“His resignation… will now afford him ample time and opportunity to concentrate on his functions and tasks as ANC treasurer general,” said African National Congress spokesman Jackson Mthembu in a statement.
“Between December 2012 and now, comrade Zweli has had to juggle between two positions, each with immense responsibilities, undoubtedly placing a strain on him as an individual.”
Mkhize was elected treasurer general in December at the party’s elective conference in Mangaung. A few months ago, he also stepped down as the ANC’s KwaZulu-Natal chairman. He announced his resignation as premier on Thursday morning.
“These resignations by comrade Zweli Mkhize are in adherence to our Constitution which stipulates that as treasurer general… he should be full-time at the ANC headquarters, Luthuli House,” said Mthembu.
Mthembu thanked him for the “immeasurable role” he played as premier since 2009.
“We are confident that comrade Zweli Mkhize will bring… diligence, commitment and the political astuteness that has always been his trademark [to Luthuli House]…”
Mthembu said the ANC executive committee in KwaZulu-Natal was tasked with identifying a new candidate for the premier post.
“The KZN ANC leadership will be expected to provide the national executive committee of the ANC with the names of three candidates from whom one will be selected…”
The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal praised Mkhize for his contribution.
A statement by the provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said Mkhize had not only eliminated the province’s R3 billion overdraft, but had also improved service delivery.
Democratic Alliance KwaZulu-Natal leader Sizwe Mchunu said the DA welcomed Mkhize’s resignation.
“KwaZulu-Natal needs a full-time premier. The DA has consistently made this point since Dr Mkhize was appointed as ANC treasurer general,” he said in a statement.
The party was not happy with the appointment of the province’s education MEC Senzo Mchunu as acting premier as “he has consistently incited political intolerance, particularly against the DA in the province”.
“We remain hopeful that today’s swearing in will herald a new approach from him, one which sees positive and active engagement with all political parties in the province,” Mchunu said.