Zweli Mkhize

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Zweli Mkhize
Zweli Mkhize.jpg
BornZweli Lawrence Mkhize
(1956-02-02)February 2, 1956
Willowfontein, Pietermaritzburg
ResidenceSouth Africa
NationalitySouth African
EducationDlangezwa High School
Alma materUniversity of Natal
OccupationMedical Practitioner
EmployerSouth African Government
OrganizationMinistry of Health
MovementAfrican National Congress
Spouse(s)May Mkhize (nee Mashego)

Zweli Lawrence Mkhize is a South African doctor, legislator and politician who has served as the Minister of Health since 30 May 2019. He previously served as the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs from 2018 to 2019. He was the 5th Premier of KwaZulu-Natal from 2009 to 2013. Mkhize is a member of the African National Congress and was the party's Treasurer-General between 2012 and 2017.


Zweli Mkhize was born on 2 February 1956 in Willowfontein, Pietermaritzburg. He is the fifth child in a family of seven children. He is married to Dr May Mkhize (nee Mashego). He matriculated from Dlangezwa High School. He completed his degree in medicine at the University of Natal at the age of 26. He completed his internship at the McCord Hospital in 1983. Mkhize found employment at the Edendale Hospital in Pietermaritzburg the following year. He was forced into exile in Swaziland but later settled in Zimbabwe where he continued with his medical practice. He returned to South Africa in 1991, and soon worked for the Themba Hospital in the former Eastern Transvaal.

He is the leader of Government Business in KwaZulu-Natal; member of the ANC's National Executive Committee (NEC); a Chairperson of the ANC's National Education and Health sub-committee and was Chairperson of 2010 World Cup Political Oversight Committee.[1]

Political Career

Upon his return to South Africa in 1991, Mkhize began serving the African National Congress as a member of its national health secretariat.

KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government

After the 1994 election, Mkhize was appointed as the KwaZulu-Natal MEC for health in 1994. He held the post for a decade, consequently becoming longest-serving health MEC in the country. In 2004, Mkhize was appointed the MEC for Finance and Economic Development in KwaZulu-Natal, whilst serving as the chairperson of the ANC's National Education and Health subcommittee.

He was chosen on 30 April 2009 to be the ANC candidate for Premier of KwaZulu-Natal. He was elected by the provincial legislature on 6 May after he defeated the DA's John Steenhuisen for the post. Mkhize received 68 votes compared to Steenhuisen's 7.

He was elected the provincial chairperson of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal in 2008. He was re-elected to a second term as chair in 2012. He served as the chancellor of the University of KwaZulu-Natal from 2009 until 2017.

Treasurer General of the ANC

Mkhize was elected as Treasurer General of ANC at the party's 53rd National Conference in December 2012. This post required the officeholder to work out of "Luthuli House," the ANC Headquarters as stated in the ANC Constitution 12.11 Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the Secretary-General, the Deputy Secretary-General and the Treasurer General shall be full-time functionaries of the ANC.

On 22 August 2013 Zweli Mkhize stepped down as Premier of KwaZulu-Natal stating, "After considering the workload associated with my two responsibilities, I have come to the conclusion that I need to spend more time fulfilling my responsibilities as the treasurer-general of the African National Congress." Mkhize would be based at ANC headquarters Luthuli House in Johannesburg full-time as from 1 September 2013.

On 18 December 2017, ANC Gauteng secretary Paul Mashatile was elected the new Treasurer General of the African National Congress at the 54th National conference.

National government

On 27 February 2018, Mkhize became the new minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, succeeding Des van Rooyen. He assumed the post of Health minister on 30 May 2019.

Presidential aspirations

In September 2017, Zweli Mkhize announced that he will accept the nomination to be the next President of the African National Congress at their December conference. He is known to play a unifying role in the party and has been vocal against factionalism in the ANC.

Mkhize on Covid-19 vaccine given to South Africans only

SA Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said the vaccine rollout would be limited to South African citizens only. He said government does not have the capacity to assist undocumented foreign nationals.

“No one will be forced to vaccinate. Actually, we will promote it, we will explain for people to know it’s beneficial and we would like people to take their own decision on that and when you take the vaccine you sign consent so it’s clear that you consented to it.

“All you need when you go is to show that you have got an ID. You are a South African registered voter. For those who are undocumented, we are not able to deal with that because at the moment we would like to be able to deal with people based on the SA registration. So at this point, we have no plan to deal with those that are not documented,” Dr Mkhize explains.[2]

Testing positive for Covid-19

Both Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize and his wife Dr May Mkhize tested positive for Coronavirus in October 2020. The minister who had been at the coalface throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, took to Twitter on Sunday 18 October 2020 night to inform the public, explaining he had started to show mild symptoms.

They both remained in quarantine at home.

"I wish to inform the public that this afternoon my wife, Dr May Mkhize and I have tested positive for COVID-19.

"We decided to go test yesterday when I started showing mild symptoms."

"I was feeling abnormally exhausted and as the day progressed, I started losing appetite. My wife had a cough, was dizzy and extremely exhausted. Given her symptoms, the doctors advised that she must be admitted for observation and rehydration."[3]

Tender Saga

Zweli Mkhize was placed on special leave by President Ramaphosa on Tuesday 8 June 2021 for him to "attend to allegations and investigations" about Department of Health service provider, Digital Vibes. The Special Investigating Unit was investigating the matter and the SA president was waiting for a report on the outcome of the probe. Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane will serve as acting minister of health. Mkhize was under pressure from some quarters to step aside, in the wake of the Digital Vibes contract scandal.

The company is owned by people Mkhize himself called "fellow comrades" and was awarded a contract worth millions of rand, which was flagged by the Auditor-General as irregular and potentially wasteful spending. It since emerged Mkhize and his son might have benefitted personally from the deal.[4]


  1. [1], South African Government, Accessed: 1 February, 2021
  2. [2], SABC News, Published: 30 January, 2021, Accessed: 1 February, 2021
  3. Barbara Friedman, [3], Capetalk, Published: 19 October, 2020, Accessed: 1 February, 2021
  4. , [4], Eyewitness News, Published: 8 June, 2021, Accessed: 8 June, 2021