Daughter of Kagiso becomes premier

NOMVULA MOKONYANE is one of several new female premiers to be appointed following the recent elections. She comes with a wealth of experience.

Mogale City’s very own Nomvula Mokonyane will be sworn in as Premier of Gauteng on 6 May
Mogale City’s very own Nomvula Mokonyane will be sworn in as Premier of Gauteng on 6 May

AN activist from the dusty streets of Kagiso is set to ascend the highest political office in Gauteng – that of premier of the province.

Nomvula Mokonyane is the first female premier of Gauteng. She was appointed by the incoming president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, following the national and provincial elections on 22 April. The ANC won both the national elections and eight provinces.

Previously the Gauteng MEC for housing, Mokonyane is ready to tackle vigorously the corruption and crime that has gripped the province. Also on her to-do list is empowering small companies and strengthening the deteriorating health system in Gauteng.

Born in Kagiso on 26 June 1963, Makonyane has led a distinguished career, spanning nearly three decades in politics. She is one of Gauteng’s most experienced politicians, having served as MEC of safety and security, agriculture and environment, and, most recently, housing.

Her political career began in the early 1980s as a student activist. During that period she became a member of the Young Christian Students (YCS) and a founder member of the Congress of South African Students (Cosas). She was also the publicity secretary of the Krugersdorp branch of the United Democratic Front and an organiser of the Federation of Transvaal Women (Fedtaw), an organisation that supported the families of detainees and the youth in their fight for democratic student representative councils.

Because of her political activities, Mokonyane was continuously harassed and detained by the apartheid security police. After the unbanning of political organisations in 1990, Mokonyane was involved in the re- establishment of the ANC and SACP structures.

In 1994, she was appointed a member of the Gauteng Legislature, holding the position of chairperson of the Standing Committee on Housing and Local Government. In 1996, she was appointed MEC for agriculture and environment.

Mokonyane served as the MEC for safety and liaison from 1999 to 2004. During her tenure she was responsible for establishing a centre for the victims of sexual offences and domestic violence called Ikhaya le Themba, or Home of Hope in Braamfontein.

From 2004 to 2009, she served as an MEC of housing, during which time she spearheaded the development of women’s enterprises in the construction and housing sector.

Mokonyane studied local government and planning management and community development in Sweden. She completed a certificate course in emerging economics at the Wharton Business School at Pennsylvania University and studied leadership and governance at Harvard University.

She is married and is a mother of three.

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