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Who is the New Minister of Transport, Sindisiwe Chikunga?

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Ms Sindisiwe Lydia Chikunga has been appointed as the new Minister of Transport in South Africa, replacing Fikile Mbalula who now works full time at Luthuli House as ANC secretary-general.

Chikunga had been deputy minister for transport twice since 2014. She was made deputy minister on 26 May 2014 to 30 April 2019. She became Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration from 30 May 2019 to 5 August 2021.

On 5 August 2021, once again, she was made deputy minister of transport, until Monday’s reshuffle.

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President Cyril Ramaphosa announced Chikunga’s promotion in a cabinet reshuffle which also saw several other changes in his cabinet.

Who is Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga?

Lydia Sindisiwe Chikunga
New Minister of Transport Lydia Sindisiwe Chikunga.

Sindisiwe Chikunga was born on November 11, 1964, in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. She grew up in a rural area and was one of 11 siblings.

She completed her primary education in KwaZulu-Natal before moving to Gauteng province to complete her high school education.

Chikunga went on to study social work at the University of Fort Hare, where she became involved in student activism.

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After completing her studies, she worked as a social worker in various organizations before becoming the chairperson of the local ward committee in her community.

Chikunga joined the African National Congress (ANC) in the early 1990s and became involved in the party’s youth and women’s structures. She was elected to the National Executive Committee of the ANC Women’s League in 2008.

In 2009, Chikunga was elected to parliament as an ANC MP. During her time in parliament, she was known for her advocacy on transport issues, particularly those affecting women and people with disabilities.

In 2014, she was appointed as the Deputy Minister of Transport, a position she held until 2019.

Read | Pongola crash report blames error and reckless driving on truck driver

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Academic Qualifications

According to the Department of Transport, Ms Chikunga holds a:

  • Masters of Arts degree in Curationis From University of Pretoria;
  • Bachelor of Arts degree in Curationis from University of South Africa; and
  • Bachelor of Arts Curationis Honours from University of South Africa
  • Diploma in Nursing Science from the Edenvale Nursing College;
  • Midwifery Diploma from the Edenvale Nursing College.

She is currently studying Political Science with University of South Africa.

Mr Lisa Mangcu takes over the deputy minister of transport portfolio.

The pair will have to hit the ground running in trying to get public transport systems running efficiently.

Chikunga is expected to address, amongst other things, road safety, which is one of the biggest issues facing the trucking industry in South Africa.

Road accidents involving trucks are a common occurrence, with many of these accidents resulting in fatalities.

Poor road infrastructure, driver fatigue, and reckless driving are some of the factors contributing to road accidents.

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