Deputy Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services

Prof Hlengiwe Buhle Mkhize

Current Position

  • Deputy Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services

Immediate Past Positions

  • Deputy Minister of Economic Development from 12 June 2012 until May 2014.
  • Deputy Minister of Higher Education from 1 November 2010 to 12 June 2012.
  • Deputy Minister of Correctional Services from 10 May 2009 to 11 November 2010 and 
  • Ambassador of South Africa to the Netherlands from 2005 to 2008
  • Commissioner at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Chairperson of its Reparations and Rehabilitation committee from 1995 to 2003

Political

Prof Mkhize has been a champion for social justice and women and children’s rights for four decades. She has also been active in politics for that long. She entered the political arena while at Morris Isaacson High School through the South African Student Movement, which organised high school pupils against Bantu Education, in the 1970’s. Her commitment to political activism saw her lead students at the University of Zululand through the Students Christian Movement.

In the 1980’s she used her profession and academic background to intensify campaigns against apartheid, racism and state orchestrated violence. Her activism gave her the opportunity to pursue similar campaigns at the University of Illinois in Chicago in 1986, and the University of Mississippi in 1989. She was also an activist in the Release Mandela Campaign. During this period, she also worked with detainees and mobilised for the United Democratic Front.

Her leadership qualities have seen her being elected to serve as the Treasurer General of the ANC Women’s League and a member of its National Executive Committee since 2008. She also serves as a trustee of the Malibongwe Business Trust from 2005.

She has been active in the ANC leadership at branch level in Diepsloot and Sandton and was the ANC Zonal Chairperson for Alexander Township, Sandton and Johannesburg East.

Advocacy

  • Founder member and a trustee of the Children and Violence Trust
  • Chairperson of the June and Andrew Mlangeni Foundation
  • Chairperson of FAZE 2- Civil Society organisation after the World Conference Against Racism held in Durban from 2001 to 2005 
  • Chairperson of the Peace Commission of the South African Women in Dialogue since 2004
  • Member of the Peace Accord Secretariat and later a trustee of the National Peace Accord Trust from 1996 to 2004
  • Served as reparations officer in the President's fund located in the Ministry of Justice from 2003 to 2005
  • Board member of the South African Prisoner's Organisation for Human Rights from 1994 to 1995
  • Served in the National Conflict Resolution Centre Action Committee Against Violence from 1991 to 1995
  • Board member of the National Women's Resource Centre from 1993 to 1995
  • Board member of the Human Rights Foundation from 1993 to 1994
  • Served in the Goldstone Commission Committee on the status of traumatised children from 1993 to 1994
  • Served in the committee which was mandated to do preparatory work in the formation of a women's coalition from 1992 to 1993
  • Member of the Peace Accord Secretariat and later trustee of the National Peace Accord Trust from 1996 to 2004

International assignments

  • Chairperson of Transparency International, South Africa from 2004 to 2005 
  • Vice President of the Member States at the International Criminal Court at the Hague and the United Nations from 2006 to 2008
  • Chairperson of the Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons from 2005 to 2007

Academic Qualifications

  • Honorary Professor of Psychology from University of South Africa 
  • Registered for a PhD at the University of Natal for 5 years but did not defend the thesis due to political interruptions
  • Masters in Clinical Pychology from the University of Natal
  • Registered with the then Medical and Dental Council as a clinical psychologist

Academic experience

Prof Mkhize served as a Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the Council of the University of Zululand between 2001 and 2007, having started off as a member of the Academic Staff Association in earlier years. She lectured at the University of Zululand and was a lecturer and a researcher at the University of Witwatersrand. Prof Mkhize has published research in international journals such as International Journal of Medicine and Law and Women and Therapy.

Family History

Hon Hlengiwe Mkhize was born Ngobese, a clan based at Idlebe, Mahlabatini, on 06 September 1952. Her parents brought her up in Soweto where she completed her high school education at the progressive Morris Issacson High School. From her family teachings, she internalised Christian values, characterised by a strong sense of community service, equality and social justice.