Public sector: Parliament
Tel: +27 21 403 3619
Celia-Sandra Botha leads the official opposition in Parliament as party leader. She is from the Free State—her husband Andries is a former Free State leader of the party—and she has been an MP since 1999.
During her political career she has served as chairperson of the Democratic Alliance caucus in Parliament, she has been the DA leader in the National Council of Provinces and has sat on various parliamentary select and joint committees.
Botha is also the chairperson of the quarterly consultative forum, caucus chairs and the panel of house chairpersons (rotating).In addition, she is a member of the Chief Whips’ Forum, the joint monitoring committee on improvement of quality of life and status of women, the National Assembly Forum, the National Assembly programme committee, the parliamentary focus group on oversight and accountability, and the Parliamentary Villages board.
She also takes a keen interest in policy on women’s issues, the economy, African continental issues and human rights.
Tel: +27 21 403 2344
Democratic Alliance justice spokesperson Sheila Camerer became an MP in 1987. She has also been an attorney (1978 to 2003), a journalist (1966 to 1975) and a prosecutor (1965). Camerer matriculated in Pretoria and was awarded a BA LLB from the University of Cape Town.Her long career in Parliament has included posts in various cabinets (deputy minister of justice from 1993 to 1994 and in 1996 as a member of the New National Party) and she was leader of the New National Party in the National Assembly from 1997 to 1999. From 1999 to March 2003 she was chairperson of the NNP parliamentary caucus. After the alliance between the DA and the NNP turned sour, she joined the DA and was appointed its justice spokesperson. Camerer is a member of Parliament’s portfolio committees on justice and constitutional development, the improvement of the quality of life and status of women, the constitutional review committee and foreign affairs.
Patricia de Lille
Tel: +27 21 403 8698
Patricia de Lille is the president of the Independent Democrats, a political party she formed in 2003 after she left the Pan Africanist Congress, where she had been a member for 27 years. She began her career as a laboratory technician in the paint industry in Cape Town; in 1983, that led to her involvement in the South African Chemical Workers Union.In 1988 she was elected as national vice-president of the National Council of Trade Unions and two years later she was elected onto the national executive of the PAC. In Parliament she was appointed chairperson of the parliamentary committee on transport from 1994 to 1999, was a member of various portfolio committees and was also made the chief whip of the PAC. She serves on the boards of 10 organisations, including the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.She is also the chancellor of the Durban Institute of Technology.The outspoken De Lille was the first politician to expose corruption in South Africa’s controversial arms deal. She has been awarded the HIV/Aids activist award from the Canadian-based organisation, South African Women for Women.
Peggy Maud Hollander
National Council of Provinces
Tel: +27 21 403 3997
Peggy Maud Hollander is the deputy chairperson of the National Council of Provinces and the presiding officer of the NCOP. A member of the ANC, Hollander started her public service career as provincial minister of public works in the Northern Cape from 1994 to 1996.In 1999 she became the provincial minister of social services and population development for the province and was elected treasurer of the ANC’s regional executive committee (De Aar). From 2000 to 2004 she was the deputy speaker of the Northern Cape legislature and in 2005 was appointed presiding officer of the NCOP. In the same year, she became the chairperson of the council.Hollander is and has been a member of numerous committees, including the select committees on safety and security, justice, correctional service, housing and local government, the joint rules committee and the joint monitoring committee on the improvement of the status of women. She is also a member of the ANC’S NEC sub-committee on legislature and governance.
Tel: +27 21 403 2549
Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde has been deputy speaker since 2004. Before that, she was the chairperson of Parliament’s environmental affairs committee and played a key role in preparations for the 2001 World Summit on Sustainable Development. She initially planned to enter the legal profession, but her studies towards a BProc at the then University of Zululand were interrupted by the 1976 student protests.She was a teacher until 1981, when she started working at South African Breweries in Garankuwa. Mahlangu-Nkabinde has been involved in the ANC Women’s League for some time, and also serves on the ANC’s national executive committee. An MP since 1994, she served as whip for two years before being appointed committee chairperson in 1996.Since 1999 she has also been active in the Inter-Parliamentary Union. In 2006 Mahlangu received a certificate in leadership commmunication from the Rhodes Investec Business School Parliamentary Leadership Development Programme. From April 29 to May 4 this year, she led the South African delegation to the Inter-Parliamentary Union Congress in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia.
Tel: +27 21 403 2549
Baleka Mbete served eight years as deputy to the formidable Frene Ginwala before being named National Assembly speaker in 2004. She handles two tough jobs: in addition to her parliamentary duties, she was elected ANC chairperson at the party conference in Polokwane in December 2007.Mbete obtained a teaching qualification in 1973 and went on to teach at KwaMashu before going into exile in May 1976. She returned to South Africa in 1990 to join the ANC’s interim leadership. She was key to re-establishing the ANC Women’s League in the country and served as its secretary general from 1991 to 1993. After the 1994 election, as an ANC MP, Mbete became a key player in the Constitutional Assembly that drafted the 1996 Constitution.In 1995 she was appointed chairperson of the ANC parliamentary caucus and, in May 1996, deputy speaker. She became speaker in 2004. In 2005 she led the African Union mission to the Tanzanian elections and was appointed to the AU’s women’s committee in 2006. She was also appointed convenor of the Progressive Women’s Movement of South Africa at its launch in August 2006.
Tel +27 21 403 3510
The Democratic Alliance’s Dene Smuts had a 16-year career as a journalist before becoming a politician. Smuts was educated in Bloemfontein and was awarded a BA (Hons) from the University of Stellenbosch, where she became involved in student politics through the students’ representative council. In 1972 she joined Die Burger, after which she worked as a freelance journalist and then for Sarie magazine.From 1983 to 1987, she was editor of Fairlady and eventually ended her journalistic career as managing editor of Leadership. Smuts became an MP in 1989. She is also the author of three books: The Forgotten Highway (with Paul Alberts; Gallery Press), The System and the Struggle (Jonathan Ball) and The Purple Shall Govern (Oxford University Press).
African National Congress
Tel: +27 21 403 2911
Vytjie Mentor is an ANC MP who chairs the portfolio committee on private members’ legislative proposals and special petitions. Mentor reached national prominence when she helped a young parliamentary aide who brought sexual harassment charges against the party’s former chief whip, Mbulelo Goniwe. She is an outspoken proponent of women’s rights.Mentor, who is from the Northern Cape, also sits on the portfolio committee on education, the committee of chairpersons, the joint rules committee, the National Assembly rules committee and the committee on public service and administration. A qualified teacher, Mentor is a community development activist with a passion for education, health, women, children, the aged and the disabled.