Jackson Mthembu was born in June 5th,1958 in Witbank.  He grew up in Kromkrans, a reserve for Black people between Hendrina and Carolina in the then Transvaal, where he went with his grandmother Sarah Mthembu to work in the mealie fields, at age seven. His grandmother and uncles raised him. During the 1976 Soweto uprising, Mthembu was a student leader at Elukhanyisweni Secondary School in Witbank. On many occasions during school he was "chucked out for not being able to afford school fees, uniforms, books."

He went to the University of Fort Hare but was later expelled, and started working at Highveld Steel as a training officer from 1980 to 1984, and as production foreman from 1986-1988. He was a senior steward at the Met­al and Allied Workers Union from 1984 to 1986 and chair of the Witbank Educa­tion Crisis Committee from 1980 to 1986.During the dark years of the 1980s, the states of emergency saw him in and out of prison. Mthembu was charged with trea­son and acquitted between 1986 and 1988.  He led the Swapo support group in 300 taxis to the first democratic elections in 1988 in Namibia.

From deputy regional secretary of the United Democratic Front from 1988 to 1990, he went on to become the media officer for the SA Council of Churches.He is a Roman Catholic and a Methodist. From 1990 to 1994 Mthembu was the ANC spokesman in the Eastern Transvaal (Mpumalanga) region and from 1995 to 1997 the ANC national spokesman.  Prior to his present appointment, as ANC national spokesman, he was speaker of the Mpumalanga Legislature from May 2006.

In addition Mthembu was MEC in Mpumalanga for public roads and transport from 1997 to 1999.  He chaired the portfolio committees on local government, educa­tion, sport, recreation and arts and culture, was ANC chief whip and was again MEC for roads and transport from May 2008 to May 2009. 

 Jackson Mthembu is the Minister in the Presidency of South Africa, and parliamentarian for the African National Congress (ANC). Previously, he served as the Chief Whip and as the national spokesperson for the ANC. He served as the MEC for Transport in Mpumalanga from 1997-1999, during which he was criticized for spending R2.3 million on ten BMWs. On 28 November 2017, Mthembu was criticized by some of the ANC colleagues that he intentionally "colluded" with the DA to schedule a debate on state capture in Parliament. Mthembu has been seen to have deliberately defied President Jacob Zuma and his own colleagues in the ANC caucus who had already called for a more inclusive process to investigate state capture.

He is currently married to Thembi Mthembu, and was previously married to the late Pinkie S. He has two daughters and four sons. His eldest daughter, with his late wife Pinkie, Khwezi Mthembu committed suicide at the tender age of 25 on the night of the 19th of March 2019.


Isaacson, M (2009), ‘A pedigreed spin doctor’in The Sunday Independent, 4 October, pg 11.|https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackson_Mthembu

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