Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa

Profile: Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane


Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane was born on 30 September 1963 in Makgobaskloof and grew up at Ga-Makanye Village in the Limpopo province.

During the 1980s, she was an active member of the United Democratic Front and served in the various structures of the Mass Democratic Movement and the African National Congress’ (ANC) underground structures.

After the unbanning of the ANC in 1990, she served the party in various structures, including the ANC Women's League (ANCWL) and actively participated in the relaunch of the ANCWL in the country.

She served as the Chairperson of the ANCWL in Limpopo and as member of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the organisation (1992 to 1995).

Ms Nkoana-Mashabane was elected as a Member of the Parliament from 1994 to 1995. In 1995, she was appointed High Commissioner to Malaysia, servicing the Philippines and Brunei (1995 to 1999).

From 1999 to 2005, she was appointed as High Commissioner to India, servicing Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives and Nepal.

She was a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) and the NWC of the ANCWL, as well as the Deputy Secretary-General of the ANC in Limpopo from 2004 to 2008.

In 2005, she was appointed Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Limpopo Government and Housing. During her term as the MEC for Local Government and Housing in Limpopo, the department won the National Govan Mbeki Housing Award for “Best Provincial Housing Department in South Africa, 2008”. 

Ms Nkoana-Mashabane was named Newsmaker of the Year for 2008 by the Polokwane Chamber of Business. The department also won seven other awards, including “The department doing the most to accelerate service delivery”.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane was elected as a member of the ANC NEC and NWC in 2007. She was also the Provincial Convener of the Progressive Women’s Movement in Limpopo in 2007.

On 11 May 2009, she was appointed as the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation during which she served as a member on the 2010 Soccer World Cup Local Organising Committee, presided over the historic COP17/CMP7 (2010 – 2011), and was a key lobbyist for South Africa’s inclusion as a member of the BRICS (2011).

She was also lead campaigner for the election of Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma as Chair of the African Union Commission – a first for Africa (2012).

She also led the Department of International Relations and Cooperation to successive unqualified audits since her appointment to the position in 2009.

She was sworn in for a second term as Minister of International Relations and Cooperation on 26 May 2014. She is currently a member of the ANC NEC, NWC and ANCWL NEC.

As South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Nkoana-Mashabane is entrusted with the formulation, promotion and execution of South Africa’s foreign policy, taking overall responsibility for all aspects of South Africa’s international relations in consultation with the President.

She leads one of the biggest contingents of diplomats, with over 120 diplomatic missions located in all corners of the world.

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2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa