A man of many tal­ents

CityPress - - Voices -

Andile Nkuhlu was born in No­batana, KwaZakhele town­ship, in the Eastern Cape and shared a spe­cial bond with his twin brother and best friend, Ayanda. He was the son of well­known busi­ness­man Wise­man Nkuhlu, and his up­bring­ing was founded on the pru­dent and solid fam­ily val­ues of ubuntu.

The twins soon showed signs of in­tel­lec­tual prow­ess and quickly moved through grades at school with their out­stand­ing per­for­mances. They even skipped writ­ing fi­nal ex­ams in some of their grades.

The two in­her­ited this ed­u­ca­tional mo­bil­ity from the fam­ily legacy of those who had walked the jour­ney be­fore them and left their in­deli­ble im­prints be­cause qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion was, and re­mains, the foun­da­tion of the fam­ily.

After ma­tric­u­lat­ing at St Luke’s in Jo­han­nes­burg, the twins en­rolled at the Univer­sity of the Western Cape. Both ob­tained un­der- and post­grad­u­ate qual­i­fi­ca­tions, with ma­jors in eco­nom­ics and busi­ness – they stud­ied in the same class from the be­gin­ning of school un­til their uni­ver­sity grad­u­a­tion.

Andile served in dif­fer­ent po­si­tions in the stu­dent move­ment, in­clud­ing be­ing the pro­vin­cial chair­per­son of the SA Stu­dents’ Congress in the Western Cape and a mem­ber of the na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee by virtue of his po­si­tion.

He later joined the ANC Youth League (AN­CYL) and served as a dis­ci­plined cadre for years, mak­ing it into the high­est lev­els. He also served in the ANC’s pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee in the Eastern Cape.

For nine years since 1996, Nkuhlu was a chief di­rec­tor in the pub­lic en­ter­prises de­part­ment and was re­spon­si­ble for driv­ing pol­icy regime change, re­struc­tur­ing and repo­si­tion­ing the de­part­ment and that of forestry in the coun­try.

De­scribed as a rare breed and a busi­ness­man of note, Nkuhlu had a busi­ness acu­men, in­sight­ful mind and an ea­gle eye for a busi­ness op­por­tu­nity. He mostly made pru­dent busi­ness judge­ments and choices even if there was a dan­ger of be­ing un­pop­u­lar or a po­ten­tial for dis­agree­ments with busi­ness part­ners.

His life was not with­out po­lit­i­cal con­tro­versy. In 2002, a con­sor­tium that had been awarded a state forestry con­tract saw it be­ing can­celled af­ter it emerged that Nkuhlu had ac­cepted pay­ments from the Zama Forestry Con­sor­tium. The pay­ments were made via Lem­bede In­vest­ment Hold­ings, an in­vest­ment ve­hi­cle of the AN­CYL.

Nkuhlu and other for­mer youth league bosses were in­stru­men­tal in get­ting the now late min­ing mag­nate Brett Keb­ble to be the AN­CYL’s bene­fac­tor at the time. The late Keb­ble was in­ves­ti­gated for plun­der­ing re­sources at Rand­gold & Ex­plo­ration and JCI at the time.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tions saw Nkuhlu and other league bosses be­ing raided by in­ves­ti­ga­tors search­ing for Keb­ble’s miss­ing mil­lions shortly af­ter his killing.

At the height of the power strug­gles in the ANC, which saw Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma tak­ing over from Thabo Mbeki in 2007, Nkuhlu and oth­ers left the ANC to form the Congress of the Peo­ple (Cope), where he served as its first Eastern Cape chair­per­son. With Cope’s in­fight­ing, he re­turned to the ANC. Nkuhlu lost his bat­tle with di­a­betes on Tues­day. His long mar­riage to his wife, Zin­tle, ended am­i­ca­bly and he is sur­vived by three chil­dren, two daugh­ters and a son.

Nkuhlu leaves be­hind his twin, Ayanda, and four other broth­ers.

– Staff re­porter

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Andile Nkuhlu

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