that of the ANC don’t always coincide.
Pieter du Toit
Assistant Editor: Investigations and in-depth news
The ANC is too brittle for Presidetnt Cyril Ramaphosa to make any movements following the Zweli Mkhize scandal that could cause a sudden knee-jerk reaction, writes Carien du Plessis.
Ivor Sarakinsky writes that, because Zweli Mkhize allegedly and unprocedurally signed the Digital Vibes contract, it aggravates an already dire situation and places President Cyril Ramaphosa in a difficult situation.
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