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Jean Benjamin

Deputy Minister of Social Development

Tel: +27 12 312 7483

Ntombazana Botha is the Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture. She has strong people skills, which were in evidence at provincial and local government levels. In her former post, as deputy minister of provincial and local government, Botha started the Women in Local Government programme, aimed at helping female councillors overcome past disadvantages and take a leadership role in development at local government level. Botha helped establish the United Democratic Front in the Border region of the Eastern Cape in 1983. She served as vice-chairperson of the Eastern Cape NGO Coalition in 1996 and 1997, and joined Parliament in July 1997. From 1991 to 1997 she was coordinator for the Lawyers for Human Rights paralegal training project at regional, provincial and then national level.

Thoko Didiza

Minister of Public Works

Tel: 012 337 2255

Thoko Didiza was pointed Minister of Public Works in May 2006 after the death of Stella Sigcau. Until then, she was minister of agriculture and land affairs, a tenure that began in 1999. She started her career in government as deputy minister of agriculture in 1994. Born in Hammersdale, she matriculated at the famous Ohlange High School in Durban, established by African National Congress founder John Dube, and then completed diplomas in personnel training, public relations, journalism and financial management. She worked as a legal secretary at Mafuka Mbuli and Company, as a receptionist at the Diakonia Ecumenical Church Agency and as the national deputy general secretary of the South African Council of the Young Women’s Christian Association. She started her political career as a member of the ANC Youth League and was one of only two members of the league who made it on to the party’s national executive committee at the 1997 Mafikeng congress.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Tel: +27 12 351 0006

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma took over the portfolio of Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1999. A native of KwaZulu-Natal, she studied at the University of Natal’s medical school, during which time she also served as vice-president of the South African Students’ Organisation. She went into exile and completed her medical degree at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom. She also held various posts as a doctor in that country between 1978 and 1980 and again from 1987 to 1989. Dlamini-Zuma also served as an African National Congress doctor in Swaziland before returning to South Africa in the early 1990s. She has had positions on many boards, including deputy chairperson of the United Nations Aids Board, member of the National Aids Coordinating Committee of South Africa, trustee of the Health Systems Trust and a member of the Centre for Social Development Studies board. Dlamini-Zuma stepped into Parliament as health minister after the 1994 election.

Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi

Minister of Public Service and Administration

Tel: +27 12 314 7368

Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi heads the Ministry of Public Service and Administration, a portfolio that needs tough leadership — and Fraser-Moleketi is one of the more tough-minded members of the Cabinet. Her studies at the University of the Western Cape were interrupted in 1978 when she went into exile in Zimbabwe. She completed a three-month military training course in Angola before attending special commanders training in the Soviet Union in 1982. She returned to Zimbabwe to serve in the leadership of the South African Communist Party and played a role in its relaunch in South Africa in 1990.

She served as minister of welfare when the National Party pulled out of the government of national unity, and in 1999 the mantle of minister of public service and administration settled on her shoulders. She is also the chairperson of the public service anti-corruption strategy and has led a negotiation process of the African Union Convention on Combating and Preventing Corruption, as well as the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

Nomatyala Hangana

Deputy Minister of Provincial and Local Government

Tel: +27 12 334 0827

Nomatyala Hangana left the Western Cape housing department in shambles when she took up the position of Deputy Minister of Provincial and Local Government. Many in the province privately expressed disappointment that the former chairperson of Parliament’s housing committee did not rise to the challenge when given the chance to put policy into practice. Hangana had been redeployed to the province from Parliament, where she had served since 1994, after the African National Congress-New National Party provincial government took control at the end of 2001. Politically, she is closely linked to the ANC Women’s League, having served in the league’s Western Cape and national structures. In August 2003, she was re-elected to the national executive committee and also serves on its national working committee. Originally from the Eastern Cape, she obtained a paralegal diploma in 1982 and worked at the Legal Resources Centre in Cape Town before moving on to the Athlone law firm then run by Bulelani Ngcuka and SM Matana.

Lindiwe Hendricks

Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry

Tel: 012 3368733

Lindiwe Hendricks joined the Ministry of Water Affairs and Forestry in May 2006 after a Cabinet reshuffle brought on by the death of public works minister Stella Sigcau. She is not new to being deployed in this way: her previous post as minister of minerals and energy came as a result of a 2005 Cabinet reshuffle in the wake of Jacob Zuma’s dismissal and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka’s promotion to deputy president. Before that move, Hendricks was deputy minister of trade and industry, a position she had held since 1999. A lawyer, Hendricks earned both a BProc degree and an LLB from the University of Fort Hare. While in Parliament, she was a member of the justice and constitutional development committee and the joint standing committee on intelligence. She has done pioneering work in initiatives such as the South African Women Entrepreneurs Network. She joined the African National Congress in the 1980s and over the years has held a variety of positions at branch level.

Loretta Jacobus

Deputy Minister of Correctional Services

Tel: 012 307 2933/2324

Loretta Jacobus was appointed Deputy Minister of Correctional Services in February 2006 after the resignation of the incumbent, Cheryl Gillwald. An MP since 1999, when she became a permanent delegate of the Gauteng Legislature in the National Council of Provinces, she has served on various committees, including the select committee on education and recreation, the sub-committee on delegated legislation and the joint committee on international relations. In 2004, she became a member of the National Assembly. She has chaired the portfolio committee on arts and culture and has served on both the foreign affairs portfolio committee and the sub-committee on international relations. Jacobus holds a diploma in social welfare and has worked for the National Union of Mineworkers of South Africa and the Macro Economic Research Group. She has a strong political background and is still an active member of the Johannesburg East African National Congress branch.

Brigitte Mabandla

Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development

Tel: +27 12 315 1760

Brigitte Mabandla’s arrival in the Justice Ministry in 2004 was long-expected. An academic lawyer, her appointment in 1995 as deputy minister of arts, culture, science and technology had come as a surprise. She had been a member of the African National Congress’s negotiating team at the Convention for a Democratic South Africa, and had been working at the Community Law Centre of the University of the Western Cape. In 2003, she took up the post of minister of housing — a second detour. Mabandla left South Africa in the 1970s and earned an LLB degree at the University of Zambia. She lectured in law in Botswana until she became legal adviser in the ANC’s legal and constitutional affairs department in Lusaka. She serves on the boards of several trusts concerned with the welfare of children, including the Grassroots Early Childhood Education Project and the National Committee for the Rights of Children.

Rejoice Mabudafhasi

Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism

Tel: +27 12 310 3898

Rejoice Mabudafhasi, Deputy Minister of Environmental ­Affairs and Tourism since 1999, played a lead role in dealing with “brown” issues such as air pollution, occupational health, waste and sanitation. When environmental justice activists gathered in protest, it was Mabudafhasi who went to talk to them — and who sometimes joined them in their protests. Born in 1943, African National Congress stalwart Mabudafhasi has been a teacher, unionist and activist in Limpopo. She has been an MP since 1994, and a member of the portfolio committees on safety and security, environmental affairs and tourism, labour, agriculture, and water and forestry. She also sits on the boards of various local and international organisations charged with environmental protection.

Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge

Deputy Minister of Health

Tel: +27 12 312 0703/0924

Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge has put South Africa’s Aids policy to rights. While her minister was on extended leave of absence, she worked to build bridges with civil society and open up the political space to secure a new strategic plan to fight Aids. Appointed as deputy minister of health in 2004, she was instrumental in her first Cabinet post, as deputy minister of defence from June 1999, in ensuring that the defence force introduced a comprehensive prevention and treatment plan for HIV-positive members. She also opened the first HIV/Aids clinic at One Military Hospital in Pretoria. She has been a member of the South African Communist Party since 1984. Her work with gender organisations led to her election as chairperson of the African National Congress parliamentary women’s caucus, and she has co-authored South Africa’s report to the United Nations for the 4th World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in 1995.

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula

Minister of Home Affairs

Tel: +27 12 810 8941

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula is one of the African National ­Congress’s rising stars. Formerly deputy minister of home ­affairs, she was appointed to head the Ministry of Home ­Affairs in 2004. A qualified teacher, Mapisa-Nqakula started her political career as a founder member of the East London Domestic Workers’ Association in 1982 before leaving the country in 1984 to undergo military training in Angola and the Soviet Union. The ANC appointed her to a commission that investigated unhappiness within Umkhonto weSizwe ranks in the 1980s.

She returned to South Africa in 1990 to help the movement rebuild its structures, and was elected Women’s League organiser in 1991. Elected to Parliament in 1994, she was appointed chairperson of its joint standing committee on intelligence. When chief whip Tony Yengeni was forced to resign his post pending investigations into bribery allegations in connection with the arms deal, she replaced him as chief whip. She was appointed deputy chairperson of the ANC parliamentary political committee in 2001.

Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri

Minister of Communications

Tel: +27 12 427 8511/8005

Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri has had a difficult and controversial six years as Minister of Communications. The track record of the former Free State premier and the performance of her department have been underwhelming. Before her premiership, she was the first woman and first black person to chair the SABC. Known as one of the more favoured exiles in the corridors of power, Matsepe-Casaburri returned to South Africa in 1990. Born in 1937, she earned a degree at the University of Fort Hare, taught in KwaZulu-Natal for two years, and moved on to Swaziland. In the 25 years she was in exile, she obtained a PhD in sociology from Rutgers University in the United States, and worked for the United Nations Institute for Namibia in Lusaka. On her return she was appointed executive director of the Education Development Trust, working with the National Education Crisis Committee and became involved in the internal politics of education and youth development.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

Deputy President

Tel: +27 12 300 5200/5271

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, who became Deputy President in June 2005, has moved to the centre of policy-making through her stewardship of the accelerated growth policy called Asgisa. Essentially, this is a targeted plan to achieve a growth spurt of 7% a year to cut unemployment in half by 2014. The jury’s out on whether Asgisa will meet its targets, though few will deny that Mlambo-Ngcuka is an energetic steward. With the Deputy Health Minister, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, she was also instrumental in overhauling the moribund SA National Aids Council, which will now attempt to ensure that the country catches up in the fight against Aids. Before taking up her current posting, Mlambo-Ngcuka had quietly slipped into her portfolio of minerals and energy in 1999, succeeding Penuell Maduna, and eventually totally eclipsing him in that role.

Naledi Pandor

Minister of Education

Tel: +27 12 312 5501

Naledi Pandor has a struggle pedigree and education credentials that made her a welcome appointment as the new Minister of Education in 2004. Pandor is the granddaughter of the famed ZK Matthews, the first African to register at, and to gain a degree from, a South African university. Her father, Joe Matthews, was also a struggle stalwart, and a life of exile from 1961 until 1984 resulted in a decidedly international flavour to her education. Her education credentials include a certificate in education from the University of Botswana and Swaziland in 1977, and a diploma in education and an MA degree from the University of London in 1978.

She concluded her formal education with a master’s in general linguistics from Stellenbosch University in 1997, while she was still serving as an MP (she joined Parliament in 1994). Pandor has experience in positions of authority, including deputy chief whip of the African National Congress in the National Assembly from 1995 to 1998. She went on to become deputy chairperson of the National Council of Provinces in 1998 and its chairperson a year later.

Susan Shabangu

Deputy Minister of Safety and Security

Tel: +27 12 393 2814

Susan Shabangu is the Deputy Minister of Safety and Security, a position she has held since 2004. Before that she was deputy minister of minerals and energy. Shabangu’s pre-1994 life concentrated on women’s and trade union issues. She was assistant secretary for the Federation of South African Women in the then-Transvaal in 1980, and was involved in the formation of the Release Mandela Campaign. In the mid-1980s, she became involved in the labour field as organiser and administrator for the Amalgamated Black Workers’ Project. She was national women’s issues coordinator for the Transport and General Workers Union, and was a member of the national women’s sub-committee for the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu). It was via Cosatu that she went to Parliament in 1994, and two years later was made deputy energy minister.

Lindiwe Nonceba Sisulu

Minister of Housing

Tel: +27 12 421 1311

As Housing Minister, Lindiwe Nonceba Sisulu has found her niche. She is clearly passionate about housing and while civil society has many complaints, she is the best housing minister South Africa’s had in years. Sisulu’s biggest tasks will be to eradicate shack settlements in the short term. A member of what is arguably South Africa’s best-loved family, the daughter of struggle icons Albertina and the late Walter Sisulu, Lindiwe Sisulu seemed set for stardom when she returned from exile in 1990. She worked in the African National Congress’s intelligence department and represented the ANC on the transitional executive council’s intelligence committee. It seemed a logical move, when she went to Parliament, to deploy her as chairperson of the parliamentary joint standing committee on intelligence. She has served as South Africa’s deputy minister of home affairs and as minister of intelligence.

Buyelwa Patience Sonjica

Minister of Minerals and Energy

Tel: 012 322 8695

Buyelwa Patience Sonjica took over the Minerals and Energy portfolio in a direct swap with Lindiwe Hendricks after the May 2006 Cabinet reshuffle. She had been minister of water affairs and forestry since 2004. An MP from 1994 to 1997, she was deputy minister of arts, culture, science and technology from 2003. Born in the Eastern Cape, she worked as a student nurse before training as a teacher. She obtained a BA from Vista University, majoring in English and Xhosa, and went on to gain a BA honours in Xhosa from Rhodes University. Inspired by the black consciousness movement, Sonjica became involved in student politics in 1976.

She joined the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union and was also active in the African National Congress and the ANC Women’s League. From 1994 to 1997, she served on the first parliamentary portfolio committee of arts and culture and then on a variety of other portfolio committees, including finance, trade and industry, and water affairs and forestry. She was ANC whip from 1994 to 1999.

Elizabeth Thabethe

Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry

Tel: +27 12 394 1480

Elizabeth Thabethe became one of two deputy ministers of trade and industry after the Cabinet reshuffle necessitated by Jacob Zuma’s sacking in June 2005. She ascended to the position from the chairpersonship of the portfolio committee on environmental affairs and tourism. An MP since 1994, Thabethe has sat on various parliamentary committees, including those on labour, trade and industry, rules and the chief whips’ forum. She is the current deputy chairperson of the African National Congress Women’s League in Gauteng, and has been involved in both the ANC women’s parliamentary caucus and the multiparty women’s caucus at Parliament.

Mantombazana Tshabalala-Msimang

Minister of Health

Tel: +27 21 328 477/5

Mantombazana Tshabalala-Msimang has been Minister of Health since 1999, enough time for her reluctance to provide anti-Aids drugs in the public health sector, and her repeated statements that the drugs are toxic, to have earned her many detractors. She was educated at Inanda Seminary in Durban and obtained a BA degree at the University of Fort Hare before leaving the country. She earned a medical degree at the First Leningrad Medical Institute in the Soviet Union, a master’s in public health from the University of Antwerp in Belgium, and a diploma in obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Dar es Salaam before returning to South Africa when the African National Congress was unbanned. In 1996, as an ANC MP and chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on health with a good reputation among activists for her stance on Aids, women’s health and primary healthcare, she was promoted to deputy minister of justice.

Susan van der Merwe

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Tel: +27 12 351 0150

Susan van der Merwe, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs alongside Aziz Pahad since April 2004, is a native of the Eastern Cape. After matriculating in 1971, Van der Merwe participated in a year-long American Field Service Scholarship Cultural Exchange before sitting for her BA degree at the University of Cape Town. She cut her political teeth in the Black Sash, where she worked in the advice office in Cape Town between 1988 and 1991; she was executive assistant at the Open Society Foundation of South Africa; and was a participant in the Mont Fleur scenario planning exercise between 1991 and 1993. She was elected to Parliament on an African National Congress ticket in 1996 and was ANC whip from 1999 to 2000. Between 2000 and 2004 she served as parliamentary counsellor to the president and sat on several parliamentary committees, including those of finance and intelligence.

Lulama Xingwana

Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs

Tel: 012 319 7155

Lulama Xingwana was given control of the Agriculture and Land Affairs portfolio after the May 2006 Cabinet reshuffle — a move that did not sit well with the agricultural unions. Before this, she was deputy minister of minerals and energy. Xingwana has been an MP since 1994 and has a passion for rural development and the status of women. Her political involvement appears to have come first via the Federation of South African Women, then the United Democratic Front and the African National Congress Women’s League. Xingwana has held a number of committee posts in Parliament, including the chair of the joint monitoring committee on the improvement of the quality of life and status of women. She has chaired the Southern African Development Community regional women’s caucus since 2002. Xingwana has also found time for postgraduate studies: diplomas in development and leadership and in rural development; and a postgraduate diploma in economic principles from the University of London.

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