Defend Truth

eelections24_stroke

Under 45 Club

Electoral competition is a good thing, a mark of democracy. But goodness, it can get noisy.  Elections by their nature, draw attention to that which doesn’t work – and in our country, that’s a long list of things. Party leaders lead campaigns and so our screens, phones and street lamps are festooned with images of the mostly older male leaders of the well-known parties and some smaller start-ups too.

What this macro picture hides is an exciting trend we’ve been watching: younger leaders are entering the political arena in unprecedented numbers. It is this trend we bring you today: our Under-45’s Club of younger candidates are changing the feel and promise of our election.

The Daily Maverick team has selected candidates under 45 and arranged them by party. This is not a full list of all young candidates but young leaders who have caught our eye and highlight an important trend. The picture it creates is of a much greater diversity of ideas, generation and gender than the national picture may suggest. Young leaders are changing the nature of the election campaign and our future. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed compiling it.

Prudence Mabasa

Born and raised in Brakpan, Prudence Mabasa (31) is a community chaplain, a youth minister, and the community development coordinator for the African Christian Democratic Party. 

Mabasa, who has been with the ACDP for the past five years, loves art and literature and was motivated to join the party through her active involvement in her community. 

“I saw that there was a lack of morality when it came to the politics that were being implemented and I was like, where is the voice for the Christian people, where is the voice of morality in our community, and that’s why I got into politics,” she said. 

Her journey has not been without its challenges. She was orphaned at a young age, a life-altering event that she says shaped her and also contributed to her joining the ACDP. 

“The only person who saw me was God, and I want to be like that person for someone else, that helper for them, to be like, hey, you’re not alone, you’ve got an older sister in the community,” she said. 

Mabasa also volunteered at the Brakpan police station in the victim-friendly room for three years. This is intended as a space where victims’ dignity and rights are protected, empowering them and preventing them from being subjected to secondary victimisation by the criminal justice system’s inefficiency. However, in reality, this space is not functional unless a volunteer is present. Mabasa was that volunteer.

Of the ACDP she says, “We are here for those Christian principles to be part of us, and say that is what we stand for. A good morality code is something … to inspire not just young people but also the government.”

Reuben Coetzer

Reuben Coetzer (21) is currently an LLB student at North-West University, having completed a BCom Law degree in 2023. 

Coetzer got into public service at the age of 17, involving himself in the problems faced by his community. Coetzer is ActionSA National Youth Forum Head of Voter Education and a Gauteng provincial executive member. He is also a former Gauteng Youth Forum chair within the party, and has been ActionSA’s Constituency Chairperson in Krugersdorp. 

He is a cofounder of Mighty Dads and Lads, an NGO aimed at building men of character, improving relationships between fathers and sons and guiding them on actively contributing to their communities.

What’s not on your CV?
I have a dry sense of humour.
Last holiday?
Mars – where men mostly are…
Favourite song?
“In My Life” by Judy Collins.
Reuben Coetzer copy

Matthew George

Matthew George (21) founded a student chapter for ActionSA at UCT. Hailing from the Western Cape, he is the party’s youngest provincial spokesperson and communications manager, as well as their National Youth Spokesperson. 

George is an innovative entrepreneur with a passion for sustainable technologies. He is studying towards a degree in Social Science, with a major in Political Science and Sociology, at the University of Cape Town, but has pressed pause on his studies to focus on the elections. 

In 2022, he founded the ActionSA Student Chapter at UCT, which he said was in part “spurred on by the recognition of the turning point South Africa is in and my desire to play a role in bringing about change, however small, on a university campus. Within a month of launching the chapter, our first SRC election bid saw us garnering more than 8,400 votes overall”. 

Aside from politics, George has founded his own digital marketing business, which he said is “focused on ushering micro-small businesses into the digital age”, while also leading business development at an e-publishing start-up. 

What’s not on your CV?
I happen to be an enthusiast of crime intelligence and forensic investigations.
Last holiday?
Johannesburg.
Favourite song?
“Stuck With Me” by The Neighbourhood.

Malebo Kobe

Malebo Kobe (32) has been in politics since 2021 when she joined ActionSA – “a vehicle through which I believed I could advance my community work on a broader scale”. She is on the party’s Provincial Executive Committee as a communications manager in Limpopo. 

Kobe majored in International Relations, Political Science and Public Administration at the University of Pretoria. She was awarded a Masters in International Relations from the University of Jilin in China in 2015. Upon completion of her studies, she worked at the Gauteng Office of the Premier as a stakeholder coordinator in the International Relations Department. She also worked at various institutions and government parastatals including Eskom, Rand Water and the League of Arab States. 

Kobe founded the Kobe Malebo Foundation, a non-governmental organisation that works with child-headed households and other structurally vulnerable families. 

What’s not on your CV?
I’m a huge foodie and love to travel, mostly to taste different dishes and cuisines.
Last holiday?
Rome, Italy.
Favourite song?
“This Woman’s Work” by Maxwell.
malebo Kobe copy
Notukela Makohliso copy

Notukela Makohliso

Notukela Makohliso (38) is ActionSA’s Western Cape Disability Forum chairperson. 

“I strongly believe that ethical and moral leaders are what South Africa needs for a better future,” she said. 

Makohliso holds certificates and diplomas in disability rights, public leadership, and social media marketing from institutions including the Centre for Human Rights, the University of Pretoria, and the Apolitical Academy Southern Africa.

She is a Team Fix South Africa member for Social Development, which ActionSA president Herman Mashaba said was a team of candidates the party assembled as part of their parliamentary list that stands “ready to address the greatest challenges facing our nation”. 

Makohliso is also an accredited assessor and moderator through the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. “I am an award-winning businesswoman, an avid social justice advocate, and enthusiastic about inclusion, equality, and diversity,” she said. 

What’s not on your CV?
I worked as a waitress during my first year at university.
Last holiday?
Mossel Bay in the Garden Route – my family and I had a relaxing getaway that was much needed.
Favourite song? 
“Settle for Less” by Khaya Mthethwa.
meganChauke copy

Tsehofatso Meagan Chauke

Chauke (34) convenes the ANC’s national disability desk and has always pursued inclusive rights for people living with disabilities. She has founded several disability rights advocacy organisations and is CEO of a number of companies that work to enable technology to bridge the digital divide. She is a public speaker and a single mom of two. Chauke was diagnosed as clinically blind at 23 years old.  

What’s not on your CV?
I used to be a really good hockey player. 
Last holiday?
Umhlanga, Durban.
Favourite song?
“Ngiyathandaza” by Lwah Ndlunkulu.
 

Zuko Godlimpi

Zuko Godlimpi (32) was elected as one of the youngest members of the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) in December 2022. He is the deputy chairperson of the party’s economic transformation subcommittee and an advisor to Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane. 

Hailing from Ludeke Village in the Eastern Cape, Godlimpi’s journey in politics began in the Student Representative Council at Walter Sisulu University. He later rose through the ranks of the ANC’s youth structures before being elected to the NEC. As an NEC member Godlimpi is responsible for shaping the ANC’s policies and strategies and contributing to the party’s overall direction and leadership. 

What’s not on your CV?
I’m an avid Orlando Pirates fan and I love architecture and mathematics.
Last holiday?
Just a reboot in my village, Ludeke.
Favourite song?
“Vum Vum” by Brown Dash, but I love a wide range of music from kwaito and hip-hop to jazz and soul.

 
Zuko Godlimpi copy
Fasiha Hassan copy

Fasiha Hassan

Fasiha Hassan (30) came under the public spotlight as one of the #FeesMustFall leaders at Wits University in the 2015 student protests against escalating fees and costs. 

With a law degree from Wits University, Hassan started attorney’s articles, but instead at the age of 25 became the Gauteng legislature’s youngest MPL. Initially on the education committee, she chaired the economic development committee, and then the cooperative governance committee.

Self-describing as black in general and Indian in particular, Hassan says she’s standing on the shoulders of women before her. She believes inclusion and representivity are essential, as it’s vital to create spaces for women to choose and self-define. She says education remains a passion, but youth unemployment is also a crucial priority, as is climate justice.

“It sometimes feels issues are insurmountable in South Africa. But the reality is there are enough young people willing to dedicate their lives not just to fix South Africa, but to make South Africa better.”

What’s not on your CV?
I really am a nerd. I love Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and Star Wars, which is funny and it’s political.
Last holiday?
My honeymoon, the Maldives.
Favourite song?
“Tried Up” by Ama Lou. 
 

Palomino Jama

An activist from East London, Jama (27) became a national youth leader of the #FeesMustFall movement. She was part of government’s post-schooling sector Covid response task team. Jama champions representation for women and LGBTQIA+ people and has pushed for queer activism in the ANC and for its inclusion in government policies. 

Palomino Jama copy
Ronald Lamola copy

Ronald Lamola

Ronald Lamola (40) was appointed Justice and Correctional Services Minister at the age of 36. Hailing from Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga, Lamola has overseen the reform of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) as well as policy and legal changes to align with the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture. He led the SA delegation to the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) where the country made a successful appeal for protection for Palestinians threatened by rising genocide and famine. Under his administration, efforts to better protect whistle-blowers are well under way. He was MEC for Sports, Arts and Culture in Mpumalanga and also the premier’s spokesperson before entering national government. Lamola was deputy president of the ANC Youth League.

Asanda Luwaca

A scholar and former parliamentary researcher, Luwaca (32) is chairperson of the BRICS Youth Council. She is executive chairperson of the National Youth Development Agency and has a passion for youth activism and development. She was the provincial coordinator of the ANC Youth League. Luwaca has a BA (Hons). 

What’s not on your CV?
I’m a proud mother of a beautiful, vibrant three-year-old boy. 
Last holiday?
Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal
Favourite song?
“Ngeke” by Big Nuz featuring DJ Zama.

Asanda Luwaca
Buti Manamela copy

Buti Manamela

The Deputy Minister of Higher Education is a seasoned politician. Manamela (44) served as an MP in the ANC Parliamentary Strategy Committee which plans its work in the National Assembly. Manamela is from the SA Communist Party and has led the Young Communist Leaders of SA since its launch in 2003. 

Nonceba Mhlauli

Mhlauli (34) is pursuing a PhD in Communications. Originally from Upington, she has held a range of positions in the public service and in the legislative sector. She cut her political teeth in SASCO and was an ANC Youth League national convenor. Mhlauli is on the ANC NEC and is on the Governors’ Council of TVET Colleges as well as a Council member of the South Cape TVET College. 

What’s not on your CV?
I’m a Methodist Church member and a sports fanatic.
Last holiday?
Paris, France to watch the Rugby World Cup.
Favourite song?
“There’s Hope” by India.Arie.

nonceba Mhlauli copy
lufefeMkutu copy

Lufefe Mkutu

A trained industrial technical engineer, Mkutu (31) has straddled the public and private sectors. He has worked as a business strategy analyst at Accenture and as a technician at General Motors. Mkutu is currently regional manager of the National Youth Development Agency. He is a seasoned youth activist and a member of the National Working Committee of the ANC Youth League. 

What’s not on your CV?
I am an avid reader and tech enthusiast.
Last holiday?
Zimbabwe.
Favourite song?
“Amazulu” by Amanda Black.

Kenneth Morolong

A deputy minister in the Presidency, Morolong (42) is former chairperson of ANC Young Pioneers and deputy chairperson of the National Youth Development Association, as well as a Cosas leader. He has been an MP since 2019 and is studying toward his Bachelors in Public Administration at MANCOSA College. 

Kenneth Morolong copy
Njabulo Nzuza copy

Njabulo Nzuza

The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs is from KwaZulu-Natal. Nzuza (42) holds a BCom degree in Economics from the University of Zululand. He is a former ANC Youth League secretary-general and a manager at King Cetshwayo (formerly uThungulu) District Municipality. Nzuza is on the ANC NEC.

What’s not on your CV?
I throw dope hip-hop rhymes.
Last holiday?
Limpopo for a game drive. I travel locally. 
Favourite song?
“Baby Don’t Cry” by Tupac Shakur.

 

Maropene Ramokgopa

Maropene Ramokgopa (45) is part of the new generation of ANC leaders. Highly trained and skilled, she is a policymaker and former diplomat. 

Ramokgopa describes herself as a gender activist and was a founding member of the party’s Young Women’s Desk which is part of the Women’s League. Ramokgopa was special advisor to President Cyril Ramaphosa before being elected second secretary at the ANC conference in 2022. She holds a number of qualifications and is completing a Masters in Public Administration. 

Maropene-Ramokgopa copy
drMikeRamothwala copy

Mike Ramothwala

A medical doctor, Ramothwala (34) has a long history in student and youth leadership. He is the senior clinical manager at the Limpopo Department of Health and is a former spokesperson for the Limpopo ANC Youth League. 

Born and raised in Bochabela Village in Tzaneen, Ramothwala was appointed clinical manager of Letaba Hospital in Tzaneen in 2018, making him one of the youngest clinical managers in the country. He obtained his medical qualifications at the University of Cape Town and served two terms as deputy president of the SRC and as the university’s communication and media officer. He is currently part of the ANC Youth League’s National Executive Committee. 

Ramothwala has also pursued a fellowship in Public Management at Texas Tech University in the USA. 

What’s not on your CV?
I’m a good cricket and rugby player.
Last holiday?
Thailand.
Favourite song?
“Something Inside So Strong” by Lira.

Muhammad Khalid Sayed

The ANC spokesperson in the Western Cape also serves as a member of the provincial legislature. A graduate of UCT, Sayed (38) was provincial chairperson of the ANC Youth League. He is an education activist and a prominent advocate for Palestinian solidarity.  

Muhammad Khalid Sayed copy
Tsakani Shiviti copy

Tsakani Shiviti

Shiviti (32) is an ANC Youth League leader who has been deputy president of Sasco and a leader of the African Union Youth Club, as well as Treasurer General of the Southern African Students Union, a structure that represents all students in the SADC region. Her interests are in diplomacy and regional policy. Shiviti says her skills are in communications and municipal management and governance. She is on the boards of the Small Enterprise Finance Agency and the Small Enterprise Development Agency, and is passionate about youth development and education.  

What’s not on your CV?
I am a self-taught beautician who loves making people look and feel beautiful. 
Last holiday?
My peaceful village for the traditional food and fresh air.
Favourite song?
“Drift Away” by Dobie Gray. 

Vuyo Zungula

Vuyo Zungula (36) is President of the African Transformation Movement. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Business Management from Nelson Mandela University, an Honours degree in Business Management from Unisa, and a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) from the University of Cape Town.

Born in Mthatha, Zungula spent most of his upbringing in the  Eastern Cape under the care of his grandparents. 

He ventured into politics through the South African Council of Messianic

Churches in Christ in 2018. Assigned to head the Church and State Desk, his role involved communicating church-related matters to the state. Subsequently, this initiative transformed into the political entity known as the ATM. He became a Member of Parliament in 2019 at the age of 31.

What’s not on your CV?
I like the colour blue because I reckon it goes well with my skin tone.
Last holiday?
Nelspruit.
Favourite song?
Having been part of a church choir growing up, I love choral and gospel music, but my favourite artist is Dr Dre. Ayanda Shange’s music is also touching and inspirational. 

 
Vuyo Zungula copy
Ayanda ALlie copy

Ayanda Allie

Allie (37) joined Bosa as its communications director and will run as an aspirant candidate for Parliament representing Soweto. She served as a spokesperson for the Ministry of Transport from 2019 to 2021. 

Allie has worked as a television and radio presenter for years and has four degrees in communication and development studies, 

“I didn’t see myself in politics growing up,” she says. “However, looking back, the signs were there. I always had a strong sense of justice and was drawn to leadership roles.”

She is also a recording artist who released her debut album, We The People, under the name Ms. Allie – and the author of the book How To Save A Life: Reflections of a Change Agent. 

Allie’s last holiday to Accra, Ghana, was inspired by one of her favourite writers, Maya Angelou. 

“She wrote so descriptively about her time there: how she loved and lost, was attracted to Africa but also repelled by it, and how the lives of other notable history makers and world changers such as Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, W.E.B. Du Bois and of course President Kwame Nkrumah were interwoven into the tapestry that is Ghana. Her work read like a personal invitation. I just had to visit,” says Allie.

Allie says she would like to see community centres serve as one-stop shops for youth development, women’s empowerment, skills development and psychosocial care.

Nobuntu Hlazo-Webster

Nobuntu Hlazo-Webster (42) is co-founder with Mmusi Maimane and deputy leader of Bosa. She is also the founder of the SA Women’s Commission, which assembles women from all walks of life to collaborate in contributing to change in South Africa.

A business leader in the consulting and media industries, Hlazo-Webster has led development and advocacy organisations including the Businesswomen’s Association of SA as chairperson, the International Women’s Forum as president of its youth chapter and the KZN Youth Chamber of Commerce as regional chair as well as provincial secretary-general. She is an alumni of Future-Elect and an International Women’s Forum fellow. 

Hlazo-Webster has been recognised with numerous accolades from the Businesswomen’s Association of SA and the Department of Economic Development, among others bodies. She holds a BPhil Honours degree and several post-graduate business qualifications.

What’s not on your CV?
I’m a pretty decent off-road driver. I can also hold a note or two.
Last holiday?
Pilanesberg in the North-West.
Favourite song?
Please indulge me with two. “Bengingazi” by Manqoba Nxumalo, a song of gratitude, and “Bona Senzani” by TKZEE, a song for the hustlers among us.

Nobuntu Hlazo- Webster copy
Naledi Chriwa copy

Naledi Chirwa

Naledi Chirwa (30) is an advocate for gender equality, youth empowerment, and social justice. Born in Pretoria, her journey into activism began in student politics. 

As a student leader at the University of Pretoria, Chirwa was involved in student protests and activism. She was a vocal advocate for free, decolonised education and was key in organising student movements during the #FeesMustFall protests.

After graduating from the University of Pretoria, she continued her activism in various capacities, working with grassroots organisations and community initiatives to address issues such as gender-based violence, economic inequality, and political corruption. 

She was among the four young women who staged a protest against former President Jacob Zuma at the IEC results centre. The protest was part of a campaign which marked 10 years since Zuma’s rape trial.

In 2019, Chirwa was elected as an MP for the Economic Freedom Fighters. She became one of the youngest and most vocal MPs. As an EFF MP, she has continued to champion progressive policies and advocate for the rights of women, youth, and marginalised communities.

Sihle Lonzi

Sihle Lonzi (26) arrived at UCT to study economics and philosophy as an alumnus of South African College High School (SACS) in Cape Town, where he was head boy in 2015. 

With no prior experience in politics, he was immediately immersed in the #RhodesMustFall movement and formed a close relationship with Economic Freedom Fighters spokesperson Sinawo Tambo. Together they played a key role in establishing the EFF Students’ Command (EFFSC) at UCT. Like Tambo, he describes himself as a Marxist-Leninist who believes in the Labour Theory of Value. 

Lonzi was elected as the president of the EFFSC in 2022 and has overseen the growth of the party in tertiary institutions. Last year, the EFFSC contested‌ nine universities and won in all of them.

Sihle Lonzi copy
Sinawo Tambo copy

Sinawo Tambo

Sinawo Tambo (27) is spokesperson for the Economic Freedom Fighters. He joined the party as a student at the University of Cape Town and served in the Student Representative Council under the party’s student wing, EFFSC. 

Tambo describes himself as a Marxist-Leninist and avid Fanonista (Frantz Fanon reader/believer). 

He rose to prominence during the #RhodesMustFall movement and went on to become EFFSC Western Cape provincial chairperson. The party then appointed him as EFF head of presidency, and not long after that he was appointed party spokesperson. In October 2020 he was sworn in as a member of the National Assembly. 

Edwin Bath copy

Edwin Bath

Edwin Bath (34) is pursuing his Masters in Public Governance at the Nelson Mandela School of Governance at the University of Cape Town.  He has always worked in public service, including as an assistant director for the KZN provincial government, then a deputy director in the Western Cape and in the City of Cape Town. He also worked in the Eastern Cape. 

He grew up in the Underberg in KZN and he credits his humble beginnings with his decision to go into politics and public service. Bath obtained his BSc in Built Environment Studies at the University of Cape Town. 

Mark Burke

Dr Mark Burke (34) was a Mandela Rhodes scholar and at 20 years old was honoured as one of South Africa’s “100 Brightest Young Minds”. He owns fintech forex trading company Kastelo. Besides fintech, Burke has also worked in local and international development. He has worked in West Africa and for the Global Impact Investing Network, as well as for UK Aid. 

Burke has an MSc (UCT), an M(Phil) and a Doctorate in Economics and Quantitative Economics from Cambridge University. His doctoral research was on affordable housing and the impact of public policy.

Mark John Burke
Siviwe Gwarube copy

Siviwe Gwarube

Siviwe Gwarube (34) is currently the Chief Whip of the DA. Before assuming the role in August 2022, she served as the Deputy Chief Whip and the National Spokesperson for the DA. Prior to that, she was the Shadow Minister of Health.

Gwarube has extensive experience in political communications and political strategy, in party politics and within government. She has worked as the spokesperson and later the Head of Ministry for the Department of Health in the Western Cape. In 2017, she was appointed as the Head of Communications for the DA before she was elected to public office in 2019.

While she is currently pursuing her Master’s degree at the UCT Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance, she also holds a BA Honours degree in Law, Politics and Philosophy from Rhodes University and the University of the Western Cape. 

Gwarube’s goal is to make Parliament relevant to South Africans by ensuring that the institution fulfils its constitutional obligations and becomes the engine room of solutions to issues faced by citizens.

What’s not on your CV?
I love a good book by a fireplace with a glass of wine. Like most Cape Town residents, a sunset walk on the promenade is always a good idea. 
Last holiday?
Oribi Gorge in KwaZulu-Natal.
Favourite song?
I enjoys a wide variety of music, from Msaki and Thandiswa Mazwai to Amadodana Ase Wesile. 

Liam Jacob

A properly millennial politician, Jacobs has 81,000 followers on TikTok,  where he has amassed more than 27 million views and 1.5 million likes for his posts. He is federal leader of the Democratic Alliance Student Organisation and his mission is to present politics in the language of young people. He aims to make NSFAS work better and he uses his social media oomph as a Department of Higher Education and Training watchdog.  

What’s not on your CV? 
I was a Philosophy tutor at the University of Pretoria for two years, I’m a professional wrestler and I can name and describe the flag of every country in the world.
Last holiday? 
Graaff-Reinet.
Favourite song? 
“Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1” by Kanye West.

Liam Jacobs copy
Kabelo Kgobisa copy

Kabelo Kgobisa

Kgobisa started as a researcher with the Democratic Alliance in Parliament and in 2020 graduated from the DA Young Leaders Programme. She is COO of a communications company and holds a BA LLB from the University of Cape Town. Kgobisa served articles at Lawyers for Human Rights where she advocated for criminal justice reform, farm workers’ rights and gender equality. 

What’s not on your CV?
My podcast addiction. I subscribe to about 130 podcasts and I’m rarely seen without earphones.
Last holiday?
Inverdoorn Game Reserve.
Favourite song?
Diabolical question – I couldn’t possibly pick one. I will say that my best friend recently sent me “Ke Tlo Fihla” by Maleh. It’s gorgeous and I’m enjoying that right now.

Dulandi Leech

Hailing from the Free State, Leech (39) is a youth leader in the DA who was assistant to the DA caucus in Mangaung. She has been a local councillor since 2011, has experience in municipal finance and has been an elections campaign manager in the Free State. Leech says her mission is to rescue the Free State and to deal with 15 years of water shortages since 40% of water is regarded as “non-revenue”, which means it is lost to leaks. 

What’s not on your CV? 
I am my own worst critic.
Last holiday? 
My husband’s family farm.
Favourite song? 
“Joyride” by Roxette.
Dulandi Leech copy
Solly Malatsi copy

Solly Malatsi

Solly Malatsi (38) is the deputy federal chairperson of the DA and the party’s national spokesperson. He has a long history in the party as a student activist, a staff member and ultimately a public representative. 

He has been a Member of Parliament since April 2014 and has served in several portfolios as the party’s Shadow Minister for Sports and Recreation, Human Settlements, and Communications. Malatsi was the spokesperson for the MEC of Transport and Public Works in the Western Cape Provincial Government from June 2009 to May 2011, and served as spokesperson for the Mayor of Cape Town from June 2011 to March 2014.

He holds a Bachelor of Administration degree from the University of Limpopo and an Honors Degree in Politics from Wits University.

Philanthropy is one of his passions and he runs an NPO that focuses on supporting poor learners in Limpopo with school uniforms and sanitary pads. He fundraises and provides football kits and sports equipment to amateur sports clubs in rural areas in Limpopo.

Malatsi is an avid runner and plays soccer when he is not in Parliament. Kwaito legend Zola is his favourite artist of all time. “His catalogue was the soundtrack of my youth and early adulthood. His depth of addressing social ills and balancing it with uplifting lyricism made me connect with his music.”

Mlondi Mdluli

Hailing from eThekwini, Mduli (25) is an economist who holds a BCom and MCom from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He was part of the 2021 cohort of DA Young Leaders and has been a senior economic researcher at the SA Institute of Race Relations. He is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Philosophy with the University of Reading. 

What’s not on your CV?
My uncanny ability to predict when the toast is going to pop up.
Last holiday?
London.
Favourite song?
“Ain’t No Stopping Us Now” by McFadden & Whitehead. 
Mlondi Mdluli copy
Kabelo Mogatosi copy

Kabelo Mogatosi

A councillor and the DA caucus chairperson in Nelson Mandela Bay, Mogatosi rose from the ranks of a student activist where he helped win the DA Student Organisation (Daso) a victory at Fort Hare in 2015. In 2019, he was elected chief whip and was Roads and Transport Directorate MMC when the party was in a multiparty coalition in 2022. 

Mogatosi has been part of the DA’s federal council and other leadership structures, and Nelson Mandela Bay received a clean audit when he was on the leadership team.

Baxolile Babongile Nodada

Baxolile Nodada (32) is a DA Member of Parliament who serves as the Shadow Minister of Basic Education and the Parliamentary Counsellor to the Leader of the official opposition in the National Assembly. He previously served as the Shadow Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation. He is the DA’s Constituency Leader of the Alfred Nzo District in the Eastern Cape and serves on their Federal Council. Outside of politics, he works in the property sector.

Born in Aliwal North, Nodada attended Kearsney College and Hudson Park High School. He joined the Democratic Alliance’s student organisation at the Nelson Mandela University and served as the first chairperson of its South Campus branch. 

He was a member of the university’s Student Representative Council (SRC) and in 2015 was given the SRC Member of the Year Leadership Award by the Vice-Chancellor.

Nodada graduated with a BA in Political Science, Public Administration and Economics in 2014 and an Honours degree in Politics, Public Administration and Conflict Management in 2015.

In 2016, Nodada was elected as the youngest councillor in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality. He was elected as the Daso Eastern Cape Provincial Chairperson before graduating from the DA’s Young Leaders Programme in 2018 and founding the Brothers Circle. In 2019, he stood for election to the South African National Assembly and won a seat in parliament. 

Nododa loves gospel music. “I’m a spiritual being who believes in consistent prayer in good and difficult times and this music plays 90% when I’m driving,” he says. “I also enjoy a lot of local music like Afro pop, Amapiano and electro. Can never leave out Afrobeats as well lol.” 

“My last holiday destinations were Cofimvaba and East London. I enjoy spending time with my family because I hardly see them. I play piano a bit and kick the ball or swim with my son on a good weekend,” he says.

Baxolile Babongile Nodada copy
Christopher Pappas copy

Chris Pappas

The mayor of uMngeni, Pappas (32) is also the DA candidate for premier in KwaZulu-Natal. With a team including his deputy, Sandile Mnikathi, Pappas has been slowly fixing mMngeni’s infrastructure, with roads and iconic spaces like the Mandela capture site at Howick having been returned to functionality, as well as jobs being created. He was recognised by Time magazine in its 2023 100 List for his work. Pappas faced a complaint that he favoured a former romantic partner with a contract, but this was dismissed by the KwaZulu-Natal Cooperative Governance department. 

A technocrat, Pappas is a development economist and urban planner by profession. Together with Mnikathi, they have authored the newly published book Saving South Africa. Lessons from the uMngeni Municipality Success Story.

Ashor Sarupen

Ashor Sarupen (35) is first deputy chairperson of the DA’s federal council, as well as an MP and Deputy Shadow Minister for Finance. Sarupen joined the DA in 2006 at the age of 17 in his home town of Springs, Gauteng, where he subsequently served as the constituency chairperson and local campaign manager.

He was elected to the Ekurhuleni Metro Council in 2011 and served as Chief Whip of the Official Opposition in the Council at the age of 22.

In 2014 he was appointed as an election strategy advisor for the DA’s Gauteng election campaign, which saw the DA get its best result to date. He then served as a member of the Gauteng Legislature between 2014 and 2019, representing the DA on the Finance, Economic Development, Social Development and Education committees.

In 2016, Sarupen led the DA’s campaign in Ekurhuleni Metro and brought the ANC under 50%. In October 2019 he was appointed Chief of Staff, and in 2020 he was elected into the DA’s national leadership as deputy chairperson of the federal council and also appointed deputy national campaign manager.  

What’s not on your CV?
I grew up in Bakerton, Springs. I fell in love with politics in 1994 at six years old in Grade 1 because elections meant we got three days’ holiday. 
Last holiday?
To Italy. My best friend emigrated there so it’s my first choice holiday.  And it’s the second most beautiful country in the world after SA. 
Favourite song?
“Walking On A Dream” by Empire of the Sun.
Ashor Sarupen copy
Khathutshelo Rasilingwane copy

Khathutshelo Rasilingwane

A councillor in Ekurhuleni, Rasilingwane has been an active DA member since 2010. She was MMC for Community Safety for a short while before the ANC-EFF coalition wrested back control from the multiparty coalition.  

A graduate of the DA Young Leaders Programme, Rasilingwane says she wants to be a woman of influence. She told a recent media conference that she grew up poor as the child of a street vendor and worked hard to improve herself. She is a candidate for the Gauteng provincial government.  

What’s not on your CV?
It captures my passion to serve my community, mentoring others, and I am able to adapt quickly to new challenges.
Last holiday?
Namibia – Swakopmund and Windhoek. 
Favourite song?
“Something Inside So Strong” by Lira.

Nazley Sharif

Nazley Sharif (33) was sworn in as MP after the May 2019 elections. With a sharp focus on gender-based violence and women’s rights, Sharif has worked with various womxn and youth organisations, non-governmental organisations and others to drive inclusivity, equality and fairness across society.

At Parliament Sharif serves on the Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities Committee, and is part of the steering committee for the National Assembly’s Multi-party Women’s Caucus.

She joined Daso at Wits University in 2009 and held various posts in the DA’s youth structures. Her formal political career started at the City of Johannesburg as a PR councillor in 2014. She chaired the council committee on gender, youth and persons with disability. 

As a 24-year-old councillor, Sharif was confronted with sexism at work, being catcalled and grabbed by an older male colleague from another political party. On reporting the sexual harassment it turned out her experience was not unique, but had been normalised, even by women.

“Even here in these corridors, as a young MP who happens to be a woman, I am not equal. Before we preach about equality, let us start by holding ourselves accountable. We cannot pretend to care on this podium and then perpetuate patriarchy outside. You cannot write speeches about the effects of GBV when you do not unlearn toxic masculinity. My name is Nazley Sharif and I am a feminist,” she put it directly in the 2020 Women’s Day parliamentary debate.

Sharif obtained an Honours degree in Political Studies from Wits University. In 2021 she completed the Georgia State University’s public management course.

“I look forward to making a bigger contribution in the gender space and am excited to share knowledge and skills to bring about gender equality in society and fight against the patriarchal system of oppression,” she said.

What’s not on your CV?
I am a creative soul with a banging sense of humour. I am also the most tattooed member of Parliament.
Last holiday?
Cape Town.
Favourite song?
So difficult, I have many favourite songs! Music is magical, it can transport you back in time and bring back memories. “Soldier of Love” by Sade, “Jet Fuel” by Mac Miller, “Palm Trees” by Flatbush Zombies, “Sprinter” by Central Cee & Dave, “Run Jozi” by AKA…

Nazley Sharif copy
tammy Breedt copy

Tammy Breedt

Breedt (38) was the first female national youth leader of the Freedom Front Plus and one of the party’s first female MPs, along with Heloise Denner.

Johannesburg-born Breedt obtained a BCom from the Free State University, where she also served on the student representative council.

Before entering the National Assembly Breedt was a member of the Free State Provincial Legislature where she served on all five portfolio committees. She spent time in Germany as an exchange student while studying for a Bachelor of Communications at the University of the Free State, and was chosen to represent the UFS as part of the Young People’s Project in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Breedt represents the FF+ as an MP on the Portfolio Committee for Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, and is spokesperson for environmental affairs, social development and women, youth and persons with disabilities.

For the past 12 years she’s been on the judging panel for the AfriForum “Dink of Sink (think or sink)” debating competition. She also coaches debaters at a Bloemfontein girls’ school.

In her capacity as the party’s international relations point person, Breedt was elected into the Unrepresented Nationals and People’s Organisation (UNPO) presidency under Edna Adan Ismail of Somaliland in March 2022.

“I really feel strongly about the true empowerment of girls and the rights of minorities in the world. We should celebrate our uniqueness instead of forcing everyone to fit into a specific mould,” Breedt said.

What’s not on your CV?
I’ve been told my cooking is not too shabby, and I am also a bit of a petrolhead.
Last holiday?
Hogsback, Eastern Cape, in the middle of winter. It was freezing!
Favourite song?
Any Fokofpolisiekar song, but Will Linley’s “Last Call” has also frequently been on repeat.

Heloise Denner

Heloise Denner (38) is an MP for the Freedom Front Plus and served as a member of the Portfolio Committee for Employment and Labour in 2019.

She grew up in Kroonstad in the Free State and matriculated from Kroonstad High School before going on to study BCom Law, BCom Honours and LLB degrees at the University of the Free State. Denner completed her articles as a legal clerk in Bloemfontein, where she also practiced law after being admitted to the High Court of South Africa.

Denner describes her childhood as safe and loving, and says that she grew up sheltered from the realities that millions of South Africans live with daily. Being confronted with this reality fuels her ideology that every person in South Africa has the ability to contribute positively to society and make the world a better place.

“After the last 30 years of democracy, I think many of us are disillusioned with what we have to deal with today and that the responsibility to work towards a better future is now more serious than ever before,” she said.

When not in Parliament, Denner puts her legal degree to use, specialising in family, labour and commercial mediation. She also has a black belt in karate.

heloise Dneer copy
Stephanus Du Toit copy

Stephanus du Toit

Freedom Front Plus MP Stephanus “Fanie” du Toit (43) was born in Klerksdorp in the North West and matriculated from Klerksdorp Technical High School in 1999. 

An entrepreneur who was in the manufacturing industry for 15 years, Du Toit was a FF+ councillor in the JB Marks Local Municipality from 2016 to 2019, serving as caucus leader for the party. He also served as a councillor in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality in the province.

He serves on the party’s provincial executive management committee in the North West and on the federal council and the party’s Federal Policy and Constitutional Committee. He is also the FF+ party whip in the National Council of Provinces in Parliament, and he served on the Ad Hoc Joint Committee on Flood Disaster Relief and Recovery.

Du Toit plays an active role in protecting and promoting Afrikaner cultural heritage.

What’s not on your CV?
I enjoy writing poetry.
Last holiday?
Madikwe Game Reserve.
Favourite song?
“Die Gelofte”.

De Wet Nel

De Wet Nel (40) has served as a member of the North West provincial legislature for the Freedom Front Plus since 2019. 

Nel matriculated from Hoërskool Noordheuwel in Krugersdorp in 2001. He became involved in the party structures of the FF+ after he was elected as a branch chairperson for the party in 2015. In the same year, he was also elected as a proportional councillor in Rustenburg Local Municipality. 

Following the 2016 local government elections, Nel swapped his career in finance and accounting for politics to become a full-time councillor, being elected as the chairperson of the Municipal Public Accounts Committee.

In 2019,  he was elected as deputy provincial leader of the FF+ in the North West, and as a member of the provincial legislature. He represents the FF+ as the caucus leader in the North West legislature.

He is currently in his final year of completing a BSocSci PPE (Politics, Philosophy and Economics) degree.

What’s not on your CV?
I like to experiment by brewing different beers at my home, I am a fervent Bulls supporter, and a while ago I bought nine turkeys to become a part-time amateur turkey farmer. Three years later and I currently have only 15 turkeys – it is therefore apparent that I have limited talents when it comes to farming. 
Last holiday?
Sodwana.
Favourite song?
“Annie’s Song” by John Denver – probably because my girlfriend’s name is Annie.
De Wet Nel copy
Michal Groenewald copy

Michal Groenewald

Michal Groenewald (40) is the son of Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald and the party’s provincial leader in the North West.

Groenewald matriculated from the Potchefstroom Volkskool in 2002. He holds a BCom law degree, as well as an advanced diploma in tourism and hospitality.

Groenewald joined the FF+ at the age of 16 and was national youth leader of the party. He has served in various party structures and in 2011 was elected as a councillor in the City of Matlosana (formerly Klerksdorp) Local Municipality, a position he held until 2019. 

Groenewald was elected as the FF+ provincial leader in the North West In 2017, and as a member of the National Assembly in 2019. 

During his time in Parliament, he served on the Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs. He is also the party’s spokesperson on tourism.

What’s not on your CV?
I am a skydiving enthusiast.
Last holiday?
Rietspruit Dam.
Favourite song?
“End of time” by Alan Walker.

Wouter Wessels

Wouter Wessels (39) has served as a member of Parliament for the Freedom Front Plus since 2017.

Wessels was born and raised in East London and matriculated from Hoërskool Grens as the dux pupil. He then studied at the University of the Free State where he played an active role in leadership and student politics.

Prior to entering politics on a full-time basis, Wessels owned and managed a marketing business. He has twice been recognised as one of South Africa’s most influential young people by Avance Media.

A former national youth leader of the FF+, Wessels was elected as a member of the Free State provincial legislature in 2013, serving until 2017 when he was elected to the National Assembly. He serves as a whip of the FF+ and is a member of Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance. He also previously served on the ad hoc committees for the appointments of the Auditor General and the Public Protector.

Wessels has been a member of the national executive management of the FF+ since 2013 and is also the national head of elections and strategy of the party. He is the campaign manager of the party’s 2024 election campaign and also headed the party campaigns in 2016, 2019 and 2021.

What’s not on your CV?
I love cooking and baking. That is to a large extent (except for bingeing Netflix series) my only pastime. 
Last holiday?
Near Pringle Bay, in a small cottage on a cliff overlooking the pristine coastline.
Favourite song?
“The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World.
Wouter Wessels copy
Mkhuleko Hlengwa copy

Mkhuleko Hlengwa

Mkhuleko Hlengwa (36) has chaired the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) – the national legislature’s watchdog on public spending – since the May 2019 elections. He is also the Inkatha Freedom Party’s national spokesperson.

Hlengwa’s father, Inkosi Mhlabunzima Hlengwa, served as an IFP MP from 1994 to 2004. Born in Mfume, south of Durban, Hlengwa followed his father into politics, rising through the ranks of student politics and subsequently being elected as chairperson of the IFP Youth Brigade in March 2011, which position he held until July 2019.  

In April 2017 he was named Wits School of Governance’s top student of the 2016 class for the graduate certificate in governance and leadership. 

In his position as Scopa chair Hlengwa has dealt with controversial issues ranging from financially troubled entities like the Road Accident Fund and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas), and departments’ non-tabling of annual reports and financials, to Eskom and State Capture.

Hlengwa quotes former IPF leader Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi: “It is better to travel on hope, than to arrive.”

What’s not on your CV?
I am actually a very reserved guy. I prefer to be at home, and love the rural areas.
Last holiday?
Dead Valley and Walvis Bay in Namibia.
Favourite song?
“I remember Mama” by Shirley Caesar.

Zandile Majozi

Deputy Chairperson of the Inkatha Freedom Party Gauteng Legislature and IFP MP Zandile Majozi (38) is reading towards a qualification in public administration at Regenesys Business School in order to better serve her constituents. She is currently on the Committee on Multi-Party Women’s Caucus and on the Portfolio Committee of Communications and Digital Technologies, as well as that of Police. 

Elected as an MP in 2019, Majozi is also the Deputy Chief Whip of the IFP National Parliamentary Caucus and has served on the board of the National Youth Development Agency. 

Having been a member of the IFP since 2005, Majozi built her career serving as Youth Brigade Chairperson in Ward 35 and was later elected as the brigade’s deputy secretary for the City of Johannesburg, in which role she served for five years. She was subsequently elected the Youth Brigade’s Deputy National Chairperson, a position she held for eight years. 

What’s not on your CV?
I have dedicated my life to be in service of the Inkatha Freedom Party and the people of South Africa.
Last holiday?
Cape Town.
Favourite song?
“Halo” by Beyoncé.
Zandile Majozi copy
Liesl van der Merwe copy

Liezl van der Merwe

A communications specialist by profession, Liezl van der Merwe (43) is an Inkatha Freedom Party MP who uses her skills in communications to advocate for the rights of women and children through her servant leadership approach to politics. 

Hailing from Cape Town, Van der Merwe developed her passion for history and politics in her high school days at Paarl Gimnasium. She went on to earn a diploma in journalism, and worked for a British Broadcaster before joining the IFP in 2006. 

Having served as Director of Communications for the party she became an MP in 2012 at the age of 33, and has served on numerous portfolio committees including Communications, Women in the Presidency and Social Development, among others. She has also served on the joint committee for Ethics and Members’ Interests.

What’s not on your CV?
I consider myself quite the braai master. I enjoy sports and I love animals; I am a proud mommy of two – a pug and a rescue kitty.
Last holiday?
St Lucia in KwaZulu-Natal.
Favourite song?
“Rise Up” by Andra Day – or anything by John Legend, Alicia Keys or Black Coffee. 

Lehlohonolo Blessings Ramoba

Independent candidate and mining activist Blessings Ramoba (35) is hoping to take his activism to Parliament. He is on the Limpopo and Gauteng regional lists. 

Born in Soweto, he later moved to Tzaneen in Limpopo where he did his schooling and matriculated from Mathibadifate Secondary School in 2008. 

Ramoba holds a degree in mining engineering and a diploma in labour law from the University of Johannesburg. At university, he chaired a forum for mining students. He is a well-known figure in South Africa’s mining and energy sector and has been the president and CEO of the Mining Forum of South Africa since 2016. 

In 2023, Ramoba formed the Employment Rights Party (ERP), but he is contesting the upcoming polls as an independent. He said he wanted to “test the system” as an independent candidate, and try for a seat in the National Assembly. 

Ramoba’s manifesto, launched earlier this month, focuses on tackling unemployment, supporting small businesses and industrialisation, and enhancing border security, among other issues. Many of his strategies are aimed at those in the mining sector. 

“I’m one person that [the people] know for advancing the cause of employment in the country and making sure we alleviate unemployment … so that we are able to create jobs and eradicate poverty,” he said.

What’s not on your CV?
I love travelling. 
Last holiday?
Mpumalanga.
Favourite song?
My favourite genre is gospel; I love listening to gospel songs for motivation.
blessibngRamoba copy
shepherd Mines copy

Shepherd Mines

Shepherd Mines (39), the provincial secretary of the new political outfit the Northern Cape Communities Movement (NCCM) is looking to shake up Northern Cape politics. 

The NCCM, which was established in 2023, serves as a political vehicle for various community organisations, forums, and civic movements in the province. 

Mines was born and raised in Olifantshoek, a town that lies at the foot of the Langeberg mountain range, which stretches 180 km across the Kalahari. After matriculating from Langberg High School in 2003, he worked in Pretoria and Cape Town for several years, his first job having been as a cashier at Shoprite.  

In 2012, Mines returned to Olifantshoek to find his town in turmoil. After violent protests over poor service delivery closed schools in Olifantshoek and other towns in the John Taolo Gaetsewe District for four months, Mines decided to get involved in politics and community activism.

His political career started in the ANC in 2012, first as elections coordinator, then as branch secretary until he left the ANC in 2021. He has also held the positions of regional treasurer, deputy secretary and deputy chairperson of the ANC Youth League in the Northern Cape. 

Mines joined the Gamagara Community Forum in 2021, ahead of the local government elections. He is currently a PR councillor at Gamagara Local Municipality. He says the NCCM wants to fix some of the region’s most pressing problems: inadequate healthcare, service delivery and unemployment.

What’s not on your CV?
I am a humble person.
Last holiday?
Namibia.
Favourite song?
I can’t think of one, but my favourite genre is gospel.

Letlhogonolo-Noge-Tungamirai

Letlhogonolo Noge Tungamirai

Letlhogonolo Noge Tungamirai (41) was born and bred in Mahikeng, North West. 

Having been a corporate executive for more than 20 years, she was approached by the United Democratic Movement just a few months ago, and decided to jump ship.   

“I am a person of ethics and integrity and when I thought of this marriage between myself and the UDM it was a natural move,” she said. “I’m not necessarily coming into politics as a politician. I’m coming into politics as a business turnaround specialist who is here to assist with solutions for this country. I love South Africa and this is why I have moved into the political space to make a difference and ultimately change the lives of South Africans.”

Noge Tungamirai’s past and current board memberships include roles at the Development Bank of Southern Africa, Postbank and Women In Tech, among others. 

“I’m ready to contribute to the policies of this country,” she said. “I think I got tired enough. I got angry enough as a South African to say no, you know what, I am not going to sit here and observe, I am going to roll up my sleeves and get involved to bring about meaningful change not only for me, but for generations to come.” 

What’s not on your CV?
I am the first in my lineage to venture into politics.
Last holiday?
Cape Town.
Favourite song?
“Not Yet Uhuru” by Letta Mbulu. South Africa is not yet free 30 years into democracy.

Sisa Mbeki

Sisa Mbeki (39) entered the political arena in 2008, while he was a student at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. He formally joined the United Democratic Movement in 2013. 

Since January 2024, Mbeki has been a lecturer at Durban University of Technology in the Quantity Surveying programmes. He has served as the chairperson of the Eastern Cape chapter of the Higher Education Facility Management Association, a non-profit association whose members are from higher education institutions, primarily universities, in Southern Africa.

Mbeki holds a Bachelor’s degree in Quantity Surveying, a Bachelor’s degree in Project Management and a Master’s degree in Construction Management. 

“I’ve been involved in politics for a long time,” he said, “but I am not a politician, I am an activist. I believe people must have a will; people must elect governments to power; people must be the ones to actually lead through the officials.”

He believes that the correct interpretation of the Constitution is that government is not the elected officials, but government is the people through the elected officials. 

“I want to ensure that I educate people about their rights, about their power … until they understand that their X (vote) carries a power.” 

What’s not on your CV?
I do not have personal opinions or motivations. Instead, I aim to provide objective and informed insights to support the democratic process.
Last holiday?
Northampton, England, where I attended AUDE Summer School for a week.
Favourite song?
“Up Where We Belong” by BeBe and CeCe Winans.

sisa Mbeki copy
Yongama Zigebe copy

Yongama Zigebe

Yongama Zigebe (36) is the secretary-general of the United Democratic Movement. He was born in Transkei, Eastern Cape but later moved to Alexander, South of Johannesburg where he completed his formal education.   

Zigebe was raised by his step-father and domestic worker mom, who was passionate about social justice and was a member of the South African National Civic Organisation.

In 2002, Zigebe’s father was killed in a car accident. The driver fled the scene and Zigebe’s subsequent struggle to find justice for his father sparked his political consciousness.  

He had to find lawyers and sit in meetings where legal jargon was the order of the day. “I was frustrated that I could not find who killed my father. I was frustrated that we stayed in a one-roomed shack with no privacy whatsoever. Anger started building up. I started looking around, started questioning a lot of things including the role of local government and our education system.”

In February 2024, Nguvu Collective Change, a social justice movement led by Zigebe, successfully submitted a petition to Parliament to compel the Department of Basic Education and the government to eradicate pit latrines in rural schools in the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal. Parliament instructed education authorities to submit detailed reports with timelines and deadlines on eradicating the structures.  

“We are proud of the progress we have made so far, but we will only celebrate once we see action on the ground,” he said. 

Zigebe says the UDM is committed to fighting corruption. “We were the first whistle-blowers of corruption in this country, when it was not fashionable to do so.” 

Nqabayomzi Kwankwa

Nqabayomzi Kwankwa (23 August 1980) became the youngest party chief whip in the National Assembly in 2013, when he was sworn in for the United Democratic Movement. 

He is also the party’s deputy president, having joined in 2007, a year after leaving the ANC where he was active in the youth league and student organisations.

Kwankwa serves on a number of parliamentary committees, including appropriation and finance, and public enterprises, small business and communications. He has taken to ending his speeches on the podium with “amasela (thieves)”.

Education is a passion, and most of the projects in his constituency revolve around this, be it school computer room or a library.

Born in iXesi, Eastern Cape, Kwankwa worked as a cleaner and night security guard while studying towards business administration and postgraduate economics degrees. Master’s studies are in the pipeline.

In 2015, he won the US-based Extraordinary People Award for significant contributions to communities.

Kwankwa heads the steering committee of the African Parliamentarians Association for Human Rights.

What’s not on your CV?
My passion for parliamentary diplomacy, pan-Africanism and human rights
Your last holiday destination?
Phuket (Thailand) and Bali
Your favourite song?
Love is in Need of Love Today by Stevie Wonder

N Kwankwa
Faeeza Lok copy

Faeeza Lok

Faeeza Lok (29) is a National Leadership Collective member at Rise Mzansi and former national volunteer coordinator.

Born in South Africa but raised in Hong Kong before she moved back to South Africa at the age of 15, Lok is a social entrepreneur and a fierce advocate for equality. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in Food Science and Technology from the University of Pretoria in 2018, and served as the Vice President of the Tuks Asian Society for two years. 

In 2022 she founded the Voice of The People Movement, described as “a movement where we connect and build our community one voice at a time”. Lok describes herself as an intersectional feminist, activist, and a proud South African. 

At the age of 12, her mother had a stroke, leaving the left side of her body paralysed, which Lok credits for showing her the importance of using an intersectional lens. 

“It is very difficult for her to get access to transport, access to public places; they’re not really designed for a person with a disability,” she says. “It showed me the importance of using an intersectional lens in designing for and solving the different challenges in our communities.”

One of the leadership principles of Rise Mzansi is inclusivity, and Lok described this as a lens and system that must be intentionally built and created. 

“In saying that, it is the reason we don’t have a youth league; we don’t have a women’s league. Every single person who sits in a different identity should sit at the same table and bring their full self so we can actually better serve our constituents who come from different backgrounds and fall under these different identities,” she says. 

Irfaan Mangera

Mangera (27) is Rise Mzansi’s head of Civic Alliances and National Leadership Collective, and is hoping to be elected to Gauteng’s provincial legislature.

Studying teaching at the University of the Witwatersrand at the time of the #FeesMustFall movement, Mangera’s disillusionment with the direction in which South Africa’s democracy was headed spurred him to enter student politics, which led to leadership roles at Wits and various community organisations.

“Instead of trying to fuel the fire that was burning our democracy to the ground, I decided to take lessons from the leaders I looked up to, and wanted to reignite a type of service leadership that focuses on building bridges instead of breaking them down. I still am quite hopeful for South Africa despite it all,” Mangera said.

As the Youth Activism Programme Manager at the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, he worked with young people across more than 30 community-based youth activist clubs. He also helped spearhead the creation of the National Youth Coalition, which aimed to build a space where the youth can use their voice to create systemic change. He is passionate about reforming the education and youth development department in Gauteng and building a system that ensures young people are skilled and can access work opportunities within their communities.

Mangera serves on the board of SANCA Nishtara, a community drug and rehabilitation centre, and on the advisory board of the Youth Climate Champions project. He is also an activist in the Palestinian Solidarity Movement.  

irfaan Mangera copy
Axolile Notywala copy

Axolile Notywala

Notywala (35) is a human rights and social justice activist who is currently standing as Rise Mzansi’s premier candidate for the Western Cape. 

Notywala was the general secretary of the Social Justice Coalition and a national coordinator for the Right2Know Campaign, as well as the general secretary of the Social Justice Coalition. He was also cofounder of the Movement for Collective Action and Racial Equity (Movement for CARE), a municipalist movement focusing on meaningful local participatory governance, active citizenship and building solidarity among marginalised communities. 

Notywala also founded Role Models FC, a Khayelitsha-based amateur football club that organises young men and boys, through sports, to lead and be active in the fight against GBV and mental health challenges.  

Notywala holds a BA in Political Leadership and Citizenship from Unisa. He is a Lifelong Fellow with the Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity, and a 2024 Fellow with the inaugural class of the Cape Town Leadership Forum. 

“I made the conscious decision to officially begin a journey of organising and building a political alternative, Rise Mzansi, in South Africa in 2022 with a collective group of people from diverse backgrounds,” he says. “We all have a role to play in contributing to the change that is required in our politics. I believe care and empathy are missing in our politics.” 

What’s not on your CV?
I have a 13-year-old daughter, Abukwe, who plays and loves soccer. I also play soccer, but she is way better than me. She is a Sundowns fan and I am a Kaizer Chiefs fan, so it’s been a tough past few months for me in football conversations with her! 
Last holiday?
Brooklyn, New York.
Favourite song?
Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”. 

Vuyiswa Ramokgopa

Rise Mzansi’s premier candidate for Gauteng, Vuyiswa Ramokgopa (38) is a business leader and entrepreneur who has decided that she wants to enter public service. She was CEO of the SA Institute of Black Property Practitioners and was elected as the inaugural chairperson of the National Property Practitioners Council. She served as a member of the Black Business Council National Council, and in 2018 founded Women.

on the Rise, a voluntary association aimed at increasing the voice of women in policy decision making.

Ramokgopa is an alumnus of the 2018 Fortune 500 Vital Voices US global mentoring programme, and a recipient of the 2011 Destiny magazine Top 40 Under 40 as well as the 2018 Young Independents Top 100. She was also a finalist in the 2018 CNBC All Africa Business Leaders awards and 2019 Standard Bank Top Women in Business awards.

She holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Cape Town and has completed executive programmes with GIBS and Oxford University. She is also a wife and mother of three. Ramokgopa is passionate about economic and spatial justice, the empowerment of youth and women and the development of the African continent.

What’s not on your CV?
I was once on Masterchef.
Last holiday?
The Drakensberg
Favourite song?
“Tell Him” by Lauryn Hill.

Vuyiswa Ramokgopa copy
ACDP
Prudence Mababsa copy

Prudence Mabasa

Born and raised in Brakpan, Prudence Mabasa (31) is a community chaplain, a youth minister, and the community development coordinator for the African Christian Democratic Party. 

Mabasa, who has been with the ACDP for the past five years, loves art and literature and was motivated to join the party through her active involvement in her community. 

“I saw that there was a lack of morality when it came to the politics that were being implemented and I was like, where is the voice for the Christian people, where is the voice of morality in our community, and that’s why I got into politics,” she said. 

Her journey has not been without its challenges. She was orphaned at a young age, a life-altering event that she says shaped her and also contributed to her joining the ACDP. 

“The only person who saw me was God, and I want to be like that person for someone else, that helper for them, to be like, hey, you’re not alone, you’ve got an older sister in the community,” she said. 

Mabasa also volunteered at the Brakpan police station in the victim-friendly room for three years. This is intended as a space where victims’ dignity and rights are protected, empowering them and preventing them from being subjected to secondary victimisation by the criminal justice system’s inefficiency. However, in reality, this space is not functional unless a volunteer is present. Mabasa was that volunteer.

Of the ACDP she says, “We are here for those Christian principles to be part of us, and say that is what we stand for. A good morality code is something … to inspire not just young people but also the government.”

blessibngRamoba copy

Lehlohonolo Blessings Ramoba

Independent candidate and mining activist Blessings Ramoba (35) is hoping to take his activism to Parliament. He is on the Limpopo and Gauteng regional lists. 

Born in Soweto, he later moved to Tzaneen in Limpopo where he did his schooling and matriculated from Mathibadifate Secondary School in 2008. 

Ramoba holds a degree in mining engineering and a diploma in labour law from the University of Johannesburg. At university, he chaired a forum for mining students. He is a well-known figure in South Africa’s mining and energy sector and has been the president and CEO of the Mining Forum of South Africa since 2016. 

In 2023, Ramoba formed the Employment Rights Party (ERP), but he is contesting the upcoming polls as an independent. He said he wanted to “test the system” as an independent candidate, and try for a seat in the National Assembly. 

Ramoba’s manifesto, launched earlier this month, focuses on tackling unemployment, supporting small businesses and industrialisation, and enhancing border security, among other issues. Many of his strategies are aimed at those in the mining sector. 

“I’m one person that [the people] know for advancing the cause of employment in the country and making sure we alleviate unemployment … so that we are able to create jobs and eradicate poverty,” he said.

What’s not on your CV?
I love travelling. 
Last holiday?
Mpumalanga.
Favourite song?
My favourite genre is gospel; I love listening to gospel songs for motivation.
shepherd Mines copy

Shepherd Mines

Shepherd Mines (39), the provincial secretary of the new political outfit the Northern Cape Communities Movement (NCCM) is looking to shake up Northern Cape politics. 

The NCCM, which was established in 2023, serves as a political vehicle for various community organisations, forums, and civic movements in the province. 

Mines was born and raised in Olifantshoek, a town that lies at the foot of the Langeberg mountain range, which stretches 180 km across the Kalahari. After matriculating from Langberg High School in 2003, he worked in Pretoria and Cape Town for several years, his first job having been as a cashier at Shoprite.  

In 2012, Mines returned to Olifantshoek to find his town in turmoil. After violent protests over poor service delivery closed schools in Olifantshoek and other towns in the John Taolo Gaetsewe District for four months, Mines decided to get involved in politics and community activism.

His political career started in the ANC in 2012, first as elections coordinator, then as branch secretary until he left the ANC in 2021. He has also held the positions of regional treasurer, deputy secretary and deputy chairperson of the ANC Youth League in the Northern Cape. 

Mines joined the Gamagara Community Forum in 2021, ahead of the local government elections. He is currently a PR councillor at Gamagara Local Municipality. He says the NCCM wants to fix some of the region’s most pressing problems: inadequate healthcare, service delivery and unemployment.

What’s not on your CV?
I am a humble person.
Last holiday?
Namibia.
Favourite song?
I can’t think of one, but my favourite genre is gospel.

Reuben Coetzer copy

Reuben Coetzer

Reuben Coetzer (21) is currently an LLB student at North-West University, having completed a BCom Law degree in 2023. 

Coetzer got into public service at the age of 17, involving himself in the problems faced by his community. Coetzer is ActionSA National Youth Forum Head of Voter Education and a Gauteng provincial executive member. He is also a former Gauteng Youth Forum chair within the party, and has been ActionSA’s Constituency Chairperson in Krugersdorp. 

He is a cofounder of Mighty Dads and Lads, an NGO aimed at building men of character, improving relationships between fathers and sons and guiding them on actively contributing to their communities.

What’s not on your CV?
I have a dry sense of humour.
Last holiday?
Mars – where men mostly are…
Favourite song?
“In My Life” by Judy Collins.

Matthew George copy

Matthew George

Matthew George (21) founded a student chapter for ActionSA at UCT. Hailing from the Western Cape, he is the party’s youngest provincial spokesperson and communications manager, as well as their National Youth Spokesperson. 

George is an innovative entrepreneur with a passion for sustainable technologies. He is studying towards a degree in Social Science, with a major in Political Science and Sociology, at the University of Cape Town, but has pressed pause on his studies to focus on the elections. 

In 2022, he founded the ActionSA Student Chapter at UCT, which he said was in part “spurred on by the recognition of the turning point South Africa is in and my desire to play a role in bringing about change, however small, on a university campus. Within a month of launching the chapter, our first SRC election bid saw us garnering more than 8,400 votes overall”. 

Aside from politics, George has founded his own digital marketing business, which he said is “focused on ushering micro-small businesses into the digital age”, while also leading business development at an e-publishing start-up. 

What’s not on your CV?
I happen to be an enthusiast of crime intelligence and forensic investigations.
Last holiday?
Johannesburg.
Favourite song?
“Stuck With Me” by The Neighbourhood.

malebo Kobe copy

Malebo Kobe

Malebo Kobe (32) has been in politics since 2021 when she joined ActionSA – “a vehicle through which I believed I could advance my community work on a broader scale”. She is on the party’s Provincial Executive Committee as a communications manager in Limpopo. 

Kobe majored in International Relations, Political Science and Public Administration at the University of Pretoria. She was awarded a Masters in International Relations from the University of Jilin in China in 2015. Upon completion of her studies, she worked at the Gauteng Office of the Premier as a stakeholder coordinator in the International Relations Department. She also worked at various institutions and government parastatals including Eskom, Rand Water and the League of Arab States. 

Kobe founded the Kobe Malebo Foundation, a non-governmental organisation that works with child-headed households and other structurally vulnerable families. 

 

What’s not on your CV?
I’m a huge foodie and love to travel, mostly to taste different dishes and cuisines.
Last holiday?
Rome, Italy.
Favourite song?
“This Woman’s Work” by Maxwell.
Notukela Makohliso copy

Notukela Makohliso

Notukela Makohliso (38) is ActionSA’s Western Cape Disability Forum chairperson. 

“I strongly believe that ethical and moral leaders are what South Africa needs for a better future,” she said. 

Makohliso holds certificates and diplomas in disability rights, public leadership, and social media marketing from institutions including the Centre for Human Rights, the University of Pretoria, and the Apolitical Academy Southern Africa.

She is a Team Fix South Africa member for Social Development, which ActionSA president Herman Mashaba said was a team of candidates the party assembled as part of their parliamentary list that stands “ready to address the greatest challenges facing our nation”. 

Makohliso is also an accredited assessor and moderator through the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. “I am an award-winning businesswoman, an avid social justice advocate, and enthusiastic about inclusion, equality, and diversity,” she said. 

What’s not on your CV?
I worked as a waitress during my first year at university.
Last holiday?
Mossel Bay in the Garden Route – my family and I had a relaxing getaway that was much needed.
Favourite song? 
“Settle for Less” by Khaya Mthethwa.

Vuyo Zungula copy

Vuyo Zungula

Vuyo Zungula (36) is President of the African Transformation Movement. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Business Management from Nelson Mandela University, an Honours degree in Business Management from Unisa, and a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) from the University of Cape Town.

Born in Mthatha, Zungula spent most of his upbringing in the  Eastern Cape under the care of his grandparents. 

He ventured into politics through the South African Council of Messianic

Churches in Christ in 2018. Assigned to head the Church and State Desk, his role involved communicating church-related matters to the state. Subsequently, this initiative transformed into the political entity known as the ATM. He became a Member of Parliament in 2019 at the age of 31.

What’s not on your CV?
I like the colour blue because I reckon it goes well with my skin tone.
Last holiday?
Nelspruit.
Favourite song?
Having been part of a church choir growing up, I love choral and gospel music, but my favourite artist is Dr Dre. Ayanda Shange’s music is also touching and inspirational. 
meganChauke copy

Tshehofatso Meagan Chauke

Chauke (34) convenes the ANC’s national disability desk and has always pursued inclusive rights for people living with disabilities. She has founded several disability rights advocacy organisations and is CEO of a number of companies that work to enable technology to bridge the digital divide. She is a public speaker and a single mom of two. Chauke was diagnosed as clinically blind at 23 years old.  

What’s not on your CV?
I used to be a really good hockey player. 
Last holiday?
Umhlanga, Durban.
Favourite song?
“Ngiyathandaza” by Lwah Ndlunkulu.
Zuko Godlimpi copy

Zuko Godlimpi

Zuko Godlimpi (32) was elected as one of the youngest members of the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) in December 2022. He is the deputy chairperson of the party’s economic transformation subcommittee and an advisor to Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane. 

Hailing from Ludeke Village in the Eastern Cape, Godlimpi’s journey in politics began in the Student Representative Council at Walter Sisulu University. He later rose through the ranks of the ANC’s youth structures before being elected to the NEC. As an NEC member Godlimpi is responsible for shaping the ANC’s policies and strategies and contributing to the party’s overall direction and leadership. 

What’s not on your CV?
I’m an avid Orlando Pirates fan and I love architecture and mathematics.
Last holiday?
Just a reboot in my village, Ludeke.
Favourite song?
“Vum Vum” by Brown Dash, but I love a wide range of music from kwaito and hip-hop to jazz and soul.
Fasiha Hassan copy

Fasiha Hassan

Fasiha Hassan (30) came under the public spotlight as one of the #FeesMustFall leaders at Wits University in the 2015 student protests against escalating fees and costs. 

With a law degree from Wits University, Hassan started attorney’s articles, but instead at the age of 25 became the Gauteng legislature’s youngest MPL. Initially on the education committee, she chaired the economic development committee, and then the cooperative governance committee.

Self-describing as black in general and Indian in particular, Hassan says she’s standing on the shoulders of women before her. She believes inclusion and representivity are essential, as it’s vital to create spaces for women to choose and self-define. She says education remains a passion, but youth unemployment is also a crucial priority, as is climate justice.

“It sometimes feels issues are insurmountable in South Africa. But the reality is there are enough young people willing to dedicate their lives not just to fix South Africa, but to make South Africa better.”

What’s not on your CV?
I really am a nerd. I love Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and Star Wars, which is funny and it’s political.
Last holiday?
My honeymoon, the Maldives.
Favourite song?
“Tried Up” by Ama Lou. 
Palomino Jama copy

Palomino Jama

An activist from East London, Jama (27) became a national youth leader of the #FeesMustFall movement. She was part of government’s post-schooling sector Covid response task team. Jama champions representation for women and LGBTQIA+ people and has pushed for queer activism in the ANC and for its inclusion in government policies. 

Ronald Lamola copy

Ronald Lamola

Ronald Lamola (40) was appointed Justice and Correctional Services Minister at the age of 36. Hailing from Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga, Lamola has overseen the reform of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) as well as policy and legal changes to align with the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture. He led the SA delegation to the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) where the country made a successful appeal for protection for Palestinians threatened by rising genocide and famine. Under his administration, efforts to better protect whistle-blowers are well under way. He was MEC for Sports, Arts and Culture in Mpumalanga and also the premier’s spokesperson before entering national government. Lamola was deputy president of the ANC Youth League.

Asanda Luwaca

Asanda Luwaca

A scholar and former parliamentary researcher, Luwaca (32) is chairperson of the BRICS Youth Council. She is executive chairperson of the National Youth Development Agency and has a passion for youth activism and development. She was the provincial coordinator of the ANC Youth League. Luwaca has a BA (Hons). 

What’s not on your CV?
I’m a proud mother of a beautiful, vibrant three-year-old boy. 
Last holiday?
Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal
Favourite song?
“Ngeke” by Big Nuz featuring DJ Zama.
Buti Manamela copy

Buti Manamela

The Deputy Minister of Higher Education is a seasoned politician. Manamela (44) served as an MP in the ANC Parliamentary Strategy Committee which plans its work in the National Assembly. Manamela is from the SA Communist Party and has led the Young Communist Leaders of SA since its launch in 2003. 

nonceba Mhlauli copy

Nonceba Mhlauli

Mhlauli (34) is pursuing a PhD in Communications. Originally from Upington, she has held a range of positions in the public service and in the legislative sector. She cut her political teeth in SASCO and was an ANC Youth League national convenor. Mhlauli is on the ANC NEC and is on the Governors’ Council of TVET Colleges as well as a Council member of the South Cape TVET College. 

What’s not on your CV?
I’m a Methodist Church member and a sports fanatic.
Last holiday?
Paris, France to watch the Rugby World Cup.
Favourite song?
“There’s Hope” by India.Arie.
lufefeMkutu copy

Lufefe Mkutu

A trained industrial technical engineer, Mkutu (31) has straddled the public and private sectors. He has worked as a business strategy analyst at Accenture and as a technician at General Motors. Mkutu is currently regional manager of the National Youth Development Agency. He is a seasoned youth activist and a member of the National Working Committee of the ANC Youth League. 

What’s not on your CV?
I am an avid reader and tech enthusiast.
Last holiday?
Zimbabwe.
Favourite song?
“Amazulu” by Amanda Black.
Kenneth Morolong copy

Kenneth Morolong

A deputy minister in the Presidency, Morolong (42) is former chairperson of ANC Young Pioneers and deputy chairperson of the National Youth Development Association, as well as a Cosas leader. He has been an MP since 2019 and is studying toward his Bachelors in Public Administration at MANCOSA College. 

Njabulo Nzuza copy

Njabulo Nzuza

The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs is from KwaZulu-Natal. Nzuza (42) holds a BCom degree in Economics from the University of Zululand. He is a former ANC Youth League secretary-general and a manager at King Cetshwayo (formerly uThungulu) District Municipality. Nzuza is on the ANC NEC.

What’s not on your CV?
I throw dope hip-hop rhymes.
Last holiday?
Limpopo for a game drive. I travel locally. 
Favourite song?
“Baby Don’t Cry” by Tupac Shakur.
Maropene-Ramokgopa copy

Maropene Ramokgopa

Maropene Ramokgopa (45) is part of the new generation of ANC leaders. Highly trained and skilled, she is a policymaker and former diplomat. 

Ramokgopa describes herself as a gender activist and was a founding member of the party’s Young Women’s Desk which is part of the Women’s League. Ramokgopa was special advisor to President Cyril Ramaphosa before being elected second secretary at the ANC conference in 2022. She holds a number of qualifications and is completing a Masters in Public Administration. 

drMikeRamothwala copy

Mike Ramothwala

A medical doctor, Ramothwala (34) has a long history in student and youth leadership. He is the senior clinical manager at the Limpopo Department of Health and is a former spokesperson for the Limpopo ANC Youth League. 

Born and raised in Bochabela Village in Tzaneen, Ramothwala was appointed clinical manager of Letaba Hospital in Tzaneen in 2018, making him one of the youngest clinical managers in the country. He obtained his medical qualifications at the University of Cape Town and served two terms as deputy president of the SRC and as the university’s communication and media officer. He is currently part of the ANC Youth League’s National Executive Committee. 

Ramothwala has also pursued a fellowship in Public Management at Texas Tech University in the USA. 

What’s not on your CV?
I’m a good cricket and rugby player.
Last holiday?
Thailand.
Favourite song?
“Something Inside So Strong” by Lira.

Muhammad Khalid Sayed copy

Muhammad Khalid Sayed

The ANC spokesperson in the Western Cape also serves as a member of the provincial legislature. A graduate of UCT, Sayed (38) was provincial chairperson of the ANC Youth League. He is an education activist and a prominent advocate for Palestinian solidarity.  

Tsakani Shiviti copy

Tsakani Shiviti

Shiviti (32) is an ANC Youth League leader who has been deputy president of Sasco and a leader of the African Union Youth Club, as well as Treasurer General of the Southern African Students Union, a structure that represents all students in the SADC region. Her interests are in diplomacy and regional policy. Shiviti says her skills are in communications and municipal management and governance. She is on the boards of the Small Enterprise Finance Agency and the Small Enterprise Development Agency, and is passionate about youth development and education.  

What’s not on your CV?
I am a self-taught beautician who loves making people look and feel beautiful. 
Last holiday?
My peaceful village for the traditional food and fresh air.
Favourite song?
“Drift Away” by Dobie Gray. 
Edwin Bath copy

Edwin Bath

Edwin Bath (34) is pursuing his Masters in Public Governance at the Nelson Mandela School of Governance at the University of Cape Town.  He has always worked in public service, including as an assistant director for the KZN provincial government, then a deputy director in the Western Cape and in the City of Cape Town. He also worked in the Eastern Cape. 

He grew up in the Underberg in KZN and he credits his humble beginnings with his decision to go into politics and public service. Bath obtained his BSc in Built Environment Studies at the University of Cape Town. 

Mark John Burke

Mark Burke

Dr Mark Burke (34) was a Mandela Rhodes scholar and at 20 years old was honoured as one of South Africa’s “100 Brightest Young Minds”. He owns fintech forex trading company Kastelo. Besides fintech, Burke has also worked in local and international development. He has worked in West Africa and for the Global Impact Investing Network, as well as for UK Aid. 

Burke has an MSc (UCT), an M(Phil) and a Doctorate in Economics and Quantitative Economics from Cambridge University. His doctoral research was on affordable housing and the impact of public policy.

Siviwe Gwarube copy

Siviwe Gwarube

Siviwe Gwarube (34) is currently the Chief Whip of the DA. Before assuming the role in August 2022, she served as the Deputy Chief Whip and the National Spokesperson for the DA. Prior to that, she was the Shadow Minister of Health.

Gwarube has extensive experience in political communications and political strategy, in party politics and within government. She has worked as the spokesperson and later the Head of Ministry for the Department of Health in the Western Cape. In 2017, she was appointed as the Head of Communications for the DA before she was elected to public office in 2019.

While she is currently pursuing her Master’s degree at the UCT Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance, she also holds a BA Honours degree in Law, Politics and Philosophy from Rhodes University and the University of the Western Cape. 

Gwarube’s goal is to make Parliament relevant to South Africans by ensuring that the institution fulfils its constitutional obligations and becomes the engine room of solutions to issues faced by citizens.

What’s not on your CV?
I love a good book by a fireplace with a glass of wine. Like most Cape Town residents, a sunset walk on the promenade is always a good idea. 
Last holiday?
Oribi Gorge in KwaZulu-Natal.
Favourite song?
I enjoys a wide variety of music, from Msaki and Thandiswa Mazwai to Amadodana Ase Wesile. 

Liam Jacobs copy

Liam Jacobs

A properly millennial politician, Jacobs has 81,000 followers on TikTok,  where he has amassed more than 27 million views and 1.5 million likes for his posts. He is federal leader of the Democratic Alliance Student Organisation and his mission is to present politics in the language of young people. He aims to make NSFAS work better and he uses his social media oomph as a Department of Higher Education and Training watchdog.  

What’s not on your CV? 
I was a Philosophy tutor at the University of Pretoria for two years, I’m a professional wrestler and I can name and describe the flag of every country in the world.
Last holiday? 
Graaff-Reinet.
Favourite song? 
“Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1” by Kanye West
Kabelo Kgobisa copy

Kabelo Kgobisa

Kgobisa started as a researcher with the Democratic Alliance in Parliament and in 2020 graduated from the DA Young Leaders Programme. She is COO of a communications company and holds a BA LLB from the University of Cape Town. Kgobisa served articles at Lawyers for Human Rights where she advocated for criminal justice reform, farm workers’ rights and gender equality. 

What’s not on your CV?
My podcast addiction. I subscribe to about 130 podcasts and I’m rarely seen without earphones.
Last holiday?
Inverdoorn Game Reserve.
Favourite song?
Diabolical question – I couldn’t possibly pick one. I will say that my best friend recently sent me “Ke Tlo Fihla” by Maleh. It’s gorgeous and I’m enjoying that right now.
Dulandi Leech copy

Dulandi Leech

Hailing from the Free State, Leech (39) is a youth leader in the DA who was assistant to the DA caucus in Mangaung. She has been a local councillor since 2011, has experience in municipal finance and has been an elections campaign manager in the Free State. Leech says her mission is to rescue the Free State and to deal with 15 years of water shortages since 40% of water is regarded as “non-revenue”, which means it is lost to leaks. 

What’s not on your CV? 
I am my own worst critic.
Last holiday? 
My husband’s family farm.
Favourite song? 
“Joyride” by Roxette.
Solly Malatsi copy

Solly Malatsi

Solly Malatsi (38) is the deputy federal chairperson of the DA and the party’s national spokesperson. He has a long history in the party as a student activist, a staff member and ultimately a public representative. 

He has been a Member of Parliament since April 2014 and has served in several portfolios as the party’s Shadow Minister for Sports and Recreation, Human Settlements, and Communications. Malatsi was the spokesperson for the MEC of Transport and Public Works in the Western Cape Provincial Government from June 2009 to May 2011, and served as spokesperson for the Mayor of Cape Town from June 2011 to March 2014.

He holds a Bachelor of Administration degree from the University of Limpopo and an Honors Degree in Politics from Wits University.

Philanthropy is one of his passions and he runs an NPO that focuses on supporting poor learners in Limpopo with school uniforms and sanitary pads. He fundraises and provides football kits and sports equipment to amateur sports clubs in rural areas in Limpopo.

Malatsi is an avid runner and plays soccer when he is not in Parliament. Kwaito legend Zola is his favourite artist of all time. “His catalogue was the soundtrack of my youth and early adulthood. His depth of addressing social ills and balancing it with uplifting lyricism made me connect with his music.”

Mlondi Mdluli copy

Mlondi Mdluli

Hailing from eThekwini, Mduli (25) is an economist who holds a BCom and MCom from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He was part of the 2021 cohort of DA Young Leaders and has been a senior economic researcher at the SA Institute of Race Relations. He is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Philosophy with the University of Reading. 

What’s not on your CV?
My uncanny ability to predict when the toast is going to pop up.
Last holiday?
London.
Favourite song?
“Ain’t No Stopping Us Now” by McFadden & Whitehead. 
Kabelo Mogatosi copy

Kabelo Mogatosi

A councillor and the DA caucus chairperson in Nelson Mandela Bay, Mogatosi rose from the ranks of a student activist where he helped win the DA Student Organisation (Daso) a victory at Fort Hare in 2015. In 2019, he was elected chief whip and was Roads and Transport Directorate MMC when the party was in a multiparty coalition in 2022. 

Mogatosi has been part of the DA’s federal council and other leadership structures, and Nelson Mandela Bay received a clean audit when he was on the leadership team.

Baxolile Babongile Nodada copy

Baxolile Babongile Nodada

Baxolile Nodada (32) is a DA Member of Parliament who serves as the Shadow Minister of Basic Education and the Parliamentary Counsellor to the Leader of the official opposition in the National Assembly. He previously served as the Shadow Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation. He is the DA’s Constituency Leader of the Alfred Nzo District in the Eastern Cape and serves on their Federal Council. Outside of politics, he works in the property sector.

Born in Aliwal North, Nodada attended Kearsney College and Hudson Park High School. He joined the Democratic Alliance’s student organisation at the Nelson Mandela University and served as the first chairperson of its South Campus branch. 

He was a member of the university’s Student Representative Council (SRC) and in 2015 was given the SRC Member of the Year Leadership Award by the Vice-Chancellor.

Nodada graduated with a BA in Political Science, Public Administration and Economics in 2014 and an Honours degree in Politics, Public Administration and Conflict Management in 2015.

In 2016, Nodada was elected as the youngest councillor in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality. He was elected as the Daso Eastern Cape Provincial Chairperson before graduating from the DA’s Young Leaders Programme in 2018 and founding the Brothers Circle. In 2019, he stood for election to the South African National Assembly and won a seat in parliament. 

Nododa loves gospel music. “I’m a spiritual being who believes in consistent prayer in good and difficult times and this music plays 90% when I’m driving,” he says. “I also enjoy a lot of local music like Afro pop, Amapiano and electro. Can never leave out Afrobeats as well lol.” 

“My last holiday destinations were Cofimvaba and East London. I enjoy spending time with my family because I hardly see them. I play piano a bit and kick the ball or swim with my son on a good weekend,” he says.

Christopher Pappas copy

Chris Pappas

The mayor of uMngeni, Pappas (32) is also the DA candidate for premier in KwaZulu-Natal. With a team including his deputy, Sandile Mnikathi, Pappas has been slowly fixing mMngeni’s infrastructure, with roads and iconic spaces like the Mandela capture site at Howick having been returned to functionality, as well as jobs being created. He was recognised by Time magazine in its 2023 100 List for his work. Pappas faced a complaint that he favoured a former romantic partner with a contract, but this was dismissed by the KwaZulu-Natal Cooperative Governance department. 

A technocrat, Pappas is a development economist and urban planner by profession. Together with Mnikathi, they have authored the newly published book Saving South Africa. Lessons from the uMngeni Municipality Success Story.

Ashor Sarupen copy

Ashor Sarupen

Ashor Sarupen (35) is first deputy chairperson of the DA’s federal council, as well as an MP and Deputy Shadow Minister for Finance. Sarupen joined the DA in 2006 at the age of 17 in his home town of Springs, Gauteng, where he subsequently served as the constituency chairperson and local campaign manager.

He was elected to the Ekurhuleni Metro Council in 2011 and served as Chief Whip of the Official Opposition in the Council at the age of 22.

In 2014 he was appointed as an election strategy advisor for the DA’s Gauteng election campaign, which saw the DA get its best result to date. He then served as a member of the Gauteng Legislature between 2014 and 2019, representing the DA on the Finance, Economic Development, Social Development and Education committees.

In 2016, Sarupen led the DA’s campaign in Ekurhuleni Metro and brought the ANC under 50%. In October 2019 he was appointed Chief of Staff, and in 2020 he was elected into the DA’s national leadership as deputy chairperson of the federal council and also appointed deputy national campaign manager.  

What’s not on your CV?
I grew up in Bakerton, Springs. I fell in love with politics in 1994 at six years old in Grade 1 because elections meant we got three days’ holiday. 
Last holiday?
To Italy. My best friend emigrated there so it’s my first choice holiday.  And it’s the second most beautiful country in the world after SA. 
Favourite song?
“Walking On A Dream” by Empire of the Sun.
Khathutshelo Rasilingwane copy

Khathutshelo Rasilingwane

A councillor in Ekurhuleni, Rasilingwane has been an active DA member since 2010. She was MMC for Community Safety for a short while before the ANC-EFF coalition wrested back control from the multiparty coalition.  

A graduate of the DA Young Leaders Programme, Rasilingwane says she wants to be a woman of influence. She told a recent media conference that she grew up poor as the child of a street vendor and worked hard to improve herself. She is a candidate for the Gauteng provincial government.  

What’s not on your CV?
It captures my passion to serve my community, mentoring others, and I am able to adapt quickly to new challenges.
Last holiday?
Namibia – Swakopmund and Windhoek. 
Favourite song?
“Something Inside So Strong” by Lira.
Nazley Sharif copy

Nazley Sharif

Nazley Sharif (33) was sworn in as MP after the May 2019 elections. With a sharp focus on gender-based violence and women’s rights, Sharif has worked with various womxn and youth organisations, non-governmental organisations and others to drive inclusivity, equality and fairness across society.

At Parliament Sharif serves on the Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities Committee, and is part of the steering committee for the National Assembly’s Multi-party Women’s Caucus.

She joined Daso at Wits University in 2009 and held various posts in the DA’s youth structures. Her formal political career started at the City of Johannesburg as a PR councillor in 2014. She chaired the council committee on gender, youth and persons with disability. 

As a 24-year-old councillor, Sharif was confronted with sexism at work, being catcalled and grabbed by an older male colleague from another political party. On reporting the sexual harassment it turned out her experience was not unique, but had been normalised, even by women.

“Even here in these corridors, as a young MP who happens to be a woman, I am not equal. Before we preach about equality, let us start by holding ourselves accountable. We cannot pretend to care on this podium and then perpetuate patriarchy outside. You cannot write speeches about the effects of GBV when you do not unlearn toxic masculinity. My name is Nazley Sharif and I am a feminist,” she put it directly in the 2020 Women’s Day parliamentary debate.

Sharif obtained an Honours degree in Political Studies from Wits University. In 2021 she completed the Georgia State University’s public management course.

“I look forward to making a bigger contribution in the gender space and am excited to share knowledge and skills to bring about gender equality in society and fight against the patriarchal system of oppression,” she said.

What’s not on your CV?
I am a creative soul with a banging sense of humour. I am also the most tattooed member of Parliament.
Last holiday?
Cape Town.
Favourite song?
So difficult, I have many favourite songs! Music is magical, it can transport you back in time and bring back memories. “Soldier of Love” by Sade, “Jet Fuel” by Mac Miller, “Palm Trees” by Flatbush Zombies, “Sprinter” by Central Cee & Dave, “Run Jozi” by AKA…

Naledi Chriwa copy

Naledi Chirwa

Naledi Chirwa (30) is an advocate for gender equality, youth empowerment, and social justice. Born in Pretoria, her journey into activism began in student politics. 

As a student leader at the University of Pretoria, Chirwa was involved in student protests and activism. She was a vocal advocate for free, decolonised education and was key in organising student movements during the #FeesMustFall protests.

After graduating from the University of Pretoria, she continued her activism in various capacities, working with grassroots organisations and community initiatives to address issues such as gender-based violence, economic inequality, and political corruption. 

She was among the four young women who staged a protest against former President Jacob Zuma at the IEC results centre. The protest was part of a campaign which marked 10 years since Zuma’s rape trial.

In 2019, Chirwa was elected as an MP for the Economic Freedom Fighters. She became one of the youngest and most vocal MPs. As an EFF MP, she has continued to champion progressive policies and advocate for the rights of women, youth, and marginalised communities.

Sihle Lonzi copy

Sihle Lonzi

Sihle Lonzi (26) arrived at UCT to study economics and philosophy as an alumnus of South African College High School (SACS) in Cape Town, where he was head boy in 2015. 

With no prior experience in politics, he was immediately immersed in the #RhodesMustFall movement and formed a close relationship with Economic Freedom Fighters spokesperson Sinawo Tambo. Together they played a key role in establishing the EFF Students’ Command (EFFSC) at UCT. Like Tambo, he describes himself as a Marxist-Leninist who believes in the Labour Theory of Value. 

Lonzi was elected as the president of the EFFSC in 2022 and has overseen the growth of the party in tertiary institutions. Last year, the EFFSC contested‌ nine universities and won in all of them.

Sinawo Tambo copy

Sinawo Tambo

Sinawo Tambo (27) is spokesperson for the Economic Freedom Fighters. He joined the party as a student at the University of Cape Town and served in the Student Representative Council under the party’s student wing, EFFSC. 

Tambo describes himself as a Marxist-Leninist and avid Fanonista (Frantz Fanon reader/believer). 

He rose to prominence during the #RhodesMustFall movement and went on to become EFFSC Western Cape provincial chairperson. The party then appointed him as EFF head of presidency, and not long after that he was appointed party spokesperson. In October 2020 he was sworn in as a member of the National Assembly. 

Mkhuleko Hlengwa copy

Mkhuleko Hlengwa

Mkhuleko Hlengwa (36) has chaired the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) – the national legislature’s watchdog on public spending – since the May 2019 elections. He is also the Inkatha Freedom Party’s national spokesperson.

Hlengwa’s father, Inkosi Mhlabunzima Hlengwa, served as an IFP MP from 1994 to 2004. Born in Mfume, south of Durban, Hlengwa followed his father into politics, rising through the ranks of student politics and subsequently being elected as chairperson of the IFP Youth Brigade in March 2011, which position he held until July 2019.  

In April 2017 he was named Wits School of Governance’s top student of the 2016 class for the graduate certificate in governance and leadership. 

In his position as Scopa chair Hlengwa has dealt with controversial issues ranging from financially troubled entities like the Road Accident Fund and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas), and departments’ non-tabling of annual reports and financials, to Eskom and State Capture.

Hlengwa quotes former IPF leader Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi: “It is better to travel on hope, than to arrive.”

What’s not on your CV?
I am actually a very reserved guy. I prefer to be at home, and love the rural areas.
Last holiday?
Dead Valley and Walvis Bay in Namibia.
Favourite song?
“I remember Mama” by Shirley Caesar.
Zandile Majozi copy

Zandile Majozi

Deputy Chairperson of the Inkatha Freedom Party Gauteng Legislature and IFP MP Zandile Majozi (38) is reading towards a qualification in public administration at Regenesys Business School in order to better serve her constituents. She is currently on the Committee on Multi-Party Women’s Caucus and on the Portfolio Committee of Communications and Digital Technologies, as well as that of Police. 

Elected as an MP in 2019, Majozi is also the Deputy Chief Whip of the IFP National Parliamentary Caucus and has served on the board of the National Youth Development Agency. 

Having been a member of the IFP since 2005, Majozi built her career serving as Youth Brigade Chairperson in Ward 35 and was later elected as the brigade’s deputy secretary for the City of Johannesburg, in which role she served for five years. She was subsequently elected the Youth Brigade’s Deputy National Chairperson, a position she held for eight years. 

What’s not on your CV?
I have dedicated my life to be in service of the Inkatha Freedom Party and the people of South Africa.
Last holiday?
Cape Town.
Favourite song?
“Halo” by Beyoncé.
Liesl van der Merwe copy

Liezl van der Merwe

A communications specialist by profession, Liezl van der Merwe (43) is an Inkatha Freedom Party MP who uses her skills in communications to advocate for the rights of women and children through her servant leadership approach to politics. 

Hailing from Cape Town, Van der Merwe developed her passion for history and politics in her high school days at Paarl Gimnasium. She went on to earn a diploma in journalism, and worked for a British Broadcaster before joining the IFP in 2006. 

Having served as Director of Communications for the party she became an MP in 2012 at the age of 33, and has served on numerous portfolio committees including Communications, Women in the Presidency and Social Development, among others. She has also served on the joint committee for Ethics and Members’ Interests.

What’s not on your CV?
I consider myself quite the braai master. I enjoy sports and I love animals; I am a proud mommy of two – a pug and a rescue kitty.
Last holiday?
St Lucia in KwaZulu-Natal.
Favourite song?
“Rise Up” by Andra Day – or anything by John Legend, Alicia Keys or Black Coffee. 
Letlhogonolo-Noge-Tungamirai

Letlhogonolo Noge Tungamirai

Letlhogonolo Noge Tungamirai (41) was born and bred in Mahikeng, North West. 

Having been a corporate executive for more than 20 years, she was approached by the United Democratic Movement just a few months ago, and decided to jump ship.   

“I am a person of ethics and integrity and when I thought of this marriage between myself and the UDM it was a natural move,” she said. “I’m not necessarily coming into politics as a politician. I’m coming into politics as a business turnaround specialist who is here to assist with solutions for this country. I love South Africa and this is why I have moved into the political space to make a difference and ultimately change the lives of South Africans.”

Noge Tungamirai’s past and current board memberships include roles at the Development Bank of Southern Africa, Postbank and Women In Tech, among others. 

“I’m ready to contribute to the policies of this country,” she said. “I think I got tired enough. I got angry enough as a South African to say no, you know what, I am not going to sit here and observe, I am going to roll up my sleeves and get involved to bring about meaningful change not only for me, but for generations to come.” 

What’s not on your CV?
I am the first in my lineage to venture into politics.
Last holiday?
Cape Town.
Favourite song?
“Not Yet Uhuru” by Letta Mbulu. South Africa is not yet free 30 years into democracy.

sisa Mbeki copy

Sisa Mbeki

Sisa Mbeki (39) entered the political arena in 2008, while he was a student at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. He formally joined the United Democratic Movement in 2013. 

Since January 2024, Mbeki has been a lecturer at Durban University of Technology in the Quantity Surveying programmes. He has served as the chairperson of the Eastern Cape chapter of the Higher Education Facility Management Association, a non-profit association whose members are from higher education institutions, primarily universities, in Southern Africa.

Mbeki holds a Bachelor’s degree in Quantity Surveying, a Bachelor’s degree in Project Management and a Master’s degree in Construction Management. 

“I’ve been involved in politics for a long time,” he said, “but I am not a politician, I am an activist. I believe people must have a will; people must elect governments to power; people must be the ones to actually lead through the officials.”

He believes that the correct interpretation of the Constitution is that government is not the elected officials, but government is the people through the elected officials. 

“I want to ensure that I educate people about their rights, about their power … until they understand that their X (vote) carries a power.” 

What’s not on your CV?
I do not have personal opinions or motivations. Instead, I aim to provide objective and informed insights to support the democratic process.
Last holiday?
Northampton, England, where I attended AUDE Summer School for a week.
Favourite song?
“Up Where We Belong” by BeBe and CeCe Winans.
Yongama Zigebe copy

Yongama Zigebe

Yongama Zigebe (36) is the secretary-general of the United Democratic Movement. He was born in Transkei, Eastern Cape but later moved to Alexander, South of Johannesburg where he completed his formal education.   

Zigebe was raised by his step-father and domestic worker mom, who was passionate about social justice and was a member of the South African National Civic Organisation.

In 2002, Zigebe’s father was killed in a car accident. The driver fled the scene and Zigebe’s subsequent struggle to find justice for his father sparked his political consciousness.  

He had to find lawyers and sit in meetings where legal jargon was the order of the day. “I was frustrated that I could not find who killed my father. I was frustrated that we stayed in a one-roomed shack with no privacy whatsoever. Anger started building up. I started looking around, started questioning a lot of things including the role of local government and our education system.”

In February 2024, Nguvu Collective Change, a social justice movement led by Zigebe, successfully submitted a petition to Parliament to compel the Department of Basic Education and the government to eradicate pit latrines in rural schools in the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal. Parliament instructed education authorities to submit detailed reports with timelines and deadlines on eradicating the structures.  

“We are proud of the progress we have made so far, but we will only celebrate once we see action on the ground,” he said. 

Zigebe says the UDM is committed to fighting corruption. “We were the first whistle-blowers of corruption in this country, when it was not fashionable to do so.” 

N Kwankwa

Nqabayomzi Kwankwa

Nqabayomzi Kwankwa (23 August 1980) became the youngest party chief whip in the National Assembly in 2013, when he was sworn in for the United Democratic Movement. 

He is also the party’s deputy president, having joined in 2007, a year after leaving the ANC where he was active in the youth league and student organisations.

Kwankwa serves on a number of parliamentary committees, including appropriation and finance, and public enterprises, small business and communications. He has taken to ending his speeches on the podium with “amasela (thieves)”.

Education is a passion, and most of the projects in his constituency revolve around this, be it school computer room or a library.

Born in iXesi, Eastern Cape, Kwankwa worked as a cleaner and night security guard while studying towards business administration and postgraduate economics degrees. Master’s studies are in the pipeline.

In 2015, he won the US-based Extraordinary People Award for significant contributions to communities.

Kwankwa heads the steering committee of the African Parliamentarians Association for Human Rights.

What’s not on your CV?
My passion for parliamentary diplomacy, pan-Africanism and human rights
Your last holiday destination?
Phuket (Thailand) and Bali
Your favourite song?
⁠Love is in Need of Love Today by Stevie Wonder

tammy Breedt copy

Tammy Breedt

Breedt (38) was the first female national youth leader of the Freedom Front Plus and one of the party’s first female MPs, along with Heloise Denner.

Johannesburg-born Breedt obtained a BCom from the Free State University, where she also served on the student representative council.

Before entering the National Assembly Breedt was a member of the Free State Provincial Legislature where she served on all five portfolio committees. She spent time in Germany as an exchange student while studying for a Bachelor of Communications at the University of the Free State, and was chosen to represent the UFS as part of the Young People’s Project in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Breedt represents the FF+ as an MP on the Portfolio Committee for Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, and is spokesperson for environmental affairs, social development and women, youth and persons with disabilities.

For the past 12 years she’s been on the judging panel for the AfriForum “Dink of Sink (think or sink)” debating competition. She also coaches debaters at a Bloemfontein girls’ school.

In her capacity as the party’s international relations point person, Breedt was elected into the Unrepresented Nationals and People’s Organisation (UNPO) presidency under Edna Adan Ismail of Somaliland in March 2022.

“I really feel strongly about the true empowerment of girls and the rights of minorities in the world. We should celebrate our uniqueness instead of forcing everyone to fit into a specific mould,” Breedt said.

What’s not on your CV?
I’ve been told my cooking is not too shabby, and I am also a bit of a petrolhead.
Last holiday?
Hogsback, Eastern Cape, in the middle of winter. It was freezing!
Favourite song?
Any Fokofpolisiekar song, but Will Linley’s “Last Call” has also frequently been on repeat.
heloise Dneer copy

Heloise Denner

Heloise Denner (38) is an MP for the Freedom Front Plus and served as a member of the Portfolio Committee for Employment and Labour in 2019.

She grew up in Kroonstad in the Free State and matriculated from Kroonstad High School before going on to study BCom Law, BCom Honours and LLB degrees at the University of the Free State. Denner completed her articles as a legal clerk in Bloemfontein, where she also practiced law after being admitted to the High Court of South Africa.

Denner describes her childhood as safe and loving, and says that she grew up sheltered from the realities that millions of South Africans live with daily. Being confronted with this reality fuels her ideology that every person in South Africa has the ability to contribute positively to society and make the world a better place.

“After the last 30 years of democracy, I think many of us are disillusioned with what we have to deal with today and that the responsibility to work towards a better future is now more serious than ever before,” she said.

When not in Parliament, Denner puts her legal degree to use, specialising in family, labour and commercial mediation. She also has a black belt in karate.

Stephanus Du Toit copy

Stephanus du Toit

Freedom Front Plus MP Stephanus “Fanie” du Toit (43) was born in Klerksdorp in the North West and matriculated from Klerksdorp Technical High School in 1999. 

An entrepreneur who was in the manufacturing industry for 15 years, Du Toit was a FF+ councillor in the JB Marks Local Municipality from 2016 to 2019, serving as caucus leader for the party. He also served as a councillor in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality in the province.

He serves on the party’s provincial executive management committee in the North West and on the federal council and the party’s Federal Policy and Constitutional Committee. He is also the FF+ party whip in the National Council of Provinces in Parliament, and he served on the Ad Hoc Joint Committee on Flood Disaster Relief and Recovery.

Du Toit plays an active role in protecting and promoting Afrikaner cultural heritage.

What’s not on your CV?
I enjoy writing poetry.
Last holiday?
Madikwe Game Reserve.
Favourite song?
“Die Gelofte”.
De Wet Nel copy

De Wet Nel

De Wet Nel (40) has served as a member of the North West provincial legislature for the Freedom Front Plus since 2019. 

Nel matriculated from Hoërskool Noordheuwel in Krugersdorp in 2001. He became involved in the party structures of the FF+ after he was elected as a branch chairperson for the party in 2015. In the same year, he was also elected as a proportional councillor in Rustenburg Local Municipality. 

Following the 2016 local government elections, Nel swapped his career in finance and accounting for politics to become a full-time councillor, being elected as the chairperson of the Municipal Public Accounts Committee.

In 2019,  he was elected as deputy provincial leader of the FF+ in the North West, and as a member of the provincial legislature. He represents the FF+ as the caucus leader in the North West legislature.

He is currently in his final year of completing a BSocSci PPE (Politics, Philosophy and Economics) degree.

What’s not on your CV?
I like to experiment by brewing different beers at my home, I am a fervent Bulls supporter, and a while ago I bought nine turkeys to become a part-time amateur turkey farmer. Three years later and I currently have only 15 turkeys – it is therefore apparent that I have limited talents when it comes to farming. 
Last holiday?
Sodwana.
Favourite song?
“Annie’s Song” by John Denver – probably because my girlfriend’s name is Annie.
Michal Groenewald copy

Michal Groenewald

Michal Groenewald (40) is the son of Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald and the party’s provincial leader in the North West.

Groenewald matriculated from the Potchefstroom Volkskool in 2002. He holds a BCom law degree, as well as an advanced diploma in tourism and hospitality.

Groenewald joined the FF+ at the age of 16 and was national youth leader of the party. He has served in various party structures and in 2011 was elected as a councillor in the City of Matlosana (formerly Klerksdorp) Local Municipality, a position he held until 2019. 

Groenewald was elected as the FF+ provincial leader in the North West In 2017, and as a member of the National Assembly in 2019. 

During his time in Parliament, he served on the Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs. He is also the party’s spokesperson on tourism.

What’s not on your CV?
I am a skydiving enthusiast.
Last holiday?
Rietspruit Dam.
Favourite song?
“End of time” by Alan Walker.

Wouter Wessels copy

Wouter Wessels

Wouter Wessels (39) has served as a member of Parliament for the Freedom Front Plus since 2017.

Wessels was born and raised in East London and matriculated from Hoërskool Grens as the dux pupil. He then studied at the University of the Free State where he played an active role in leadership and student politics. 

Prior to entering politics on a full-time basis, Wessels owned and managed a marketing business. He has twice been recognised as one of South Africa’s most influential young people by Avance Media.

A former national youth leader of the FF+, Wessels was elected as a member of the Free State provincial legislature in 2013, serving until 2017 when he was elected to the National Assembly. He serves as a whip of the FF+ and is a member of Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance. He also previously served on the ad hoc committees for the appointments of the Auditor General and the Public Protector.

Wessels has been a member of the national executive management of the FF+ since 2013 and is also the national head of elections and strategy of the party. He is the campaign manager of the party’s 2024 election campaign and also headed the party campaigns in 2016, 2019 and 2021.

What’s not on your CV?
I love cooking and baking. That is to a large extent (except for bingeing Netflix series) my only pastime. 
Last holiday?
Near Pringle Bay, in a small cottage on a cliff overlooking the pristine coastline.
Favourite song?
“The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World.
Faeeza Lok copy

Faeeza Lok

Faeeza Lok (29) is a National Leadership Collective member at Rise Mzansi and former national volunteer coordinator.

Born in South Africa but raised in Hong Kong before she moved back to South Africa at the age of 15, Lok is a social entrepreneur and a fierce advocate for equality. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in Food Science and Technology from the University of Pretoria in 2018, and served as the Vice President of the Tuks Asian Society for two years. 

In 2022 she founded the Voice of The People Movement, described as “a movement where we connect and build our community one voice at a time”. Lok describes herself as an intersectional feminist, activist, and a proud South African. 

At the age of 12, her mother had a stroke, leaving the left side of her body paralysed, which Lok credits for showing her the importance of using an intersectional lens. 

“It is very difficult for her to get access to transport, access to public places; they’re not really designed for a person with a disability,” she says. “It showed me the importance of using an intersectional lens in designing for and solving the different challenges in our communities.”

One of the leadership principles of Rise Mzansi is inclusivity, and Lok described this as a lens and system that must be intentionally built and created. 

“In saying that, it is the reason we don’t have a youth league; we don’t have a women’s league. Every single person who sits in a different identity should sit at the same table and bring their full self so we can actually better serve our constituents who come from different backgrounds and fall under these different identities,” she says. 

irfaan Mangera copy

Irfaan Mangera

Mangera (27) is Rise Mzansi’s head of Civic Alliances and National Leadership Collective, and is hoping to be elected to Gauteng’s provincial legislature.

Studying teaching at the University of the Witwatersrand at the time of the #FeesMustFall movement, Mangera’s disillusionment with the direction in which South Africa’s democracy was headed spurred him to enter student politics, which led to leadership roles at Wits and various community organisations.

“Instead of trying to fuel the fire that was burning our democracy to the ground, I decided to take lessons from the leaders I looked up to, and wanted to reignite a type of service leadership that focuses on building bridges instead of breaking them down. I still am quite hopeful for South Africa despite it all,” Mangera said.

As the Youth Activism Programme Manager at the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, he worked with young people across more than 30 community-based youth activist clubs. He also helped spearhead the creation of the National Youth Coalition, which aimed to build a space where the youth can use their voice to create systemic change. He is passionate about reforming the education and youth development department in Gauteng and building a system that ensures young people are skilled and can access work opportunities within their communities.

Mangera serves on the board of SANCA Nishtara, a community drug and rehabilitation centre, and on the advisory board of the Youth Climate Champions project. He is also an activist in the Palestinian Solidarity Movement.  

Axolile Notywala copy

Axolile Notywala

Notywala (35) is a human rights and social justice activist who is currently standing as Rise Mzansi’s premier candidate for the Western Cape. 

Notywala was the general secretary of the Social Justice Coalition and a national coordinator for the Right2Know Campaign, as well as the general secretary of the Social Justice Coalition. He was also cofounder of the Movement for Collective Action and Racial Equity (Movement for CARE), a municipalist movement focusing on meaningful local participatory governance, active citizenship and building solidarity among marginalised communities. 

Notywala also founded Role Models FC, a Khayelitsha-based amateur football club that organises young men and boys, through sports, to lead and be active in the fight against GBV and mental health challenges.  

Notywala holds a BA in Political Leadership and Citizenship from Unisa. He is a Lifelong Fellow with the Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity, and a 2024 Fellow with the inaugural class of the Cape Town Leadership Forum. 

“I made the conscious decision to officially begin a journey of organising and building a political alternative, Rise Mzansi, in South Africa in 2022 with a collective group of people from diverse backgrounds,” he says. “We all have a role to play in contributing to the change that is required in our politics. I believe care and empathy are missing in our politics.” 

What’s not on your CV?
I have a 13-year-old daughter, Abukwe, who plays and loves soccer. I also play soccer, but she is way better than me. She is a Sundowns fan and I am a Kaizer Chiefs fan, so it’s been a tough past few months for me in football conversations with her! 
Last holiday?
Brooklyn, New York.
Favourite song?
Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”. 
Vuyiswa Ramokgopa copy

Vuyiswa Ramokgopa

Rise Mzansi’s premier candidate for Gauteng, Vuyiswa Ramokgopa (38) is a business leader and entrepreneur who has decided that she wants to enter public service. She was CEO of the SA Institute of Black Property Practitioners and was elected as the inaugural chairperson of the National Property Practitioners Council. She served as a member of the Black Business Council National Council, and in 2018 founded Women.

on the Rise, a voluntary association aimed at increasing the voice of women in policy decision making.

Ramokgopa is an alumnus of the 2018 Fortune 500 Vital Voices US global mentoring programme, and a recipient of the 2011 Destiny magazine Top 40 Under 40 as well as the 2018 Young Independents Top 100. She was also a finalist in the 2018 CNBC All Africa Business Leaders awards and 2019 Standard Bank Top Women in Business awards.

She holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Cape Town and has completed executive programmes with GIBS and Oxford University. She is also a wife and mother of three. Ramokgopa is passionate about economic and spatial justice, the empowerment of youth and women and the development of the African continent.

What’s not on your CV?
I was once on Masterchef.
Last holiday?
The Drakensberg
Favourite song?
“Tell Him” by Lauryn Hill.

Ayanda ALlie copy

Ayanda Allie

Allie (37) joined Bosa as its communications director and will run as an aspirant candidate for Parliament representing Soweto. She served as a spokesperson for the Ministry of Transport from 2019 to 2021. 

Allie has worked as a television and radio presenter for years and has four degrees in communication and development studies, 

“I didn’t see myself in politics growing up,” she says. “However, looking back, the signs were there. I always had a strong sense of justice and was drawn to leadership roles.”

She is also a recording artist who released her debut album, We The People, under the name Ms. Allie – and the author of the book How To Save A Life: Reflections of a Change Agent. 

Allie’s last holiday to Accra, Ghana, was inspired by one of her favourite writers, Maya Angelou. 

“She wrote so descriptively about her time there: how she loved and lost, was attracted to Africa but also repelled by it, and how the lives of other notable history makers and world changers such as Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, W.E.B. Du Bois and of course President Kwame Nkrumah were interwoven into the tapestry that is Ghana. Her work read like a personal invitation. I just had to visit,” says Allie.

Allie says she would like to see community centres serve as one-stop shops for youth development, women’s empowerment, skills development and psychosocial care.

Nobuntu Hlazo- Webster copy

Nobuntu Hlazo-Webster

Nobuntu Hlazo-Webster (42) is co-founder with Mmusi Maimane and deputy leader of Bosa. She is also the founder of the SA Women’s Commission, which assembles women from all walks of life to collaborate in contributing to change in South Africa.

A business leader in the consulting and media industries, Hlazo-Webster has led development and advocacy organisations including the Businesswomen’s Association of SA as chairperson, the International Women’s Forum as president of its youth chapter and the KZN Youth Chamber of Commerce as regional chair as well as provincial secretary-general. She is an alumni of Future-Elect and an International Women’s Forum fellow. 

Hlazo-Webster has been recognised with numerous accolades from the Businesswomen’s Association of SA and the Department of Economic Development, among others bodies. She holds a BPhil Honours degree and several post-graduate business qualifications. 

What’s not on your CV?
I’m a pretty decent off-road driver. I can also hold a note or two.
Last holiday?
Pilanesberg in the North-West.
Favourite song?
Please indulge me with two. “Bengingazi” by Manqoba Nxumalo, a song of gratitude, and “Bona Senzani” by TKZEE, a song for the hustlers among us.

Editor: Jillian Green

Concept editors: Ferial Haffajee and Anso Thom

Designer: Righard Kapp

Production layout: Sahra Heuwel

Commissioning editor: Zukiswa Pikoli

Photographic editors: Joyrene Kramer and Felix Ndlangamandla

Sub-editor: Lynne Stafford

Writers: 

Ferial Haffajee
Lerato Mutsila
Marianne Merten
Nonkululeko Njilo
Onke Ngcuka
Queenin Masuabi
Suné Payne
Takudzwa Pongweni
Velani Ludidi
Victoria O’Regan

Visit our Election 2024 Hub for manifestos, FAQs, latest news – All your elections information in one place

If you value the work our journalists do and want to support Daily Maverick, consider becoming a Maverick Insider.