Panyaza Lesufi | Biography, Age, ANC, Premier of Gauteng

Quick Facts

Full NameAndrek Panyaza
Date of Birth4 September 1968 (age 55 years)
Place of BirthDindela (Edenvale), Ekurhuleni
NationalitySouth African
Political PartyAfrican National Congress (ANC)
Current RolePremier of Gauteng (since October 2022)
Previous RolesMEC for Education in Gauteng, President of Moroka Swallows FC
EducationMaster’s Degree in Business Administration

Early Life and Education

Andrek Panyaza Lesufi was born on 4 September 1968 in Dindela (Edenvale), Ekurhuleni. His family was forcefully relocated to Tembisa due to the apartheid-era Group Areas Act. Lesufi began his education at Tlamatlama Lower Primary School, moved on to Tshepisa Higher Primary School, and completed his secondary education at Boitumelong Senior Secondary School. He pursued tertiary education at the University of Natal, now known as the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Nickname and Football Passion

Lesufi Panyaza is a moniker that reflects his deep passion for football, particularly for Moroka Swallows FC, where he serves as the current president.

Political Activism

Early Involvement

Lesufi’s political activism began in Tembisa, driven by his commitment to a united, non-racial, democratic, and non-sexist South Africa. His activism was sparked at Boitumelong Secondary School, later renamed Thabo Mbeki by student activists, which became the center of his early political activities.

Student Leadership

Recruited by fellow student activist Kennedy Nkoane, Lesufi joined the struggle against apartheid, influenced by his elder brother Nikisi Lesufi, who fled the country to join the ANC after escaping prison. Lesufi’s activism focused on education, leading him to become a significant figure in transforming the education sector in South Africa.

Lesufi was a leader in the Congress of South African Students (COSAS) and the Tembisa Student Congress (TESO), which replaced COSAS when it was banned. He also played a role in the National Education Crisis Committee, an affiliate of the United Democratic Front (UDF).

Anti-Apartheid Struggle

As an avowed anti-racist, Lesufi faced constant harassment by the apartheid police, including the notorious Special Branch. He was detained in Modderbee Prison in 1989 and again in Durban City Prison in 1995 while advocating for higher education transformation.

At the University of Natal, Lesufi was active in the South African Student Congress (SASCO) and was later elected as President of the SRC. He received the University of Natal’s Chief Albert Luthuli Award and was recognized as the Best SRC President Ever for his leadership.

Community Involvement

Lesufi worked within the NGO sector as an Outreach Manager of the Tembisa Careers Centre and was active in community structures like the Community Policing Forum (CPF) and the South African Tertiary Institutions Sports Congress (SATISCO-Durban). He also chaired the Creative Arts Society (CASOC).

Lesufi was involved in the Self-Defense Units, defending communities against violence from the apartheid government and the Third Force in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Political Career

ANC Leadership

Lesufi played a crucial role in rebuilding the ANC after its unbanning. He served three terms as Branch Secretary of the ANC Tembisa Branch and was Deputy Regional Secretary of the Kyalami Region for nearly nine years. He was also the founding Deputy Regional Secretary of the ANC Ekurhuleni Region. Since 2007, Lesufi has been a member of the ANC’s Provincial Executive Committee and served on the NEC Education Sub-committee.

In July 2018, Lesufi was elected Deputy Chairperson of the ANC in Gauteng. He became Chairperson of the ANC in Gauteng on 26 June 2022.

Professional Profile

Lesufi has a strong interest in establishing new public institutions. He was instrumental in creating the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality and the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA). He also worked with Minister Nathi Mthethwa to establish the Priority Crimes Unit (The HAWKS) and played a key role in forming the Department of Basic Education in 2014.

Lesufi has held various positions in the post-1994 administration, including roles in the Ekurhuleni Municipality, Gauteng Department of Social Development, Gauteng Department of Education, Department of Basic Education, National Prosecuting Authority/South African Police Service, and SASSA.

Premier of Gauteng

In October 2022, Panyaza Lesufi was appointed the seventh Premier of Gauteng, marking a significant milestone in his political career.

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