Sydney Mufamadi

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Fholisani Sydney Mufamadi
Minister of Provincial and Local Government
In office
17 June 1999 – 25 September 2008
PresidentThabo Mbeki
Preceded byValli Moosa
Succeeded bySicelo Shiceka
Minister of Safety and Security
In office
27 April 1994 – 16 June 1999
PresidentNelson Mandela
Preceded byHernus Kriel (as Minister of Law and Order)
Succeeded bySteve Tshwete
Personal details
Born (1959-02-28) 28 February 1959 (age 64)
Alexandra Township, Johannesburg, South Africa

Fholisani Sydney Mufamadi (born 28 February 1959) is a South African politician. He was Minister of Safety and Security[1] from 1994 to 1999 and Minister of Provincial and Local Government from 1999 to 2008.

Early life[edit]

Mufamadi was born on 28 February 1959 in Alexandra Township, Johannesburg,[2] the eldest of the four children of Masindi and Reuben Mufamadi. He grew up in Meadowlands, Gauteng, and Tshisahulu, Venda (today Limpopo Province), where he first looked after his grandfather's cattle before attending school. Both his father and mother worked in Johannesburg, selling home-brewed alcoholic beverages to supplement the family income. His mother was subsequently arrested for illegally selling alcohol, and thus he experienced the apartheid era legal system first-hand at an early age.


Mufamadi completed his schooling at Khwevha High School in Shayandima, Venda, in 1977.

He holds a Master of Science degree in State, Society and Development from the University of London, and has a PhD specializing in Political Economy of Automotive Manufacturing.[1] [3]

Anti-apartheid work[edit]

In 1976, with the spread of the Soweto uprising into other areas of the country, Mufamadi became a member of Zoutpansberg Students Organisation, which led to the boycotts in Venda during October 1977. Many student leaders were arrested, and others, including Mufamadi, went underground. When the schools re-opened, he was refused re-admission and was briefly prevented from completing his schooling. He moved to Johannesburg and enrolled at an international Correspondence College.

In 1977, he joined the African National Congress, the next year he was a founder member of the Azanian People's Organisation and in 1981 he joined the South African Communist Party. His involvement in AZAPO led to two months' detention without trial at John Vorster Square, Johannesburg, under section 6 of the Terrorism Act.

In 1980, Mufamadi worked as a private teacher at Lamula Secondary School, Soweto, where he assisted members of the Congress of South African Students with political activities. In 1981, he left the teaching profession to work as a messenger for a firm of attorneys and subsequently joined the General and Allied Workers Union and participated in the 16 June stay-away that year. After his employer saw a newspaper clipping of Mufamadi addressing the workers, he was fired for taking part in political activities. He worked voluntarily for GAWU, and in 1982 and 1984 was elected General Secretary of the organisation. In 1983, he attended the launch of the United Democratic Front in Cape Town, and was later elected Transvaal publicity secretary of the organisation, a position he held until 1990. In 1984 he was detained twice in the Ciskei during April and again in September.

Following the successful Transvaal regional stay-away in November 1984, Mufamadi was subpoenaed to appear as a state witness at the trial of some of its organisers. However, when some of the accused fled the country, charges were withdrawn and he was not called to testify. In 1985, when the state of emergency was declared, Mufamadi operated underground to avoid detention, resurfacing to help organise and attend the December 1985 launch of the Congress of South African Trade Unions in Durban, where he was elected Assistant General Secretary at its inaugural rally. He operated underground from June 1986 to October 1986, but openly resumed his work despite the continuing state of emergency. He was again detained on 8 June 1987 for political activities.

In June 1988, Mufamadi headed a planning committee to organise an anti-apartheid conference in Cape Town, which aimed to include delegates from a broad spectrum of anti-apartheid organisations. In September 1988, the government prohibited the conference and restricted the organisers of the conference from entering Cape Town for a ten-day period. In January 1990, he travelled with the Rivonia Trialists to Lusaka, Zambia, to meet with the ANC Executive Committee. In 1991, he was elected to the party's central committee, and was elected to the party's National Executive Committee and to serve on its working committee at an ANC congress held in Durban in July later that year. He did not stand for re-election as COSATU Assistant General Secretary that year. He was an SACP delegate at the Convention for a Democratic South Africa working group, which dealt with the future of the independent Bantustans, or homelands.

Government work[edit]

After the 1994 general election, Mufamadi was appointed as Minister of Safety and Security in the Government of National Unity until 1999, after having served on the sub-council on law and order of the Transitional Executive Council.

Mufamadi has been the Minister of Provincial and Local Government since 17 June 1999.[1] Following the resignation of President Mbeki in September 2008, Mufamadi was among those members of the Cabinet who submitted their resignations on September 23.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Mufamadi is married to Nomusa and has three children.[2]


  1. ^ a b c "Profile information: Fholisani Sydney Mufamadi, Mr". Government Communication and Information System. Archived from the original on 17 January 2008. Retrieved 15 August 2008.
  2. ^ a b "Minister's profile". South African Ministry of Provincial and Local Government. 3 September 2006. Retrieved 15 August 2008.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "University of London PhD Thesis". 13 January 2024. Retrieved 13 January 2024.
  4. ^ "Confusion rattles markets", Sapa (IOL), September 23, 2008.

External links[edit]