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Dr Zweli Mkhize: A brief profile on the man leading SA's fight against Covid-19

Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Apr 9, 2020


Johannesburg - Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has been at the forefront of South Africa's fight against the Covid-19 coronavirus and his leadership during the crisis has been commended by many.

Mkhize has been commended for his skills and transparent communication which has brought relief to some as the cases of confirmed infections have continued to rise in the country. There has also been some measure of criticism.

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Here's a brief history of the man leading South Africa's fight against the Covid-19 coronavirus:

Mkhize's appointment as health minister by President Cyril Ramaphosa in May 2019 came as no surprise to many has he holds a degree in the medical field. 

He previously served as the minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs briefly from 2018 until the 2019 general elections. 

Before that, he had served as the ANC treasurer-general based at the party's headquarters at Luthuli House. He had held the position since 2012 until the party's elective conference in December 2017.

Mkhize had also served as KwaZulu-Natal premier from May 2009 until 2012. 

He has also served two terms as ANC chairperson in the province in 2008. 

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The minister had also served as MEC for Finance and Economic Development in KZN since 2004. He was also the chairperson of the ANC's National Education and Health subcommittee. 

Mkhize was the longest-serving MEC for Health, having served in the position in KZN for over a decade.

He also served two four-year terms as chancellor of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

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Like many political struggle activists, Mkhize had started his activism at a young age. He was born and raised in Willowfountain in Pietermaritzburg and obtained a medical degree at the age of 26 at the University of Natal.

He worked as an intern at McCord Hospital and was then later employed at Edendale Hospital in KZN in the early 1980s. He was later forced to flee into exile due to his political activities. His time in exile was spent in Swaziland and later in Zimbabwe.

Mkhize returned to the country in 1991 and served as a member of the ANC's national health secretariat, Parliament's website states.

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