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Mkhize criticises Ramaphosa-led administration, vents discontent about step-aside guidelines

Mkhize criticises Ramaphosa-led administration, vents discontent about step-aside guidelines
ANC presidential hopeful Zweli Mkhize (centre) joins singing supporters and delegates in Soweto ahead of the ANC National Conference this week, on 12 December, 2022. Mkhize has vowed to unite the party during his address to those in attendance. (Photo: Leon Sadiki)

The run-up to the ANC National Conference has seen candidates conduct last-minute campaigning to convince branches to vote them into leadership positions. During his address in Soweto to a small group of ANC members, National Executive Committee member and presidential hopeful Zweli Mkhize spoke on a number of issues facing the party and the country.

ANC National Executive Committee member Zweli Mkhize believes there is much discontent within the party about the step-aside guidelines. 

“We are unhappy about the step-aside guidelines. The guidelines have been amended without the input of branches,” he said. 

Mkhize was speaking during an engagement with branch members in Soweto on Monday evening, flanked by secretary general contender Phumulo Masualle and treasurer general nominee Mzwandile Masina. 

Everybody wants to rule the world: Zweli Mkhize’s ‘the more, the merrier’ belies the future ANC reality

The presidential hopeful stepped down from his position as health minister last year after facing corruption accusations.

Mkhize was first placed on special leave after a Special Investigating Unit report revealed that his family and close associates benefited from the allegedly irregular R150-million Digital Vibes communications tender. He then resigned but has yet to face any charges in connection with the allegations.

Zweli Mkhize

ANC presidential hopeful Zweli Mkhize (centre) in Soweto on on 13 December, 2022 ahead of the ANC national conference this week. (Photo: Leon Sadiki)

Step up or step aside

The initial resolution, introduced at the ANC’s 54th conference in 2017, states that members who have been accused, implicated or charged in relation to any criminal acts should step aside.

However, in 2020, the same year when suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule was arrested and charged for his alleged involvement in the Free State asbestos scandal, the guidelines were changed to only affect ANC members who have been formally charged.

Earlier in 2022, another amendment was made to block members who have been criminally charged from contesting leadership positions. 

Mkhize cleared of Digital Vibes wrongdoing – ethics committee uses letter but not spirit of code of conduct

Mkhize explains that he is part of the bloc which has contested how the rule has been implemented but adds that the party will always make decisions based on the will of the party majority.

You may be under the impression that this step aside was never challenged, it is untrue. We raised issues at the time the actual step aside was discussed and we said that it needs to go to the branches. It went to the branches and there were issues but never a process to deal with them. The reason why they are going for ratification at the conference is because we need the branches to close that issue. 

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“I raised the issue and I spoke in public. Normally there are always differences when we discuss issues at the NEC, it is allowed, it is normal,” he said.

Meanwhile, secretary general contender Masualle backed Mkhize and urged delegates to vote for him at the ANC’s 55th National Conference, set to take place from Friday until Tuesday.


“The ANC is not for sale, comrade delegates on your shoulders are the hopes of the ANC. When we go to the conference, we go by ourselves but it should not be for ourselves. I want to thank you in advance. I heard some of you say you want to shower me with presents for my birthday. The best present you can give me on the 20th of December is to emerge from that conference with a new president of the ANC, So we can see a different course for our country,” Masualle said.

Mkhize will be contesting for the seat of ANC president against incumbent Cyril Ramaphosa at the conference. The ANC branches have nominated Ramaphosa by an overwhelming majority for a second term with 2,037 nominations, while Mkhize only secured 916 votes. 

‘ANC should focus attention on improving the lives of citizens’

Mkhize lamented the poor state of affairs in the country, namely crime, unemployment and the energy crisis

“This conference should restore the effectiveness of the ANC and bring back economic prosperity … load shedding has become such an embarrassment,” he said. 

Zweli Mkhize

ANC presidential hopeful Zweli Mkhize joins singing supporters and delegates in Soweto on 12 December, 2022. (Photo: Leon Sadiki)

Mkhize believes the problem facing the country is due to the ANC not completing its historic mission of ensuring that the majority of South Africans are able to enjoy economic freedom.

“Majority of wealth lies in the hands of the minority. The historic mission of the ANC has still not been fulfilled. At this point, it is not time to give up. It is time to rescue our country through the ANC,” he said.

Both Masina and Mkhize spoke strongly against the full implementation of the Just Energy Transition, saying it would be unwise for the country to abandon coal completely for electricity generation.



Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • christo o says:

    Hmm. I guess the majority of wealth lies in the hands of the minority is still true. What I would be curious to know is how many of those hands of the minority changed skin colour from white to black in the past 3 decades? (I know it is 28 and a half years, but 3 decades have more poetic clout)

    • Biff Trotters says:

      It is true in almost every country that “Majority of wealth lies in the hands of the minority”, except that I would change {the} minority to {a} minority. In South Africa, to have everyone equally wealthy means to have everyone equally poor. But at least everyone will be equally unhappy. The trick, still to be perfected, is to pull people up rather than pull people down. Jobs Jobs Jobs.

  • Nic Campbell says:

    Where is the wealth that has been plundered from state coffers? Certainly not in the hands of the minority?

  • Katharine Ambrose says:

    This guy should give us all bad vibes. Naturally he dislikes the step aside rule. It’s meant for the greater good of party as well as of the country. Neither of those would interest a guy who presided over massive theft of essentials during the pandemic. Just another me me me polticok

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