Meet New Basic Education Minister: Siviwe Gwarube

Siviwe Gwarube

Johnathan Paoli

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday night announced former DA Chief Whip Siviwe Gwarube as the new Minister of Basic Education, replacing ANC veteran Angie Motshekga who is now the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans.

Gwarube, one of the youngest appointees, was born in KwaMdingi, King William’s Town on 14 July 1989 and raised by her grandmother. She began her political career in 2012, working in communications while she was employed in the office of former DA leader Lindiwe Mazibuko.

She attended Kingsridge High School for Girls, obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law, Politics and Philosophy from Rhodes University, and an Honours degree in Political Science from the University of the Western Cape.

After her spell in communications, she later became the head of ministry at the Western Cape department of health under provincial minister Nomafrench Mbombo as well as being the head of the DA’s communications department prior to her election to Parliament.

Recognised for her leadership within the DA caucus, Siviwe Gwarube was elected as the Deputy Chief Whip of the Official Opposition in December 2021, following a competitive caucus election.

In this role, she managed parliamentary affairs and caucus discipline, further solidifying her influence within the party.

In August 2022, Gwarube was appointed as the Chief Whip of the DA caucus in the National Assembly, subsequently becoming the Chief Whip of the Official Opposition.

In this capacity, she effectively coordinated the opposition’s legislative strategies and oversight functions, succeeding Natasha Mazzone, with the party saying that her tenure as Chief Whip prepared her for broader responsibilities within the government.

Federal leader John Steenhuisen has previously expressed his support for Gwarube and said he held full confidence in her abilities to fulfil important roles.

“She brings a wealth of political experience as well as a level-headed maturity. Siviwe is no stranger to important responsibilities,” Steenhuisen said.

In her new position as Basic Education Minister, she is tasked with overseeing the country’s educational policies and initiatives, ensuring quality education and equitable access for all learners across the country.

Gwarube has claimed that she maintains a commitment to community service and advocacy, and said her upbringing and educational background continue to shape her dedication to improving education and governance in South Africa.

She previously called for legislation extending the deadline for a government to be formed, from 14 days to 30 days across local, provincial and national governments.

She said the country was clearly in a coalition government, with the national and provincial elections indicating that no single party was given a majority.

“We must adapt. Be agile. Be reasonable and level headed. Be mature. And frankly be worthy of the trust millions put in us by electing us to office. Now the rubber hits the road,” Gwarube said.

She takes the position from the longest serving education minister Motshekga, who was appointed minister under the administration of former President Jacob Zuma in April 2009, and retained the position after the 2014 general elections.

Ramaphosa kept her in that position


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