Gwede Mantashe is the current Secretary General for the African National Congress.
He succeeded Kgalema Motlanthe as Secretary General in 2007. His current Deputy is Jessie Duarte.
He is also the South African Communist Party’s former chairperson.
Gwede Mantashe was born on the 21st of June, 1955 in Cala in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province.
Mantashe has risen steadily through South Africa’s political ranks over the years to become one of the most powerful men in the country.
He has gained a reputation for not being one to shy away from conflicts; as a result this has put him at odds with many other politicians and has made him the subject of many news headlines.
Gwede Mantashe is currently married to Nolwandle Mantashe, a business woman and CEO of Tamborah Resources.
Tamborah Resources has listed the desire to supply power nationally as one of their goals.
Unfortunately, several of Nolwandle Mantashe’s business practices has been called into question; she has been criticized for using her proximity to her husband to garner business favors and government contracts.
However, the business tycoon responded to the accusations saying, “I do not rely on political connections to do business but on capable black and white people.”
The couple has four children – two girls (Chuma and Mbasa) and two boys (Kamva and Buyambo).
Buyambo is a proud farmer who hopes to one day become the ‘South African ambassador of black farming’.
Buyambo Mantashe also hopes to acquire a Masters degree in Agribusiness in China.
Gwede Mantashe went to primary school in Cala, where he grew up. Then he moved on to Mantazima High School for his secondary education.
It was at Mantazima that his passion for activism began. He was also a member of the Student Christian Movement at school.
He completed his bachelor’s degree at the University of South Africa in 1997 with a degree in Communications. He further received an Honours degree in Communication in 2002.
In 2008, he completed his masters’ studies from the University of Witwatersrand.
Gwede Mantashe has held several posts over his career as a politician in South Africa.
He served as the Secretary General for the National Union of Mineworkers until he was succeeded by Frans Baleni in May 2006.
In 1995, he became the first ever trade unionist to be appointed to a JSE listed company’s board of directors when he was appointed to Samancor’s board of Directors.
He also served as the chairperson of the Joint Initiative for Priority Skills Acquisition’s Technical Working Group for two years.
He is presently a member of the South African Communist Party where he served as chairperson till July 2012.
In 2007, he was elected as the African National Congress’s Secretary-General at the ANC’s 52nd National Conference.
Gwede Mantashe has been a constant in the recent rounds of the latest news in South Africa after stating that he would shut down universities for six months just to teach student protestors a lesson.
Many have called his statements reckless and inconsiderate as he made this statement in response to students demanding free education for the poorer students, or at the very least – a fee reduction.
He went on further to say, “I’m not the minister of education. Because if I was, my first reaction would be to close them. For 16 months. And open them after six months, and close the residences for six months. After a year, people will know higher education will be important for their future. You are not doing anyone a favour by studying.”
Well, thank goodness he isn’t the Minister of Education.
Apparently a believer in the ‘tough love’ mantra, Gwede Mantashe stated that this would be for the best interest of the students.
He went on to state that free education – i.e. scholarships – should not be considered a right but should be earned on merit basis.
Gwede Mantashe stated that if he didn’t have money to send his children to school, he would rather sell cattle and pay for their fees instead of demanding free education.
He further stated, “If we destroy universities, we are not going to have them tomorrow and the dream of free education for the poor will fly through the window.”