COPE's nine premier candidates (bar one)

Biographies released by the Congress of the People, February 28 2009

Congress of the People: Premier candidates biographies


Lyndall Shope-Mafole

Previously the accounting officer and Director General of the Department of Communications of South Africa, Ms Lyndall Shope-Mafole, is a founder member of the Congress of the People (COPE).

A veteran of the struggle, Shope-Mafole spent her formative years in exile prior to returning to South Africa before the country's landmark elections in April 1994.

She has served at various levels and structures in her former political home, the African National congress, including the organisation's highest decision making body, the National Executive Committee (NEC).

In her role at the Department of Communications, she provided leadership in shaping policy and legislation for the communications sector.

Known for her willingness to engage with big issues and players within the communications industry, Shope-Mafole is credited with successfully facilitating the link between the private sector, the department and ministry in making sure that the digital broadcasting bill was passed and effectively implemented - especially in time for digital signals and digital broadcasts for 2011.

She resigned her position recently to focus her attention on COPE's election campaign, where she currently serves as the organisation's Head of International Affairs


Casca Mokitlane

Mr Casca Mokitlane joined COPE in February 2009, and is a former deputy-chairman of the ANC in the Free State. He is an ANC veteran who has served in many political structures and is also a struggle stalwart in the fight for freedom and democracy.

With a deep respect for South Africa's struggle heroes, Mr. Mokitlane aims to pass on the wisdom gained from inside Robben Island's walls onto the younger generation, and this has been demonstrated by his tireless dedication to the education segment in the Free State.

In 1974 Mr. Mokitlane joined the South African Students Organisation at the University of the North. He abandoned his studies in 1975 and got employed as a site clerk before embarking on his traineeship as a teacher at Tshiya College of Education in Qwaqwa in 1976.

He responded to the political wave that was sweeping education institutions by being part of student groups that enlivened politics and gave way to the student uprisings in 1976.

Casca Mokitlane is a University of Zululand graduate.


Allan Boesak

Doctor Allan Boesak is an icon of the struggle for freedom in South Africa.

He graduated with a doctorate in theology from a New York University in 1975. Dr. Boesak was elected as president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches in 1982, a position he held until 1991.

He rose to prominence during the 1980s as an outspoken critic and opponent of the National Party's policies and played a major anti-apartheid activist role as a patron of the United Democratic Front (UDF) from 1983 to 1991.

In 2008, Dr. Boesak publicly challenged the South African leadership to remember why they joined all races to create a non-racial South Africa and suggested that the ANC was well down the slippery slope of ethnicity preferences and "had brought back the hated system of racial categorization.

Dr Boesak has served in various positions in the ANC including that of chairman of the Western Cape region in the early 90's.

In December 2008 he left the ANC to join the Congress of the People party (COPE).


Nikiwe Num

Ms Nikiwe Num is a former member of the ANC Youth League from the Northwest, who was active in COSAS during her high school days. After matriculating, she enrolled with various institutions studying economics and personnel management.

She served in the NEC of the Youth League and on the NPEC of the Youth League in the province. From 1996 to 1998, Ms Num headed the Gender Portfolio in the North West Provincial ANC Youth League and served as a member of the ANC Political Education Committee in the province.

She has been on several diplomatic missions abroad to represent the youth and women in countries such as Cuba, Senegal, Switzerland to mention but a few.

Along these missions, she also led delegations to represent the struggles of the People of the Republic of Western Sahara. She was also appointed by President T M Mbeki to represent the ANC in the historic conference of the Polisario in Western Sahara in 2003.

In 2005, Ms Num, was appointed MEC for Sports, Arts and Culture for North-West Province and then moved to Social Development as MEC later that year following a provincial cabinet reshuffle.


Wiseman Nkuhlu

Prof Wiseman Nkuhlu is the chairman of Pan-African Capital Holdings (Pty) Ltd.

He served as Economic Advisor of the President of the Republic of South Africa, T M Mbeki and as Chief Executive of the Secretariat of new Partnership for Africa's Development NEPAD from October 2000 to July 2005. He played a major role in the elaboration of NEPAD policy framework and in promoting the programme both in Africa and internationally.

In recognition of his contribution to education, business and development, Professor Nkuhlu has received a number of awards, including Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of the Free State, Stellenbosch, Cape Town and Pretoria; and merit awards from the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce, Association of Advancement of Black Accountants and the Black Management Forum. He was also awarded the President of Convocation Medal by the University of Cape Town in June 2004. The medal is awarded to graduates of UCT for outstanding community service.

He was elected President of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants and served two terms, from April 1998 to April 2000.


Neville Mompati

Mr Neville Mompati currently serves as a member of COPE's Congress National Committee (CNC) following his election to the structure in December 2008.

An entrepreneur who has run a number of businesses in the construction, retail, mining and property sectors, Mr Mompati began his political career as a 15 year old in the Northern Cape.

He is a founder member of Galeshewe Student Organisation and a member of Galeshewe Youth Organisation which later became the South African Youth Congress. 

He was elected secretary of the South African National Student Congress (SANSCO), for the Free State/Northern Cape Structure in 1988 until 1990.

He played an active role in the United Democratic Front (UDF) local structures in Galeshewe/Northern Cape, as an activist and in the interim leadership core.

He served as a member of the ANC REC/PEC since 1992 until 2008 and was elected into position of ANC the Provincial Secretary 1998, a position he held until 2008.


Lucky Sifiso Gabela

Mr Lucky Sifiso Gabela is a former Member of Parliament of the Republic of South Africa (2004-2006). During his tenure in parliament, Mr Gabela was a member of the portfolio committee on Finance and the ad-hoc committee on the Auditor General.

He holds a post graduate diploma in Economic Principles and Issues from the University of London (UK), in addition to other qualifications.

A community activist of note, Mr Gabela began his political career as a youth organiser at Umlazi Township in Durban.

His has also served as a member of the KwaZulu Natal provincial legislature, the Umlazi Magisterial District Small Claims Court Advisor Board, Chairperson of the Umlazi Magisterial District Court Assessors Committee and a member of the KwaZulu Natal Youth Council Management Committee.


Prudence Madonsela

Ms Prudence Madonsela's rich political career begun in the early 90's as a champion and advocate for women rights issues.

She has served in various capacities as a member of the ANC Women's league including being part if the leagues's national executive committee from 2002, the provincial executive committee of the Women's league and an ex-officio member of the ANC Provincial Executive committee.

Her government experience includes serving as a councellor in the Ermelo Municipality (1995-2000). She was also a board member of the health Professions Council of South Africa.

Ms Madonsela holds a Certificate in advanced health management from the Foundation For Professional Development affiliated to Yale University in America, which she completed in 2002. She has also worked as a medical practisioner at various South African medical institutions.

Issued by the Congress of the People, February 28 2009

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