Mkhize of­fers to unite a di­vided ANC

The Witness - - NEWS - — Fin24.

JO­HAN­NES­BURG — As the bat­tle to suc­ceed Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma as leader of South Africa’s rul­ing party grows in­creas­ingly bitter, ANC trea­surer­gen­eral Zweli Mkhize is po­si­tion­ing him­self as the one can­di­date who can stop the African National Con­gress from split­ting apart.

“If I was to be elected there are spe­cific things that I would con­trib­ute to the ANC that would take it for­ward — unity is the one main is­sue,” Mkhize said in an in­ter­view on Tues­day at Bloomberg’s Jo­han­nes­burg of­fice. “I have got the ad­van­tage of be­ing able to work with lit­er­ally any leader in the or­gan­i­sa­tion.”

Mkhize (61) has emerged in re­cent weeks as a po­ten­tial suc­ces­sor to Zuma, who is due to step down as ANC leader at its elec­tive con­fer­ence in De­cem­ber and as national pres­i­dent in 2019. He’s won sup­port in KwaZulu­Natal and Mpumalanga, two prov­inces host­ing the most ANC mem­bers.

Mkhize trained as a med­i­cal doc­tor and spent five years in ex­ile in Swazi­land and Zim­babwe dur­ing apartheid rule. He re­turned home in 1991 and rose through the ranks of the ANC in KwaZulu­Natal, be­ing ap­pointed as the re­gion’s pre­mier in 2009.

He re­lin­quished that post in 2013, the year after his ap­point­ment as the ANC’s trea­sur­ergen­eral.

While Mkhize didn’t di­rectly crit­i­cise Zuma, he said the ANC’s next leader must make it a pri­or­ity to fight cor­rup­tion and en­sure those who com­mit crimes are brought to jus­tice.

“There is noth­ing that should ab­solve any­one from crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion or pros­e­cu­tion only on the lead­er­ship in the gov­ern­ment or in the African National Con­gress,” he said.

Mkhize re­jected sug­ges­tions that he was Zuma’s favoured suc­ces­sor and that the pres­i­dent had ex­pressed sup­port for Dlamini­Zuma as a de­coy to throw his op­po­nents off track.

“Peo­ple will cre­ate sto­ries and some­times throw dust, throw doubt,” he said. “I’m Zweli Mkhize. I’m not any­body’s com­pro­mise. I am my own per­son and I have my own record as part of the lead­er­ship of the ANC.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.