Politicians are politicians. They tend not to answer questions. Not directly, anyway. So when The Cape Messenger asked African National Congress presidential candidate Dr Zweli Mkhize whether he believed that Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma had already been captured by South African mafia agents, he said there was no evidence of this
Zweli Mkhize did his best to convince his audience at the Cape Town Press Club that there were forces within the African National Congress that were plugging away at fighting corruption. Thus the top six – including himself – had called for investigations into state capture and corruption. Already there had been prosecutions against senior ANC leaders as well as various mayors – who were ANC representatives. He did not name them.
Did he believe that President Jacob Zuma is captured or was he just sitting on the sidelines while corruption occurred? Is his ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma already captured? These seemed obvious questions to ask.
The answers were given to a series of questions from journalists, which always gives politicians a way out. So he answered the questions about corruption and Zuma generically. He believed a judicial commission of inquiry would determine how the question of corruption – and state capture – would be dealt with, going forward. He did not answer the question on whether Zuma was guilty of any corruption.
But he did answer the question about Dlamini-Zuma directly. He said: “I don’t have any evidence to suggest that Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is captured. I don’t have evidence of that. We can raise our issues… (but) I would warn that we must deal specfically with facts that we have. I don’t have any facts to point in that direction.”
They had worked together as medical doctors, and within the ANC. He did not have any evidence “to classify her as such (as captured).”
Asked if he would hand over his tax returns to the public in the spirit of openness in public affairs, he said: “I don’t want to create a precedent. I don’t have a problem with it…” But he expressed reservations about whether anyone should be required to disclose their tax returns.
Asked if he had a “dream team” for an administration led by him – if he was elected president of the ANC and then president of the nation – he spoke out against slate politics where people were pre-selected. “The ANC has a wide range of capable leaders, all of whom could be moved to positions.”
The leadership of the ruling party should not be determined by “this is my friend, this is not my friend”.
But Mkhize – a former premier of KwaZulu Natal, and also outgoing treasurer-general of the party – acknowledged that the ANC had to do “a lot of work” to correct its weaknesses and to demonstrate self-correction. He was confident that things would be sorted out at the upcoming elective conference from the 16th to the 20th of December 2017. “This is going to be an interesting conference. It is a real democracy… you cannot be quite certain (of the outcomes of the votes). Delegates have their own minds and views. What they look at is who they think are best for the positions of leadership.”
Asked about whether he foresaw coalitions in South Africa’s future involving other political parties – such as the DA and EFF – Mkhize said he believed that no party went into the political terrain to lose elections or to forge coalitions.
He believed the ANC would take back the moral high-ground and implement the good policies which had defined it in the past. It would self-correct.
Asked about potential splits in the ANC, he said: “There has been a lot of talk about that. We want to handle this matter with sensitivity. No-one amongst us wishes to see the ANC split. We don’t want to see a split… we don’t want to see a recklessness in the management of the issues of the African National Congress…to give us unintended consequences … of the ANC splitting.”
He believed the new leadership elected in December would make “every effort” to prevent the ANC from splitting. It would not help the country, he believed. He referred to “lessons in the past” when the ANC had split. Although he did not mention Cope and the EFF, both these parties had split from the ANC in recent years.