15 September 2017

South Africa: Could Zweli Mkhize Take the Number One Spot? and If He Did... Then What?

Photo: African National Congress
Zweli Mkhize, Treasurer-General of the African National Congress and presidential aspirant

Reports emerged this week that the ANC in Mpumalanga was going to support ANC Treasurer Zweli Mkhize for the position of party leader in December. Coming in a week in which the party's KwaZulu-Natal leadership lost a crucial court case, and as divisions in the party deepen, it appears that a realisation is dawning of just how close the party could be to an irrevocable split. Coming with that realisation is the search for candidates who can keep the party together, and get it over the existential hurdle that December is becoming. This means it may be time to consider the possibility of Mkhize becoming leader of the ANC, and then President of South Africa. On the national campaign trail he may be the one person who could bridge the urban/rural divide. But his Achilles' heel could well be the ANC itself, and whether he would be able to exert control over it.

At the start of the year it seemed overwhelmingly likely that Christmas Day would see either Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa or Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in charge of Luthuli House. At the time it seemed prudent to consider what would happen if either Ramaphosa or Dlamini-Zuma...

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