Manto Tshabalala-Msimang biography

2009-12-16 16:21

Tshabalala-Msimang was born on October 9 1940 in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. She matriculated from Inanda Seminary, and went on to earn a BA degree from the University of Fort Hare in the Eastern Cape, graduating in 1961.

In 1962, shortly after the African National Congress was banned, Tshabalala-Msimang was one of a group of 27 young members of the organisation ordered to go into exile by the ANC leadership. She remained abroad for 28 years.

She went to the then Union of Soviet Socialist Republic, where she enrolled at the First Leningrad Medical Institute. She graduated from that institution with a medical degree in 1969.

Tshabalala-Msimang later moved to Tanzania, where in 1972 she completed a diploma in obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Dar es Salaam. One legacy of her time spent in these two countries was an ability to speak fluent Russian and Swahili.

Tshabalala-Msimang went on to work in health services in Tanzania and Botswana. She returned to South Africa in 1990, and at first worked in community health organisations in KwaZulu-Natal. She was first elected to Parliament in 1994.

She served as chair of the National Assembly's health committee, and on July 1 1996, was appointed deputy justice minister. She was appointed minister of health in Mbeki's administration on June 17 1999.

She was married to ANC veteran Mendi Msimang. She has two daughters, Zuki and Pulane.

GCIS Fact File

Date of Birth: 9 October 1940
Marital Status: Married

Current Positions

Minister in the Presidency of the Republic of South Africa since 26 September 2008.
Member of Parliament since 1994.
Member of African National Congress (ANC) National Executive Committee (NEC).
Member of ANC Women’s League National Executive Committee.
Chairperson of the Social Sector Cluster of South African Cabinet Committee.
African Union (AU) goodwill Ambassador and Champion for Africa’s Movement to improve Maternal Health and Promote Child Survival and Development in Africa, beyond 2015.

Academic Qualifications
Matriculated from Inanda Seminary (1959).
BA degree from University of Fort Hare (1961).
Medical degree from First Leningrad Medical Institute in Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) (1969).
Diploma in Obsterics and Gynaecology from University of Dar es Salaam Medical School in Tanzania (1972).
Masters degree in Public Health from University of Antwerp, Belgium (1980).
Attended a course in Health Care Systems Planning, Financing and Management for sixteen weeks from University of Sussex in United Kingdom (UK) (1990).
Attended a course in Improving the Management of Primary Health Care Services Medex course from University of Hawaii (1991).
Attended a course in Public Administration from Civil Service College, Sunningdale in UK (1992).

Career/Positions/Memberships/Other Activities
Registrar, Obsterics and Gynaecology at Muhumbili Hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Medical Superintendent responsible for 10 satellite clinics at the Lobatse Hospital in Botswana.
Head of Health Training Programme for National Liberation Movements, Organisation of African Unity / United Nations Development Programme at Morogoro in Tanzania (1976 - 1979).
Deputy Secretary in charge of human resource development and deployment for the African National Congress (ANC), Department of Health, Tanzania/ Zambia (1979 - 1990).
Convened the First International Conference on Health and apartheid under the auspices of World Health Organisation (1980).
Held several positions in the National Progressive Primary Health Care Network, Durban (1991 - 1994).
Co-ordinator of the ANC’s Health Plan (Section on Women’s Health) (1991 - 1994).
Board member of the Mohammed Ghandi settlement Clinic Committee in Durban (1990).
Chairperson of the Natal Women Resource Centre Committee.
Former Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Health, National Assembly (1994 - June 1996).
Member of the Africa and Middle East Regions Steering Committee of Parliamentarians for Population and Development since 1994.
Deputy Minister of Justice of the Republic South Africa (July 1996 - June 1999).
She was sworn in as Acting President of the Republic of South Africa by the Constitutional Court, to run the country in the absence of the President and the Deputy President along with other three ministers until the elections in 2003.
Coordinated establishment of the South African National AIDS Council (2002).
Coordinated the development of the National Strategic Plan on HIV/AIDS and STs or TB plan on the Management Care and treatment of HIV/AIDS and STs (2002-2005) and the review of Comprehensive plan of Management, Care Support and Treatment of HIV/AIDS and STs (2007-2011).
Coordinated Operational Plan for comprehensive the HIV and AIDS Management, Treatement Care and Support Adopted 2003 November and implemented 2004 April End period March 2009.
Coordinated the Review of NSP 2000-2005 conducted in July/August 2006.
Coordinated Review of SANAC 2002 and subsequent restructuring April 2006.
Coordinated Midterm review of comprehensive plan conducted in 2006/2007.
Coordinated the development of the South African Traditional Medicine Policy.
Convened since 2004 National Youth Indaba on Health.
Former member of the Board of the Global Fund to fight HIV and AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis representing the Eastern and Southern Africa
Former Chair of Non-Aligned Movement of Health Ministers.
Former Chairperson of SADC Health Sectoral Committee of Ministers.
Former Chairperson of the WHO Afro Regional Commitee of Health Ministers.
Former Vice-President of the 57th World Health Assembly.
Former CAMH3 Chairperson of the AU Ministers of Health.
Minister of Health of the Republic of South Africa (17 June 1999 - 25 September 2008).


Received the Walter Sisulu for Leadership Excellence from the South African Students Congress in July 2008, on behalf of the health professionals of South Africa. She is the second person to receive this award named after a humble architect of our democracy, Cde Walter Sisulu.
The Medical Education for South African Blacks honours the Minister in 2005, for her contribution to health care delivery in South Africa.
The Minister was also honoured by the National AIDS Trust Fund in 2005, for the work she has done in the prevention, care and treatment of HIV and AIDS.
She received an award from World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2004,for her commitment and delivery on Inter-country and Cross-Border collaboration on Malaria.
In 2000 she was bestowed the Luther L.Terry Award from the American Cancer Society, for her effective work in Tobacco Control. South Africa’s legislation in tobacco control is quoted as the most progressive ever ever to the extent that countries like Sweden have asked to model their policies and legislation on it.

Research and Publications
Conducted research in various fields including a Survey on nutritional status of ANC children in Tanzania (1981), Study of prevalence of chloroquinine-resistant malaria within the ANC communities in Angola, Mozambique and Tanzania (1983), Mental Health Survey within the ANC communities in Angola, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia (1986) and Evaluation of Ghandi Settlement Clinic in Durban.
National Directory of Community-Based Health Workers (1992).
Directory of Community-Based Women’s Organisations in Natal (1993).
ANC Women’s League submission to the Ad-Hoc Select Committee on Abortion and Sterilization (Act No. 2 of 1975).

Fact file courtesy of the Government Communication and Information System