Thabang Sampson Phathakge Makwetlawas born in Lydenburg, eastern Transvaal (Mpumalanga), South Africa, on 18 May 1957.
He joined the South African Student Movement (SASM), as a high school student in 1974. Makwetlafled South Africa in the middle of his matriculation examinations in 1976 and matriculated from Mmabathoana High School, Maseru, Lesotho in 1977.
He obtained a Diploma in Public and Policy Development Administration (PPDA) from the University of Witwatersrand Graduate School and a Diploma in Social Science from the Academy of Social Sciences in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Makwetla went into exile in 1976 to join Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK). He lived in Botswana, Angola, Lesotho and Zambia where he carried out various duties on behalf of the MK underground, until 1990.
He underwent military training in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1979. Later, in 1984, Makwetla became a front commander and head of the African National Congress (ANC) underground structures in Botswana. He was an instructor and Political Commissar in ANC Camps in Angola.
Between 1984 and 1989, he was the Chair and Secretary of the ANC’s Regional Political Military Committee (RPMC) in Botswana. Makwetla served as the treasurer of the South African Communist Party (SACP-Regional Executive Committee) in Botswana, from 1981 - 1990.
Post 1990, Makwetla became a member of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) and served as Head of Student Affairs; the Peace Desk and the Religious Front until January 1994.
Following the advent of democracy, he was appointed a Member of Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Defence from 1994 to 2001. He was also a Member of Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence from 1998 to 2001.
He is also a Chair at the African National Congress (ANC) in Mpumalanga Province. He was appointed as Member of the Executive Committee for Safety and Security in Mpumalanga Province from 2001 to 2004. This later resulted in his appointment as Premier of Mpumalanga Province in 2004, a position he held until he joined the Department of Defence and Military Veterans.
• Whos who southern Africa. Thabang Makwetla . Available at www.whoswho.co.za online. Accessed on 13 March 2014
• Office of the Premier Mpumalanga Province. (1999). The former Premier . available at www.mpumalanga.gov.za online. Accessed on 13 March 2014