South Africa woke up to the sad news that the Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa passed away on Saturday 22 September 2018. She died after a short illness after contracting a virus while accompanying President Cyril Ramaphosa to Beijing earlier this month. The former North West premier was 61 years at the time of her death. She was hospitalised in Pretoria on September 8 just after returning from Beijing.
Derek Hanekom a current South African Minister of Tourism was acting on Edna Molewa position. Edna Molewa was a South African politician and member of the African National Congress. Molewa became the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs of South Africa on 31 October 2010, as part of a cabinet reshuffle by President Jacob Zuma. On 25 May 2014 her Ministry was split and she was appointed Minister of Environmental Affairs. Prior to her death, Molewa was studying towards a Bachelor’s in Communications through the University of South Africa.
Molewa was involved in South Africa’s liberation movement from 1976 through 1990. During that time she was a member of various activist and regional economic development organizations. Beginning in 1984 she served as a chairperson of the South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union and eventually became its deputy president. In 1994 Molewa became the first female Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, and in 1996 went on to serve as a member of the Executive Council on Tourism, Environment and Conservation.
She was also a member of the Executive Council on Economic Development and Tourism from 1998 through 2000. Between 2000 and 2004 Molewa was a member of the Executive Council on Agriculture, Conservation and Environment Affairs. On 30 April 2004, she became the first woman Premier of the North West Provincial Government, a post she held until 2009, and is credited with having put the province on a successful track. For a short time Molewa was appointed Minister of Social Development, but in 2010 became the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs after a cabinet reshuffle, replacing Buyelwa Sonjica. In May 2014, the department was split and Molewa became minister of the new Department of Environmental Affairs, a position she held until her death in September of 2018. Molewa was also the Head of Communications of the African National Congress Women’s League between 2013 and 2015, and a member of the organization’s National Executive Council since 2003.