Mbalula sings Zweli Mkhize’s praises at ANC KZN rally | The Citizen

Mbalula sings Zweli Mkhize's praises at ANC KZN rally | The Citizen

Mbalula described Mkhize a ‘genuine’ ANC member who has never turned on the party.

African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Fikile Mbalula has praised disgraced former Health Minister Zweli Mkhize for remaining a member of the ruling party.

The governing party held a manifesto review rally at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday, where it faces tough 2024 elections for the first time since 1994.

Cabinet members present included Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu, Police Minister Bheki Cele and Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, who all hail from KwaZulu-Natal.

‘Genuine member of the ANC’

Addressing supporters, Mbalula said Mkhize was a model member of the ANC who never turned his back on the governing party.

The ANC secretary-general described Mkhize as a proper medical doctor and not a bogus one.  

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“I like him because he is still a member even after he lost after running for ANC president.

“He never left, this is a genuine member of the ANC,” Mbalula said to a loud round of applause from party supporters.

Pietermaritzburg is Mkhize’s hometown where he enjoys wide-ranging support from the ANC, traditional leaders and the churches.

Blessings from Shembe church

Mkhize resigned as minister in 2021 following the Digital Vibes tender scandal that many had believed had buried his political career.

He re-emerged ahead of the 2022 ANC elective conference, thanks to some KwaZulu-Natal branches and the now defunct radical economic transformation (RET) faction.

But his return, at least on the national stage, was short-lived when he suffered a blow and lost to President Cyril Ramaphosa at Nasrec.

After retreating back to his home province, the ANC NEC member made a comeback as he engaged with religious and traditional leaders.

READ MORE: Inside Shembe’s visit with Zweli Mkhize

Last week, the Nazareth Baptist Church, popularly known as Shembe, led prayers for the former minister at his home in Willofontein township.

The church’s spokesperson, Thokozani Mncwabe, told The Witness that the church is playing a central role in society.

“If you can recall, Inkosi Unyazi Lwezulu [Shembe leader] has in recent months been visiting several parts of the province as part of his mission to bless people and also end social ills.

“It’s therefore not surprising that he will be in Pietermaritzburg.  The visits show that the church is now playing a central role in society — something which everyone should support,” he said.