Minister of Environmental Affairs, South Africa

The Hon Edna Molewa is a Graduate in Economic Leadership from the Wharton School of Business in the USA, having also completed a leadership course at the Kennedy School of Governance.

After a stint as a school teacher from 1976 until 1981 at the height of student unrest in South Africa, she became involved in trade unions, leading to her being appointed Deputy President of the South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union. In the process of South Africa’s transition to democracy, she became Chairperson of the Women’s League of the African National Congress, and was elected as a Member of Parliament in South Africa’s first National Assembly in 1994. In this capacity, she served as Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry. Subsequently appointed as a Member of the Executive Council of the North West Province, she served three terms as Minister, in three portfolios: Tourism, Environment and Conservation; then Economic Affairs and Tourism; and finally Agriculture, Conservation and Environment Affairs.

Minister Molewa became Premier of the North West Province from 2004 until 2009 until she was appointed as the National Minister for Social Development. She was subsequently appointed as Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs and currently serves as Minister of Environment. As recently as August 2014, she has been appointed as Acting President of the Republic of South Africa. In her capacity as Minister, she has served as the Head of South Africa’s delegation to the UN Climate Conference (COP17) and is dealing at a very senior level with the issues facing the escalation of rhino poaching in South African protected areas.

IUCN WCPA Parks Australia NSW NPWS