New head at COGTA

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) member Zweli Lawrence Mkhize will steer the ship as Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA).

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced changes to the National Executive on Monday evening which, he said, was a balancing act that would allow for renewal, economic recovery and accelerated transformation.

“As indicated in the State of the Nation Address, we have begun a review of the configuration, size and number of national Ministries and Departments. We will retain the existing Ministries and Departments until that review is completed,” he said.

The new COGTA Minister will take over from his predecessor former Minister Des van Rooyen who was elected by former President Jacob Zuma.

Minister Mkhize is not entirely new to the public service having served as a Premier in his home province, KwaZulu-Natal from 2009 to 2013.

Prior to his appointment as Premier, Minister Mkhize served as the Health MEC for KZN from 1994 to 2004. He then went on to become the Finance and Economic Development MEC in the same province from 2004 and 2009.

It was during this time that he held the position of Chairperson of the ANC's National Education and Health Sub-Committee and was leader of Government Business in KwaZulu-Natal between 2004 and 2009.

Born on the 2 February 1956 in Willowfontein, Pietermaritzburg, the now 62-year-old Mkhize boasts an illustrious political career.

At the height of his political career, Mkhize was elected as the Treasurer General of the African National Congress at the 53rd National Conference in Mangaung from 2012 to 2017.

Prior to serving as the Treasurer General of the ruling party, he led KZN as the ANC’s Provincial Chairperson from 2008, a position he was re-elected into in 2012.

Dr Zweli Mkhize has been Chancellor of the University of KwaZulu-Natal since 2009.

A medical doctor by profession, Minister Mkhize graduated with an MBChB degree from the University of Natal now University of KwaZulu-Natal in 1982.

In 1983, Minister Mkhize did his internship at McCords Hospital in Durban before being employed at Edendale Hospital in his hometown, Pietermaritzburg.

In 1986, he went into exile and continued with his medical practice in Swaziland and Zimbabwe. He returned to South Africa in 1991 to work at Themba Hospital in the Eastern Transvaal.

Upon his return from exile, in 1991, he started his private practice in Pietermaritzburg. It was at that time he began to play a pivotal role in the process leading towards the establishment of a democratic government.

Between 1991 and 1994, Minister Mkhize served as a member of the ANC's National Health Secretariat, the structure that was tasked with the responsibility of developing the country's health policy.

Minister Mkhize co-founded the Regional Health Forum and became a member of the National Health Forum.

He played a pivotal role in the successful hosting of the 2010 World Cup Soccer tournament as the Chairperson of the 2010 World Cup Political Oversight Committee between 2006 and 2010.

Minister Mkhize will first be sworn in as a Member of Parliament in Cape Town today before assuming his position as the COGTA Minister. –

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