Despite risks of arrest and disciplinary action threatening former health minister Zweli Mkhize’s bid for a top ANC leadership position, the campaign to have him nominated has intensified.
Led by the leadership of Mkhize’s ANC branch of Willowfontein in Pietermaritzburg, the campaign to have ANC branches nominate him for a top post, ahead of the organisation’s national conference, scheduled for December, is going ahead at full steam.
Sbu Mkhize, the chairperson of the former health minister’s ANC ward 14 branch in Willowfontein, told The Witness on Monday that support for the embattled former minister has been swelling in recent days.
Mkhize, who over the weekend confirmed that he will stand should ANC branches nominate him, is currently battling reports linking him to corruption.
The special investigative unit (SIU)’s investigative report on the Digital Vibes R150 million irregular contract awarded by the national Health Department claims that his family benefited from the tender.
They have reportedly also concluded another investigation where Mkhize has been cited.
According to a News24 report published over the weekend, the SIU investigation is into a R114 million security tender awarded by the KwaZulu-Natal Treasury Department in 2007.
Mkhize was KZN Treasury MEC between 2004 and 2009.
Since his resignation as health minister last year amid the Digital Vibes tender scandal, Mkhize has been holding meetings with traditional leaders, religious groups and ANC branch members.
The meetings sparked speculation that he is planning to contest for a senior ANC position at the December conference, and resulted in ruling party KZN provincial chairperson Sihle Zikalala accusing him of dividing the ANC in the province.
Some members of the ANC veterans league and the party’s national executive committee (NEC) are rumoured to be concerned that Mkhize has started campaigning even though the ruling party leadership is yet to declare the nomination process open.
However, Sbu Mkhize said accusations levelled at the former health minister were part of a “ploy” to prevent the embattled Mkhize from contesting for leadership positions within the ANC.