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Jeffery Thamsanqa Radebe

South Africa

Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development

More by user: aismail
Created: 12th May 2009
Modified: 12th May 2009
Professional Information
Professional Areas:
Government of South Africa
Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development
Working primarily in:
South Africa

Biographical Information
Jeffery Thamsanqa Radebe
(At a Glance)
Date of Birth: Feb/18/1953
Gender: male
Place of Origin: South Africa

Current Positions

    * Minister of Transport of the Republic of South Africa since 29 April 2004.
    * Member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the African National Congress (ANC) since 1991.
    * Member of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the African National Congress (ANC) since 1991.
    * Member of the SACP Central Committee.
    * Head of the ANC Policy Unit.
    * Board member of the Local Organising Committee of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup.
    * Honorary Colonel of the South African Air Force.

Academic Qualifications

    * B. jur degree, University of Zululand (1976).
    * LLM in International Law, Leipzig University (1981).
    * Studied at the Lenin International School, Moscow (1985).

Career/Positions/Memberships/Other Activities

    * Student activist
    * Joined the underground structures of the ANC during the student uprisings (1976).
    * Served legal articles in Durban (1976).
    * Left for Mozambique on instruction of the ANC (1977).
    * Radio journalist with Radio Freedom, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (two years).
    * Worked for the ANC's International Department, Zambia.
    * Created underground ANC and South African Communist Party (SACP) structures inside South Africa from Lesotho, giving political direction to activists.
    * Underwent military training with Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK).
    * Arrested in Johannesburg and convicted under the Terrorism Act. His 10 year sentence was reduced to six years on appeal (1986).
    * Active in the ANC's political department in Robben Island. Head of the department by the time he left Robben Island. Released after organising a successful 12-day hunger strike to speed up the release of political prisoners (1990).
    * Member of the Business Trust (1998 - 2003).
    * Member of the Ex Political Prisoners Committee (1995).
    * Project Co-ordinator for the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (Nadel) (1990 - 1991).
    * Elected Deputy Chairperson of the ANC, Southern Natal Region (1990).
    * Chairperson of ANC's Southern Natal Region (November 1991 - 1994).
    * Secretary of the SACP's interim Leadership Core (1990 - 1991).
    * Served on the Natal Regional Dispute Resolution Committee (1991 - 1994).
    * Minister of Public Works of the Republic of South Africa (1994 - 16 June 1999).
    * Chairperson of the Regional ANC Peace Forum (1991 - 1994).
    * Chairperson of the Nelson Mandela 80th birthday Committee (1998).
    * Minister of Public Enterprises of the Republic of South Africa (17 June 1999 - 28 April 2004).


    * Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters, by Chicago State University (1996).
    * Leucospermum flower named Radebe Sunrise (23 October 2005).
    * Awarded an Honorary Colonel by SA Air Force, Mobile Deployment Wing (2006).

Source: Ministry of Transport


MInister of Transport
Former Minister of Public Enterprises
Former Minister of Public Works


  • ANC National Executive Committee, 
  • ANC National Working Committee, 

The ordinary person's need for a meaningful and worthy life is at the heart of Jeff Radebe's philosophy. For him a reborn South Africa must fundamentally change people's lives for the better, allowing them to forget the violence of apartheid.

Radebe has wide experience as a political educator, where he keeps the focus on democracy. He emphasises that accountability at every level and responsibility to the majority are the keys to good politics.

Radebe's work aims at bringing peace to the Natal region, and he serves on the Natal Regional Dispute Resolution Committee and is chairperson of the regional ANC Peace Forum. He was also secretary of the SACP's ILG during 1991. He was born on February 18 1953 in Cato Manor where the family lived until one rainy day in 1958 when they were evicted to KwaMashu. Radebe remembers how police vehicles roamed up and down all over the township during the 1960 State of Emergency while the whole community sang the national anthem.

At Zululand University, where he was studying law, he exhausted his involvement in black consciousness. However, BC introduced him to political activism. He and fellow students read avidly, and were largely inspired by Malcolm X, Angela Davis, Martin Luther King, Fidel Castro and Albert Luthuli.

The liberation of Mozambique and the inspiring message of Radio Freedom gave a powerful boost to their commitment. In 1976 Radebe served legal articles in Durban. During the student uprisings he joined the ANC underground.

In 1977 the ANC instructed him to leave for Mozambique. After two years as a radio journalist with Radio Freedom in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, broadcasting back into South Africa, Radebe began studies in law at the Karl Marx University in Leipzig.

In 1981 he received his LLM in International Law. The next few years saw him living in Zambia, where he worked for the ANC's international department, and Lesotho, creating underground ANC and SACP structures inside South Africa and giving political direction to activists. He also underwent military training with MK in this period.

In 1985 he spent a year at the Lenin International School in Moscow. Radebe records that his studies in Germany and the then USSR shaped a new outlook in him, which emphasised the global dimensions of economic and political change.

Then, in April 1986, Radebe arrived in Johannesburg from Lesotho on a secret mission. He calls this his least successful undertaking: he was not cautious enough and was arrested. Convicted under the Terrorism Act, his 10-year sentence was reduced to six on appeal. The appeal judge was Justice Richard Goldstone, to whom Radebe would testify seven years later during the Goldstone Commission of Inquiry into violence in Natal. On Robben Island Radebe was active in the ANC's political department. By the time he left he was head of the department. He was released in 1990, having organised a successful 12-day hunger strike to speed up the release of political prisoners.

His first job, after leaving Robben Island, was as Projects' Co-ordinator for the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (Nadel) until his election as chairperson of Southern Natal (ANC) in November 1991.

In Radebe's eyes there can be no political tolerance until the sources of violence have been rooted out.

He has two children, Vukani and Mandisa.

He was appointed minister of Public Enterprises by the new President of SA, President Thabo Mbeki (since June 1999)


Source: ANC

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