Nomvula Mokonyane is South Africa’s current Minister of Water Affairs and Sanitation. She assumed office on the 26th of May 2014, preceding Edna Molewa.
Nomvula Mokonyane has led an impressive career of the years.
From the 6th of May 2009, she served as the Premier of Gauteng – making her the 5th ever Premier of Gauteng and the first ever female Premier of Gauteng.
She was elected during the South Africa’s general election in 2009.
She took over the role from Paul Mashatile and was succeeded by David Makhura on the 21st of May 2014.
Prior to that, she served as member of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature for a little over a decade, from the 27th of April, 1994 to the 25th of May, 2014.
She is a member of the African National Congress as well as the South African Communist Party.
Nomvula Mokonyane is also the Honorary President of SA-China People’s Friendship Association
Nomvula Paula Mokonyane was born on the 28th of June, 1963 in Kagiso.
Kagiso is a town located in the West Rand District of South Africa’s Gauteng Province.
‘Kagiso’ means ‘Peace’ in Tswana.
Tswana, Xhosa, Tsonga, Venda, Zulu and Sotho are just some of the languages spoken by Kagiso’s residents.
Nomvula Mokonyane is the youngest of twelve children – five brothers and six sisters.
She attended Masupatsela High School in Kagiso for her secondary education.
She got her certificate for Local Government and Planning Management and Community Development from Sweden.
She also garnered a certificate in Emerging Economics at Pennsylvania University’s reputable Wharton Business School.
Nomvula Mokonyane is also a Harvard Alum. She studied Leadership and Governance at Harvard University in the United States of America.
Nomvula’s political career started modestly as a student activist in the 1980s.
She started out as a member of the YCS – Young Christian Students, before going on to become one of the founding members of COSAS – Congress of South African Students.
She held several positions since then. She was the publicity secretary of United Democratic Front’s Krugersdorp branch.
She was also an organizer of FEDTAW – Federation of Transvaal Women.
FEDTAW was an organization that provided assistance to families of youth detainees in their struggle for democratic representation in student councils.
Because of her activism, she was frequently harassed by the police.
In 1990, after the lifting of the ban of political organizations, Nomvula Mokoyane became involved in the reestablishment of political powerhouses – African National Congress and South African Communist Party.
After this, Mokonyane served in different portfolio committees for the Gauteng Legislature.
In 1996, she was appointed as a Member of Executive Council for Agriculture, Conservation and Environment.
From 1999 to 2004, she also served as a Member of Executive Council for Safety and Liaison.
And from 2004-2009, she served again as a Member of Executive Council, but this time for Housing.
In 2007, at the ANC’s 52nd National Conference in Polokwane, She was elected as a member of National Executive Committee.
It was after this, she was elected as the first female Premier of Gauteng.
Nomvula Mokonyane has been married for decades to Serge Mokonyane.
Together, the couple has served as mentors to upcoming politicians like Reggie Nkabinde.
Unfortunately, in November 2010, the couple lost one of their children to suicide.
Their son – Retlabusa, who was 23 was found in a Johannesburg townhouse where he’d shot himself.
Prior to his death, Retlabusa (or Giggs, as he was known to his friends) had fallen in with a bad crowd and had more than eight police cases opened against him.
Assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm, abduction, driving under the influence of alcohol, arson and car thefts were some of the charges opened against him.
However, after being detained for attempting to steal to a vehicle, he was released from prison for ‘lack of evidence’. This sparked rumors that he was being protected by his powerful mother.
As a result of this, her political credibility in her fight against crime was threatened.
In the matter of Relabusa’s death, it was ruled that there was no foul play involved.
In 2015, Nomvula Mokonyane released a touching tribute to her son where she promised to always be proud of him.