Dr Mathews Phosa
South Africa Chairperson
Dr Mathews Phosa is a prominent political and business leader in South Africa. He played a key role in the countries negotiations that led to the peaceful end of four decades of apartheid rule in 1994 and ushered in a democratic government.
Dr Phosa qualified with a Bachelor of Law degree (Mercantile Law) then Baccalaureus Procurationis, from the University of the North and later was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Law Degree from Boston University, USA in 1995.
He served his legal Articles of Clerkship at the well-known law firm Godfrey Rabin Attorneys from 1979 to 1981. He subsequently established the first black owned law practice in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga in 1981 under the name Phosa, Mojapelo and Makgoba Attorneys and worked as a partner until 1985.
In 1985, Dr Phosa, was forced into exile by the apartheid government and a year later became the regional commander in Mozambique of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the military wing of the African National Congress (ANC). He led his troops on mission after mission until the tide of liberation turned in the ANC’s favour.
In 1990, he was one of the first four members of the ANC that returned to South Africa from exile after the unbanning of the party. After the first democratic elections in 1994, he was appointed by South Africa’s first black President, Nelson Mandela, as the first Premier of Mpumalanga, one of the nine newly-established provinces in the country. He held this position until 1999 after which he became a member of the National Executive Committee of the ANC.
At the ANC’s 52nd National Conference in 2007, Dr Phosa was elected Treasurer General, a position he held until 2012.
Dr Phosa is the chairman of various boards, including Jubilee Platinum, SMEC, Hans Merensky, Vuka Timbers, du Toit Smuts & Mathews Phosa Attorneys, Renaissance Capital, Bauba Platinum, Special Olympics South Africa and MCLI to name a few.
Dr Phosa is a prolific author who speaks nine languages. He has two anthologies in Afrikaans poetry to his name under the title “Deur die oog van ‘n naald” – some of which have been prescribed in the school curriculum for our national matric syllabus. Phosa launched an English anthology called “Chants of Freedom” on 2 June 2015.
Dr Phosa attended the 25th anniversary celebrations of the signing of the Brazzaville Accord on Peace in Southern Africa in Brazzaville in February 2014 where he was awarded the Congolese Order of Merit by President Denis Sassou Nguesso (President of the Republic of the Congo). (The Congolese Order of Merit is the highest decoration of the Republic and was instituted by Abbé Fulbert Youlou, first president, on 25 February 1959 to be awarded to heads of state and other eminent persons and for outstanding acts and services to the Republic. It is both a military and civilian award. Congo-Brazzaville is a small former French colony with a population of less than four million people and the order is rare.)
Dr Phosa was the only recipient to receive two awards at the African Achievers Awards in Abuja, Nigeria on 8 July 2016. The first award bestowed on him was for "Leadership Excellence in Africa". The second was a "Life time Achiever" Award. He dedicated the first to good governance and democracy and the second he dedicated to our former President, the late cde Nelson Mandela.
Dr Phosa made history when he became the first man to be presented with an award by the African Women in Leadership Organisation at their 8th edition of the African Woman In Leadership Organisation (AWLO) Conference in Washington DC, USA on 18 August 2016. Dr Phosa was awarded the “African Man of the Year” Award in recognition of his timreless effort in showcasing and supporting the creativity of African women.