The fight against rhino poaching has received a new champion in the person of Nomvula Mokonyane. Mokonyane is the new Minister of Environmental Affairs, replacing Edna Molewa who passed away in September.

Mokonyane has been serving as Communications Minister since February.

Entering politics at a young age, Mokonyane was a founder member of the Congress of South African Students (Cosas), an organiser in the Federation of Transvaal Women (FEDTRAW) and part of the leadership of the civic movement, the Kagiso Residents’ Organisation.

She honed her political skills in the trade union movement eventually becoming a leader of the now-South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers’ Union (SACCAWU).

She has been a long-time leader in the African National Congress and its Alliance structures since 1994.

Mokonyane served in the Gauteng Legislature from 1994 in various portfolio committees before becoming MEC in the portfolios of for Agriculture and Housing.

She was appointed Premier of Gauteng Province in 2009, Water Affairs Minister in 2014 and Communications in February 2018.

She now steps into the big shoes left by the late Edna Molewa.

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