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Zweli Mkhize. Picture: SANDILE NDLOVU
Zweli Mkhize. Picture: SANDILE NDLOVU

One of biggest ANC branches will campaign for former health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize to be elected ANC president at the party’s forthcoming 55th conference.

In video clips taken in the presence of Mkhize at KwaXimba, eThekwini region convener Bheki Ntuli says: “Khabazela [Mkhize] what is important is not what we say in front of you, but us going branch by branch engaging, discussing what we as ward 1 are proposing.”

TimesLIVE understands the gathering was an ANC Women’s League event.

“Comrades must come together and see how we take this forward until numbers are at a level we want.”

Ntuli implied that the strength and influence of the branch had previously been useful in Polokwane when former president Jacob Zuma was elected.

“When it’s time to elect leaders, this is one of the wards usually leading. I would like that even today we don’t end in speeches at the podium.”

Mbongi Hlonga, chair of the branch, endorsed Mkhize for the presidency.

“So comrades, we agree that in all the work that Khabazela [Mkhize] has done for KwaXimba as provincial chair, he is capable of being president of this country, of the ANC as we go to the 2022 conference.” 

He gave a glowing review of Zuma’s tenure, saying there are many programmes the former president implemented that were still visible after his term, unlike President Cyril Ramaphosa who will be remembered for “Covid-19 and the step aside policy of the ANC”.

“As we go to conference in December I want to be clear — this past five years is what I call wasted years because the president has done nothing in terms of the ANC resolutions we took.”

eThekwini councillor and former youth league leader in the region Thembo Ntuli, who is a member of the branch, said in their support for Mkhize they expected criticism, but also to be engaged by other members.

“I believe those with a different opinion must speak up, it’s only those who believe the organisation belongs to them who will see a problem with this.

“Khabazela [Mkhize], you are among the comrades that have been in the ranks of the ANC and understand the challenges the ANC faces today.”

The ANC NEC is yet to open its leadership discussion, but it is understood that discussions are under way in branches, regions and provinces across the country. Previously, some church and traditional leaders urged Mkhize to avail himself for the presidential position.

TimesLIVE

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