The Joburg Post Interview: Malusi Gigaba

By Joburg Post


South African Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba sits down with Joburg Post for the Joburg Post Interview

Q: Childhood ambition

I had aspired to be a teacher

Q: Life influence

My parents, by their own conduct, moral example and teachings

Q: Educational background

Q: I graduated with a teachers' degree and Masters degree (in Social Policy) at the Univ. of Durban-Westville (now Univ. of KZN),
I then obtained a Certificate in Public Finance and Economics from UNISA,
At varsity I focused on two main things - studies and students-political activism,
My life in the public domain revolved around political activism and church activities

Q: My first job

As soon as I finished my dissertation, I started working as the ANC Youth League regional chairperson in Southern Natal, which was a full-time political post

Q: How do I keep fit

I work out in the mornings, with the assistance of a personal fitness trainer and I follow a rigidly healthy diet

Q: Political involvements

I was born in 1971. The 70’s were a tumultuous period in the history of our country. It started quietly, but was soon to become tumultuous when the workers’ strikes broke out in Durban in 1973. They were to be followed by the students’ uprisings that started around the Vaal around 1975 and later Soweto in 1976. Some underground ANC leaders involved in the Durban workers’ strikes were to be arrested early in the seventies and sent to serve long prison terms on Robben Island, whilst most of the students involved in the Soweto protests left the country for military training especially with the ANC’s Umkhonto WeSizwe (MK).

Around 1977, some of these military recruits had received intensive military training and were deployed back into the country for special operations against the regime. One of the most prominent among these, Solomon Mahlangu was sentenced to be executed in 1979 on April 06th, at 23, during the 327th anniversary of the arrival of Jan Van Rieebeck.

During the same year that he was executed, two important youth-students formations were founded, namely, the Azanian Students’ Organisation (AZASO) by university students as well as the Congress of South African Students (COSAS) for high school students. Both organisations were born into the Congress tradition and were soon to adopt the Freedom Charter and AZASO would later to change its name to the SA National Students Congress (SANSCO), and eventually into the SA Students’ Congress after its merger with the whites’ only National Union of SA Students (NUSAS) in 1992.

At the beginning of the eighties, both organisations resolved at their National Congresses to spearhead the formation of a national youth organisation, which was later formed in 1987 in Cape Town, known as the SA Youth Congress (SAYCO), with Peter Mokaba as its President. This was during a time of intense students’ and youth uprisings which had started in 1984 after the Vaal rent and rates boycott in black townships. In 1985, in his January 08th Statement, the late ANC President had called on the youth to make South Africa ungovernable and render its institutions of power unworkable. The youth had responded to this call with great enthusiasm and unbelievable courage.

ANC President Oliver Thambo

It was during this period, 1986 to be precise, that I joined the struggle as a student and youth activist in Sibongile Township in Dundee, KZN. So, it was a combination of factors: that is, the township uprisings against rents and rates that had started in 1984, spearheaded by the ANC-aligned United Democratic Front (UDF),
the students uprisings in schools against all forms of injustices in schools, against bantu education and in demand for democratically-elected Students’ Representative Councils (SRCs),
the fact that only Congress-aligned organisations were involved in these campaigns and so we could only join them, and
over time, as we became more politically-conscious and knew what the struggle was about, I and most members of my generation preferred the ANC-aligned organisations as they represented best what we were fighting for and the ideals towards which we aspired. The thing with the ANC was that

it not only confined itself to what we were against, it most eloquently spelt out what we were fighting for, the ideals we espoused and the future we sought.

This appealed to us.

After matriculating in Vryheid in 1988, I pursued my studies at the University of Durban-Westville where I continued his students-political activism and joined the then Progressive Youth Committee (PROYCO) during the time when the SA National Students Congress (SANSCO) was still banned. I became a founding member of the Education Students Society (ESS) in 1992, and was elected the Branch Chairperson of the South African Students Congress (SASCO) in 1993, whilst also leading the Young Christian Students (YCS).

Later, following the unbanning of the liberation movements, I joined the ANC, SACP and ANC Youth League (ANCYL). I became actively involved in the process of rebuilding particularly youth political organisations in the country, and in youth political mobilization during the negotiations period leading to the 1994 general elections. I was appointed into the ANCYL’s provisional regional youth committee (PRYC) in 1990, which was an interim leadership structure charged with reviving the ANCYL and establishing its branches.

In the ANCYL, I served in various positions in the Southern-Natal region, until I was elected the Regional Chairperson in 1994. This made me an ex-officio member in the ANC Regional Executive Committee (REC) and was an ex-officio member of the ANCYL’s National Executive Committee (NEC) during that period. In August 1994, I was unanimously-elected the ANCYL’s Provincial Secretary, which then also made me an ex-officio members of the ANC’s Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) and still an ANCYL NEC ex-officio member.

During this time, the ANC made me the Convenor of its Provincial Education Forum, consisting of various political and non-political organisations interested in education transformation.

In 1996, I was elected the ANCYL President, and I subsequently became the only ANCYL President in history to be re-elected for three consecutive terms (1996, 1998, and 2001 respectively). I thus became an ex-officio member of the ANC’s NEC and National Working Committee (NWC) from 1996, under President Mandela as well as when the ANC’s leadership baton was passed on to President Mbeki.

During my ANCYL Presidency, the University of Havana in Cuba recognized my contribution and activism by awarding me the highest order given to student and youth leaders in Cuba, the Jose’ Antonio Echeverrias Medal in 2002. Prior to that, in 1999, I was nominated as a Patron of the Celebrating Youth Awakenings Project (a project aimed at collecting a South African youth anthology). During the process of University mergers, the late Minister of Education, Prof. Kader Asmal, appointed me as a Ministerial Representative to the Council of the University of Potchefstroom. I was thus part of the process that oversaw the merger of the Universities of Potchefstroom and North-West.

After serving on the ANC NEC on an ex-officio capacity since 1996, I was subsequently elected directly into the ANC NEC at the 51st National Conference in 2002 in Stellenbosch, and subsequently re-elected at both the 52nd and 53rd National Conferences in 2007 and 2012 respectively. In 2013, I was re-elected a member of the ANC’s NWC, and later appointed the organization’s National Elections Head for the 2014 general elections.

I was first elected into the national parliament in 1999 but resigned in 2001 due to organizational responsibilities. I was re-elected into parliament in 2004, 2009 and 2014. From 2004 – 2010, I was appointed the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, and in 2010, I was appointed the Minister of Public Enterprises, overseeing 8 state-owned companies (Eskom, Transnet, SAA, SA Express, Alexkor, SAFCOL, Broadband Infraco and Denel).


After the 2014 general elections, I was appointed the Minister of Home Affairs, where I have outlined 5 key priorities for this term of the Fifth Administration, namely,

Completing the modernization of the department, critical to which is the development of a long-term digitization strategy and business case,

Improving client experience in all our office through proper and effective servant-leadership (Moetapele),

Comprehensively reviewing the international migration policy, leading to the publication of the green paper and subsequently the white paper in 2016,

Establishing an effective border management authority (BMA), and

Upgrading six key ports of entry (Beit Bridge, Lebombo, Maseru, Ficksburg, Oshoek, Kopfontein) in terms of the physical infrastructure, systems and processes as well as personnel.

In the meantime, I have won several leadership and other social awards for my role in society broadly, but among the youth in particular. Among these are,

The ABASA Trailblazer Award for Courageous and Transformational Leadership (2015),

The Young Achievers’ Lifetime Award in Leadership for Community Development and Leadership (2015), and

The Human Rights Award (2016) for my role in fighting bigotry in the Department of Home Affairs and championing the rights of all South Africans, regardless of sexual orientation and other diversity.

Q: Source of happiness

- my wife and kids

- serving my people and seeing my modest efforts change lives and make people happy

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Q: Source of concern in today's society

poverty, inequality and unemployment, especially among youth, lack access to capacity for self- and collective empowerment for people and communities, gullibility to disinformation – people tend to believe anything they read in the media without scrutinising the source as well as the political / social orientation and purposes of the author, rising racial arrogance, and conspicuous consumption and the persistence of a consumerist mindset particularly amongst black people amidst a low savings culture.

Q: Passion

family, raising my kids well. If I could be half a parent to them that my parents were to me and my siblings, changing lives, especially economic transformation and education, soccer, and fitness.

Q: Ultimate driving force

creation of a better life for all and finally eradicating poverty and inequality for the black majority, creating genuine equality and achieving total emancipation.

Q: Cannot do without in a day

water, reading, and talking to my wife and kids

Q: Biggest achievements

completing my Matric,
obtaining my Masters’ degree,
being elected ANCYL President, and
being a father.

Q: Biggest disappointment

not having done a PHD earlier.

Q: If not politics, what would I be doing?

teaching at university. I'm sure I'd by now be a renowned professor

Q: Radio or TV?

radio, it has a much farther reach.

Q: How religious?


Q: What could I have done better?

should have done my PHD earlier when I was younger and had less responsibilities

Q: Career next life?

Orlando Pirates Head Coach, and Professor!


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Q: Top 5 to do before retirement

Contribute to free movement in Africa, and
Do a PHD,
Travel all of Africa, for work, or pleasure or both,
Contribute to Africa's economic development,
Raise my children well and see each one of them complete their degrees.

Q: Personal life scale card


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