Pandor was Ramaphosa’s top pick to be his Deputy President when he ran for the ANC leadership last year. However, party support never mobilised for her, and the position eventually went to David Mabuza. Now, she has brand new responsibilities ahead of her, as a key member of Ramaphosa’s cabinet.
Mrs Pandor has usually gone about her business quietly, so you’d be forgiven for not knowing much about her. So here are five quick facts that bring you right up to date with the new Minister of Higher Education Minister.
Naledi Pandor Factfile: 1) She converted to Islam after meeting her husband Whilst studying in Botswana during the 1970s, she met her future husband Sharif Joseph Pandor. As a practising Muslim, Naledi was compelled to convert to his religion and has never looked back since.
2) Naledi has three university degrees to her name She completed her studies in Botswana by achieving a BA in History and English. She then achieved her masters at the University of London, and completed her hat-trick of degrees in 1997. Pandor was awarded her MA in Linguistics at Stellenbosch University in 1997.
3) She’s been the acting President three times In the last five years, Pandor has held the fort whilst Jacob Zuma jetted off for obligations abroad. In October and November of 2013, she was acting President during JZ’s respective trips to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ghana. She was in the hot seat once more in March 2015, when Zuma visited Algeria.
4) Revolution is in her blood Naledi Pandor comes from a long line of revolutionary activists. Her father, Joe Matthews, was one of the 154 ANC members who were charged in the 1956 Treason Trial, before subsequently having his name cleared. Pandor’s grandfather was the great Z.K Matthews; a man who lectured all across the world, and fought against apartheid.
5) Pandor isn’t afraid to call the ANC out on their bullshit This is what the party needs: Someone in the higher echelons who will happily call out Ministers who aren’t sticking to their promises. Back in March 2017, she said that the ANC has not followed the direction given by the national executive committee to scrutinise party leaders’ lifestyles.
Pandor questioned how some of her colleagues could possibly have “13-bedroom houses” when they are living well beyond their means as politicians. You tell them, Naledi!