The ANC Treasurer-General Dr Zweli Mkhize last month announced that he will accept the nomination to be the next ANC president at the party’s December elective conference.

Mathekga says Mkhize could soon find himself in a position where the two front runners, Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, end up competing for him and having to offer him deals if he pushes his campaign further. He says that Mkhize is almost threatening the two front runners.

“This could serve as a strategy for him to be well placed, with regard to any position within the top six from position number two,” says Mathekga.

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He reckons that Mkhize made himself available for the top position after realising that he stood a chance, given that Dlamini-Zuma and Ramaphosa are not strong as the two front runners.

“Remember, [Mkhize] was earlier associated with Cyril Ramaphosa’s camp. When he starts saying that he is available on his own, the message that he’s sending out is that this thing is doable; ‘Why can’t I stand?’” says Mathekga, explaining that it is because of the perceived weakness of the front runners and, if the front runners are weak, people are going to raise their hands shortly before the conference.

“He realised that, look, maybe ‘I can even make myself attractive’ and he is showing that by taking this position,” he says.

“What is really shocking is that, at this point, you’re expecting to see people consolidating power – consolidating power in a sense that camps stand up, instead of people saying that they are available.”

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Asked about Mkhize’s campaign and his stance on state capture, corruption, radical economic transformation and unity within the ANC, Mathekga says that it’s anyone’s campaign.

“If he’s talking about state capture and corruption, clearly he is taking the anti-Zuma camp, he wants to position himself as an alternative to Zuma and he is trying to position himself as an alternative to what’s already under way.

“Does he have the credibility to do that? It is worth a shot and the bar is very low within the ANC leadership. Remember, this is the ANC that produced Jacob Zuma. What’s the worst that could happen?”

Mkhize was elected as the ANC’s Treasurer-General at the 53rd national conference in 2012.