Mr Samson Gwede Mantashe was born on the 21st of June 1955 in the village of Lower Cala in the then Transkei (now Eastern Cape Province). He cut his teeth as an activist in the Student Christian Movement (SCM)
Minister Mantashe received a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of South Africa (UNISA) in 1997, where he also completed a Bachelor of Commerce Honours in 2002. He holds a Masters’ degree from the University of Witwatersrand (WITS), acquired in 2008. He successfully completed the Master of Business Administration through MANCOSA in 2021.
In 1975, he was employed as the Recreation Officer at the Western Deep Levels mine and, in the same year, moved to Prieska Copper Mines where he served as the Welfare Officer until 1982.
Working at the Matla Colliery in 1982, Mr Mantashe co-founded and became the Witbank branch chairperson of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), a position he held until 1984. In 1985, he was elected as the NUM Regional Secretary. A skilled mineworker and leader, Mr Mantashe served as the NUM’s National Organiser from 1988 to 1993; and became the Regional Coordinator between 1993 and 1994.
From 1994 to 1998, Mr Mantashe served as the Assistant General Secretary of the NUM, whereupon he was elected as the first worker General Secretary at the union’s congress in 1998.
For his first stint in government, Mr Mantashe was elected Councillor in the Ekurhuleni Municipality in 1995 where he served until 1999. In 1995, he became the first trade unionist to be appointed to the Board of Directors of a Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) listed company, namely, Samancor.
In May 2006, he relinquished his position as the General Secretary of the NUM at the union’s 12th National Congress. In the same year, Mr Mantashe was appointed as the Executive Director at the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) where, for a period of two years, he served as the Chairperson of the Technical Working Group of the Joint Initiative for Priority Skills Acquisition (JIPSA).
In 2007, Mr Mantashe was elected as the Chairperson of the South African Communist Party (SACP) and also served as a member of the Party’s Central Committee. In December 2007, he was elected as the Secretary General of the African National Congress (ANC) at the party’s 52nd National Conference. He was re-elected to the same position in 2012. At the ANC’s 54th National Conference, in 2017, Mr Mantashe was elected as the National Chairperson. He was re-elected to the same position in December 2022.
Mr Mantashe was appointed Minister of Mineral Resources in February 2018. Following the 6th democratic elections in 2019, and with the expansion of the Ministry to include Energy, he was appointed as the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy in May 2019 where he currently serves.