Mbhazima Shilowa is the Premier of South Africa's most urbanised and highly industrialised province - Gauteng. He is also the Chairperson of the ANC Gauteng Province. Shilowa started serving his second term as the Premier of Gauteng on 29 April 2004, following the ANC's overwhelming victory in the national and provincial elections.
His first term as the Premier of Gauteng during 1999 - 2004 was highly successful. Under his leadership, the Gauteng Provincial Government made impressive achievements in growing the economy, fighting poverty and in building a compassionate public service. Shilowa grew up in the rural areas of Limpopo province. He was born on 30 April 1958 at Olifantshoek. He completed his secondary education at Akani High School in 1978.
He became politically conscious while at High School. Growing up in the impoverished rural areas help to shape his political outlook. As a worker, Shilowa was involved in organising fellow workers to fight for better working conditions and to defend their rights. His hard work, dedication and commitment to fight for workers' rights and better working conditions saw him being elected Vice-President and later President of the Transport and General Workers Union.
Shilowa played a prominent role in the formation of the Congress of South African Trade Unions. He was the Deputy Chairperson of the federation's Gauteng region. He was elected as COSATU Deputy General Secretary in 1991 and in 1993 he became the General Secretary, a position he held until his subsequent election as Premier of Gauteng.
Whilst with COSATU, he played a key role in forging close co-operation between government, organized labour and business, and was also instrumental in the formation of Nedlac. He has engaged extensively with both business and government and helped in determining strategies and practical options for developing South Africa.
As part of the ANC's negotiating team at CODESA, he was involved in the multi party negotiations process which led to the writing of South Africa’s democratic constitution.
Shilowa is committed to transparency and accountability and values the contribution of the public in the work of government. He regularly consults with the people of Gauteng and allows them to influence government policies and programmes.