Gwede Mantashe is a popular South African politician and trade unionist who is a senior member of the ruling party, the African National Congress. In fact, he serves as the National Chairperson of the party and is also a member of the presidential cabinet, serving as the Minister of Mineral Resources at the moment. Mantashe is also a member of the South African Communist Party.
Having started his trade union activities as far back as the early 1980s, Mantashe, who is now 66 years old, has been in the industry for several decades, steadily rising through the ranks to establish himself as one of the most recognized faces in South African. He is also renowned for his penchant for learning and the educational qualifications he has bagged over the years.
Profile Summary Of Gwede Mantashe
- Full Name: Samson Gwede Mantashe
- Date of Birth: 21 June 1955
- Age: 66 years old
- Place of Birth: Cala, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa
- Nationality: South African
- Marital Status: Married to Nolwandle Mantashe
- Education: the University of South Africa, University of Witwatersrand
- Occupation: Politician and trade unionist
- Political Party: South African Communist Party (SACP), African National Congress
Why Gwede Mantashe Is A Very Learned Man
Gwede Mantashe was born on the 21st day of June in 1955. The South African politician was born in Lower Cala, a town in Sakhisizwe Local Municipality, in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. This was where he grew up with his family.
Gwede Mantashe did not acquire higher education as quickly as most people would do. However, after he had graduated from high school, Mantashe, who understood the need to acquire maximum educational qualifications, proceeded to gain admission into the University of South Africa (Unisa) from where he graduated in 1997 with a Bachelor of Commerce degree at about 42 years of age. Not done, Mantashe proceeded to complete a B.Com Honours degree in 2002 from the same university. He was 47 years old when he bagged his B.Com Honours degree.
After bagging his B.Com Honours degree in 2002, Gwede Mantashe continued to further his education and enrolled in the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) where he bagged a Master’s degree in 2008. Mantashe was about 53 years old when he bagged his Masters’ degree in 2008. Several years later, in 2021, at the age of 66, Gwede Mantashe completed his Master of Business Administration (MBA) through the Management College of Southern Africa (MANCOSA). It is clear that Mantashe takes education very seriously. Despite his advanced age, he strives to acquire all the degrees he can lay his hands on.
Gwede Mantashe’s Exploits In Trade Unionism
It is noteworthy that long before he went to school to get his first degree, Gwede Mantashe had already started working to earn a living for himself and was involved in trade unionism. In the 1970s, he worked in the mining industry after joining the migratory labor force. Mantashe’s experience in the mining industry began in 1975 at the age of 20 when he joined Western Deep Levels mine as a Recreation Officer.
Shortly after he joined Western Deep Levels mine in 1975, he moved to Prieska Copper Mines in the same year. At Prieska Copper Mines, Mantashe worked as a Welfare Officer and continued in that position until 1982 when he was about 27 years old, after which he left the place. In 1982, the same year he left Prieska Copper Mines, Mantashe moved to Matla Colliery in Mpumalanga Province. It was there that his trade unionism began. Records show that shortly after he moved to Matla Colliery, Mantashe co-founded the trade union called the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) along with South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, and some other persons. He then proceeded to serve as chairperson of the Witbank branch of the trade union. Mantashe held this position until 1984.
In 1985, when he was about 30 years old, Gwede Mantashe was elected as the Regional Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers because of his really efficient work ethic. Later, in 1988, he rose to become the National Organiser of the union in recognition of his great skills. He held this position until 1993. Mantashe, in 1993, became the Regional Coordinator of the NUM, a position he held until 1994.
In 1994, Mantashe was elected to serve as the Assistant Secretary-General of the National Union of Mineworkers. He held this position until March 1998. Eventually, Mantashe was elected as the General Secretary of NUM at the union’s congress in 1998 when he was about 43 years old and had just bagged his first degree. Mantashe would hold this position for many years until the union’s 12th National Conference held in May 2006 where he was succeeded by Frans Baleni.
His Political Footprints
Having risen steadily to prominence as a trade unionist, Gwede Mantashe decided to venture into politics in 1995. That year, he was elected Councillor in the Ekurhuleni Municipality. Mantashe served as Councillor until 1999. Interestingly, in 1995, the same year he was elected as Councillor, Mantashe also made history as the first trade unionist to be appointed to the Board of Directors of a Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed company, namely Samancor. He still occupies this position.
In 2006, he was appointed as the Executive Director of Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA). He then went on to serve for two years as the Chairperson of the Technical Working Group of the Joint Initiative for Priority Skills Acquisition (JIPSA). About a year later, in 2007, he got elected as the Chairperson of the South African Communist Party (SACP). He was also chosen to serve as a member of the Party’s Central Committee.
In December 2007, during the 52nd National Conference of the African National Congress, Gwede Mantashe got elected as the Secretary-General of the party. In 2012, Mantashe was re-elected to the same position as Secretary-General of the ANC.
What Is Gwede Mantashe Up To At The Moment?
Gwede Mantashe is now the National Chairperson of the African National Congress. The politician and trade unionist got elected into this position in 2017 during the ANC’s 54th National Conference. He was 62 years old at the time he became National Chairperson of the ANC.
At the moment, Mantashe is also a member of the presidential cabinet, serving in the capacity of a minister. Gwede Mantashe was appointed as Minister of Mineral Resources by the South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, on the 26th of February 2018, during a cabinet reshuffle.