Baleka Mbete : biography
Baleka Mbete (born 24 September 1949), also known as Baleka Mbete-Kgositsile, is a South African politician who was Deputy President of South Africa from 2008 to 2009. She was previously Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa from 2004 to 2008.
The ANC announced that she will be deployed to Luthuli House to be the link between the ruling party and government. stated: "[she] overplayed her hand in trying to force the ANC to re-appoint her as deputy president. She was unceremoniously sent back to Luthuli House where a role for her is yet to be defined, given that the national chairperson of the party has never been outside of Cabinet."
Mbete is a shareholder in Dyambu Holdings which is involved in building the massive Gautrain public transport project in the province Gauteng. Dyambu Holdings is reported to have had links with murdered magnate Brett Kebble.
In April 1997, Mbete was found to have received an improperly issued driver’s license but not charged with any wrongdoing. Kenneth Good. The Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 35, No. 4 (Dec., 1997), pp. 547–573. This after investigators uncover widespread corruption in Mpumalanga regional driving license testing centers, where licenses are being issued in exchange for bribes. Mbete said that she had been "too busy" to stand in queues.
In 2007, Mbete suspended DA member Mike Waters after he attempted to ask what was being done about the Manto Tshabalala-Msimang scandal. Waters had asked about a reported conviction for theft of the Minister of Health, while the latter had been a nurse in Botswana.
Mbete was one of more than 200 South African parliamentarians found to have misused subsidised travel privileges in the Travelgate scandal. She is reported to have paid back all moneys due in the liquidation of the travel agency formerly providing services to parliament.
In 2006, Mbete chartered a jet at a cost of R471 900 (around US$60 000) to fly to Liberia for the inauguration of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as president. The only other passenger on the plane was a member of her staff. Then president Thabo Mbeki and foreign minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma also travelled to the inauguration – Mbeki in his private plane and Dlamini-Zuma by commercial flight.
She has been a staunch supporter of Tony Yengeni, a former ANC Chief Whip in parliament, who was convicted of defrauding parliament in 2004, even accompanying Yengeni to Pollsmoor Prison when he reported to serve his sentence.
She received a teacher’s certificate from Lovedale Teachers’ College and taught in Durban.
After going into exile Mbete taught in Mbabane, and went on to work for the African National Congress in several other African cities including Dar es Salaam, Nairobi, Gaborone, Harare, and Lusaka.
She led the Medu Art Ensemble, was the secretary-general of ANC Women’s League from 1991 to 1993, and the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa from 1996 to 2004.
Mbete was a member of the Presidential Panel on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the ANC National Executive Committee, and the Pan-African Parliament.
In 2007 Mbete became the ANC’s national chairperson.
On 20 September 2008, the African National Congress formally asked President Thabo Mbeki to resign as President of South Africa. Mbete accepted Mbeki’s resignation on 21 September.
Before 22 September, Mbete was speculated to succeed Mbeki as President, which would have made her the first female head of state in South Africa’s history; however, the ANC announced that Kgalema Motlanthe, the Deputy President of the ANC, would assume that position. On 23 September, Mbete was announced by the SABC to be the most likely candidate for Deputy President of South Africa following Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka’s resignation from the position,. Sabcnews.com. Retrieved on 2012-10-08. even though other reports had stated that Lindiwe Sisulu would assume that position.
On 25 September 2008, she was appointed by Motlanthe as Deputy President., allAfrica.com, 25 September 2008. On 10 May 2009 she was replaced as Deputy President by incoming President Jacob Zuma, who elected to appoint Motlanthe as his deputy.