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Hon Mninwa Johannes Mahlangu, MP, Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces

The Hon. Mninwa Johannes Mahlangu, commonly known as ``M.J’’, is one of the longest-serving politicians under South Africa’s new democratic order, having joined Parliament in 1994.

A teacher by profession, the Hon. M.J. Mahlangu lists among his educational qualifications a BA Degree, from University of Fairfax, and is currently studying for a Diploma in Economics Principles through the University of London.

His public and political life started in the late 1960s when he was elected President of the Student Christian Movement, in the then Eastern Transvaal. From 1973 to 1976 he was Assistant Secretary of the Transvaal United African Teachers Association.

Because of his active participation in politics in the 1970s and 1980s, he is one of the leaders who played a critical role in the processes leading to the first democratic South Africa in the early 1990s. Between 1991 and 1994, he was a negotiator at the Congress for Democratic South Africa (CODESA) and the Multiparty Negotiation Forum. In 1993, he became the Co-Chairperson of these bodies. From 1993 to 1994 he was a member of the Transitional Executive Council (TEC) which governed South Africa before the first general elections of April 1994.

After the 1994 elections, he joined the National Assembly in Parliament as a representative of the African National Congress (ANC). As a member of the first democratic Parliament, he became a member of the Constitutional Assembly (CA), the body tasked with the drafting of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, which was adopted in 1996. As a member of the CA, he chaired the Core Group of the Theme Committee and the Theme Committee on Structures of Government. During his tenure as a Member of the National Assembly, he also served as Chairperson of Committees.

In 2002 he was elected permanent Deputy Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). After the third democratic elections in 2004, he was re-elected permanent Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP. In January 2005 he was elected the Chairperson of the NCOP, the position he currently occupies.

He has represented South Africa in many international Conferences and Seminars such as the Study of the Role of the Senate, Germany in 1995; the Study of Intergovernmental Relations, India in 1999; Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Conferences; Inter Parliamentary Union 2003; Speakers’ Conference, New York in 2005; 18th Commonwealth Speakers and Presiding Officers’ Conference, Kenya in 2006; among many others. He has presented papers at international forums on behalf of Parliament.

He is a member of the Pan-African Parliament (since 2003). His duties in this continental body include serving in the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline. He serves in the committee’s technical team tasked with coming up with proposals on the harmonisation of laws of Africa. He is the current Chairperson of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (Africa Region). He is a member of South Africa’s Judicial Service Commission, a body tasked with, among other things, recommending judges for appointment by the President.

He is also involved in various community activities: Member of the School Governing Body – Steel Crest High School, Middelburg (Mpumalanga); Executive Member of Paul Mthimunye Bursary Fund (Fundraising Desk for Bursaries for High School and Tertiary Level Students); and Executive Member of the Royal House of King Maphepha Ndebele Tribal Authority.