Zweli Mkhize

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Zweli Lawrence Mkhize
Zweli Mkhize Willowfontein and Muzi Thusi School visit.jpg
former Premier of KwaZulu-Natal
In office
6 May 2009 – 1 September 2013
Preceded by S'bu Ndebele
Succeeded by Senzo Mchunu
Treasurer-General of the African National Congress
Assumed office
18 December 2012
Preceded by Mathews Phosa
Personal details
Born (1956-02-02) 2 February 1956 (age 59)
Willowfontein, KwaZulu-Natal
Nationality South African
Political party African National Congress
Spouse(s) Dr. May Mashego
Children Naledi, Nokulinda, Dedani
Alma mater University of South Africa
Occupation Physician, Politician
Religion Catholic

Zweli Lawrence Mkhize (born 2 February 1956, Willowfontein, Pietermaritzburg) is a South African doctor, legislator and politician.[1] Zweli Mhkize was born the fifth child in a family of seven. His great grandfather, through his father's side of the family, was one of the great heroes of the Mkhizes clan of Nkandla in the early to mid 19th century. Mkhize described this knowledge of coming from a great legacy as a humbling experience: "Mindful of this legacy, my father always insisted on us respecting others and living our lives with humility and integrity...He used to tell us that these values were more important than any riches."[2] At the age of 31, Zweli Mkhize had already completed his degree in medicine at the University of Natal, by 1983 his internship at the McCord Hospital was completed, this was important since McCord was a bastion of equality and often got reprimanded for disobeying the Group Areas Act.[3] Mkhize ended up gaining employment at Edendale Hospital in his hometown of Pietermaritzburg in the following year.[4] Despite his accomplishments at Edendale, life was not safe for a successful young black doctor, due to the Apartheid movement, he was forced into exile in Swaziland, eventually settling in Zimbabwe before returning in 1991 to South Africa.[5]

Upon his return to South Africa, he began to network and build contacts within the ANC as a member of the ANC national health secretariat. Zweli Mkhize is also very close friends with Jacob Zuma as they hail from the same province, without a doubt, Mhkize was one of the main factors which led to the ANC victory as he tirelessly worked to promote the ANC in Kwazulu-Natal. As he steadily moved through the ranks, he began to focus on positions within his native province, KwaZulu-Natal, becoming Commissioner for Health of the province by 1994. By 2004, he was commissioner for Finance & Economic Development, a task which he worked at meticulously, including a very successful trip to Atlanta to give a rousing speech at the 39th National Convention of Black Mayor's, in which he declared "What has crippled the country historically, apart from decades of colonialism and apartheid - has been maladministration and rampant corruption. The new breed of leaders emerging in Africa understands that good governance is the key enabling factor for Africa's socio-economic development."[6][7] He was designated on 30 April 2009 as the African National Congress candidate for Premier of KwaZulu-Natal and was elected to that position by the provincial legislature on 6 May. He is also the newest chancellor of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.[8]

Mkhize resigned on 22 August 2013 and was succeeded by ANC Chairman Senzo Mchunu as Acting Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Mkhize reassured his constituents that his successor would perform his duties well by holding an early morning press-conference in Durban where he declared "I have full confidence in comrade Senzo".[9][10]

Mkhize has been the main focus of an investigation into the Intaka scandal, which involved tenders for kickbacks on government projects. Mkhize profited 20 million dollars through this corrupt scheme involving Uruguayan businessman Gaston Savoi.[11] John Steenhuisen, the leader of the opposition in the province called for both transparency and justice stating that Mhkize "needs to urgently clarify the situation with regard to his involvement. It is not possible for him to lead our province and to take a strong line against corruption, when he has such serious allegations hanging over his own head" reiterating his original view that "there needs to be a full and urgent investigation into whether this was an established this province, and whether there are other instances where government tenders have been awarded based on party political favours."[12] Mkhize has also been criticized for spending over 1 million dollars in public funds over the use of private airplanes, over 40 trips between 2010 and 2013. Democratic Alliance Leader Sizwe Mchunu went as far as stating it was an "abuse of public funds...completely inappropriate and excessive."[13] After the private airplane scandal came out in the news, Zweli Mkhize offered to reimburse the state and eventually did, however the overwhelming damage to his reputation forced him to step down.[7][14] Recently, a new scandal has taken form involving the secretive ANC Investment arm known as Chancellor House selling a 25% stake in Hitachi and potentially embezzling a portion of the proceeds in the sale. This came directly after the Eskom scandal involving kickbacks and insider trading. Although Zweli Mkhize stated that there was no connection between Chancellor House and the ANC, in reality, Chancellor House was founded by the former Treasurer General Mendi Msimang in 2003. Mkhize raised the possibility of closing Chancellor House due to the amount of negative publicity it generated.[15][16][17] According to the US State Department Mkhize "has a history of being involved in political violence in the Pietermaritzburg area during the 1980's and has been investigated for his role in a number of political killings in the province, but has never been charged."WikiLeaks cable: 09DURBAN51

Zweli Mkhize has often been mentioned as the successor to Jacob Zuma in 2019 as head of the ANC and potentially ruler of South Africa due to his expertise at playing politics, however Mhkize quickly downplayed these questions by stating his greatest joy would be to retire and breed his Nguni cattle in the thornveld.[4][18]

Political offices
Preceded by
S'bu Ndebele
Premier of KwaZulu-Natal
6 May 2009 – 22 August 2013
Senzo Mchunu
Party political offices
Preceded by
Mathews Phosa
Treasurer-General of the African National Congress Incumbent


  1. ^ "MEC: Dr Z L Mkhize". KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Treasury. Retrieved 1 May 2009. 
  2. ^ "The Witness". 
  3. ^ Independent Newspapers Online. "McCord Hospital handed over". Independent Online. 
  4. ^ a b "Mkhize the man to watch as stalwarts in the ANC age". Business Day Live. 
  5. ^ "Total Exposure -". Total Exposure. 
  6. ^ " Africa: Dr Zweli Mkhize Investors Eyeing Africa, Georgia, Atlanta". 
  7. ^ a b Prince Ofori-Atta. "There is a strong need for redistribution in South Africa - Zweli Mkhize". 
  8. ^ du Plessis, Carien (30 April 2009). "ANC announces its premier candidates". IOL. Retrieved 1 May 2009. 
  9. ^ Independent Newspapers Online. "Mkhize resigns as premier". Independent Online. 
  10. ^ "Support new KZN premier - Mkhize". News24. 
  11. ^ Glynnis Underhill, Niren Tolsi. "NPA stays mum on premier's role". The M&G Online. 
  12. ^ "Zweli Mkhize must clarify involvement in Intaka scandal - Steenhuisen - ARCHIVE - Politicsweb". 
  13. ^ Sapa, Staff Reporter. "DA questions Zweli Mkhize's R1.2m plane trip spend". The M&G Online. 
  14. ^ "Mkhize to pay back flight costs if asked". News24. 
  15. ^ "Zweli Mkhize says Hitachi windfall report is a lie - City Press". City Press. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Rethink possible on contracts". Independent Online. 
  18. ^ "Farmer's Weekly - Ninth Annual Highveld Nguni Club Auction".