JEFFREY Thamsanqa Radebe was born on February 18, 1953. He is the minister in the Presidency for Planning, Performance, Monitoring, Evaluation and Administration Radebe holds a BJuris degree from the University of Zululand, obtained in 1976, LLM in international law from Leipzig University, obtained in 1981 and studied at the Lenin International School, Moscow, in 1985.
He became a student activist and joined the underground structures of the ANC during the student uprisings of 1976. In 1976 he served his articles to become a lawyer in Durban and in 1977 he left the country for Mozambique on instruction by the ANC. He worked for the ANC’s international department in Zambia. He created ANC and SACP structures inside South Africa from Lesotho, giving political direction to activists.
He was also a radio journalist with Radio Freedom in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, for two years. He underwent military training with Umkhonto we Sizwe and was later arrested in Johannesburg and convicted under the terrorism act. His 10-year sentence on Robben Island was reduced to six years on appeal in 1986. While on Robben Island he was active in the ANC’s political department – and by the time he left the prison he was its head.
After the historic democratic elections on April 27, 1994, Radebe served as minister of Public Works until June 1999. He also became a member of the Business Trust from 1998 to 2003 and chairperson of the Nelson Mandela 80th birthday Committee in 1998.
Among other achievements and awards, Radebe received an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from the Chicago State University in 1996 and the Leucospermum flower, named Radebe Sunrise, was bestowed on him on October 23, 2005. In 2006 he was awarded the rank of honorary colonel in the South African Air Force Mobile Deployment Wing.