Gwede Mantashe was born on 21 June, 1955 in Cala in the Transkei(now Eastern Cape). He is a South African politician, who currently serves as the Secretary General of the African National Congress. He is also a former chairperson of the South African Communist Party.
He studied at the University of South Africa (Unisa) in 1997 and completed his B.Comm Honors degree in 2002. He also acquired a Masters degree from the University of Witwatersrand (WITS) in 2008.
He joined the migratory labour force to eke out a living in the mining industry. Beginning his mining experience at Western Deep Levels mine in 1975 as a Recreation Officer and, in the same year, moved to Prieska Copper Mines where he was Welfare Officer until 1982. In 1982, Mantashe moved to Matla Colliery where he co-founded and became the Witbank branch chairperson of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), a position he held until 1984. He was then elected NUM Regional Secretary in 1985. In recognition of his skills, he became the NUM’s National Organizer from 1988 to 1993 and its Regional Coordinator between 1993 and 1994.
Gwede was the Secretary-General of the National Union of Mineworkers until their 12th National Conference held in May 2006 where he was succeeded by Frans Baleni. He made history by becoming the first trade unionist to be appointed to the board of Directors of a JSE Limited-listed company, namely Samancor, in 1995.
Following a marathon meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the African National Congress held behind closed doors on 19 and 20 September 2008 at Esselen Park Conference Centre, Mantashe announced at a news conference that the President of the Republic of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, had been “recalled” by the Party.
He delivered the Inaugural Violet Seboni memorial lecture at the Johannesburg City Hall on 16 April 2010, where he addressed corruption in the ANC. during which he talked much on the value system of our society as a whole.