The debates at the 53rdcongress of the ANC have to date largely centred on the personalities and positioning of power. The focal position of Treasurer-General is being contested by two men withvarious and long histories with theANC. Zweli Mkhize was Finance MEC of KwaZulu-Natal and current Premier of the province and Paul Matshatile, a former Premier of Gauteng and current Minister of Arts and Culture.Paul Mashatile cut his teeth on youth politics in Alex Township in Johannesburg and later as part of the South African Communist Party. He worked his way through the ranks and became known – despite his protests – as one of the pivots of the Alex mafia.By 2007, he was Chair of a key King Making province, Gauteng, having been Finance MEC. His political obituary was prominently written post Polokwane particularly after he was promoted to provincial Gauteng Premier in the wake of his mentor Mbhazima Shilowa’s departure to form COPE.Rumours were rife that Matshatile would follow Shilowa if not for the offer of the premiership that he had longed for. The Gauteng Shared Services Centre (GSSC) was supposed to enable service suppliers to be paid more quickly. Instead it was perceived as a funnel for patronage and the furore has not entirely subsided.Matshatile bounced back by shrewdly backing Jacob Zuma and effectively mobilised the province behind JZ. Despite this, Nomvula Mokonyane was elected Premier in a game of political dominoes that many considered to be a wing clipping for the high Roller from Alex.Matshatile showed some tenacity and was appointed Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture and eventually Minister. The fact that he is in contention for position of Treasurer-General despite the lack of resolution on allegations of financial mismanagement is as important as the sort of vision that Matshatile can articulate to ensure financial sustainability of the ANC.It is an irony or perhaps a political strategy that his mentor and long term friend Tokyo Sexwale has withdrawn from the race for position of Treasurer –General.Zweli Mkhize served as provincial treasurer of KZN between 1994 and 1997 having qualified as a doctor in the 1980s. In contrast to Matshatile, he has served on the ANC NEC since 1997 and has been a staunch Zuma supporter describing Zuma as Father Figure. Dr. Mkhize then served as Health MEC between 1994 and 2004 and was then moved to Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. In this regard he has introduced the Provincial Growth and Development Strategy. Its intent is to provide natural resources, provide infrastructure and services, promote public sector leadership and delivery and accountability. There was some unhappiness regarding the construction and positioning of the King Shaka International Airport. Debate remains as to whether it has been successful as an enabler of KwaZulu-Natal’s vision to become a vibrant business node that creates successful alternatives to Gauteng and Western Cape.KwaZulu-Natal has been dogged by allegations of rot from within various departments most recently the education department. In addition the provincial finance development entity, Ithala, has been accused of being a slush fund for provincial politicians. In addition, the KZN government has not submitted a departmental performance assessment over 2011/2012. A tender appeals tribunal has been effected in response to concerns that a narrow coterie were being advantaged at the expense of transparent and accountable tender procedures.It is a profound and tragic situation when the two candidates for the position of Treasurer-General have largely checkered track records in articulating and implementing tangible economic development in their respective provinces and both carry a cloud of financial mismanagement and cronyism. At a time when the ANC’s coffers are finally approaching stability, it is surely a worrying indication of the level of cadre deployment and power factionalism that these considerations over ride the most inspiring candidates for the job and the ones who represent the strong stance against tender corruption that President Zuma expressed in his speech.Lebohang Liepollo Pheko is a political and economic analyst

– By ANALYSIS: Lebohang Liepollo Pheko, Political and Economic analyst