Masizole "Masi" Mnqasela | A.C.C. President

MASIZOLE MNQASELA: A LIFE OF TRANSFORMATION AND SERVANT LEADERSHIP 

 

Masizole “Masi” Mnqasela, a man of resilience and conviction, has emerged as a beacon of change and unflinching commitment to progress in South African politics. Born and raised in the humble village of Nqadu in the former Transkei, Masi’s journey from a young boy tending to livestock to a prominent political figure is one that exemplifies the transformative power of education, family, and unwavering determination.

 

From an early age, Masi learned the importance of hard work and responsibility, as he balanced his studies at Nqadu Junior Secondary School with the duties of caring for his uncle’s livestock. Guided by the principles instilled in him by his father’s brother, whom he affectionately referred to as “Utata” (dad), Masi developed a deep understanding of the values that would shape his character and his future endeavors.

In 1992, Masi ventured to Cape Town to spend the summer holidays with his family, an event that marked the beginning of a new chapter in his life. With his family’s unwavering support, he embarked on a path of personal and intellectual growth, driven by a passion for education and a desire to make a difference in his community.

Masi’s commitment to family values has remained a driving force throughout his life. He firmly believes that strong families are the bedrock of society and advocates for their vital role in shaping individuals and fostering social cohesion. When he is not engaged in political activities, Masi finds solace in cooking and enjoys morning walks along the Atlantic seaboard, relishing the serene beauty of the Cliff-Path in the Hermanus Fernkloof Nature Reserve which was one of his favourite parliamentary constituencies for a while. 

Recognizing the transformative power of education, Masi pursued a Postgraduate Diploma in Governance and Leadership from Witwatersrand University. He firmly believes that education empowers individuals to make informed decisions about their lives and shape the future of their communities. In his endeavors, he seeks to make education fashionable and accessible to all, viewing it as a catalyst for societal progress.

Masi’s political journey began in 1997 when he joined the Congress of South African Students (COSAS) at the time they campaigned for the renaming of his High School “Ebutsheni Senior Secondary School” after the late revolutionary freedom fighter Chris Hani, a defining moment in history that marked a leadership incubation and political consciousness for his young-self in his Makhaza schooldays. This early involvement sparked a deep passion for community activism and leadership, which would guide him throughout his career as a young leader. Over the years, he became a community leader and political activist, where he contributed in various leadership capacities, in the ANC, ANC Youth League, and the South African Student Congress.

In 2002, Masi made a pivotal decision to join the Democratic Alliance (DA), a move that would shape the course of his political career and test his resilience. Establishing the first-ever DA branch in Khayelitsha, he faced intense scrutiny and opposition from those who viewed his decision as a betrayal of the struggle for the emancipation of the black majority from a longtime repressive laws of a whites-only government of the apartheid regime . Masi’s dedication to democracy and freedom of choice was met with resistance, leading to arrests and threats from those who opposed his affiliation with the DA, which was perceived as a political party that only  represented the political interests of the white minority. The challenges he faced were not only personal but extended to his fellow party members, who endured violent physical attacks and ostracization, with some paying the ultimate price of death. However, Masi’s unwavering spirit and commitment to his democratic principles propelled him forward.

In 2003, Masi achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first black-African DA councillor in the City of Cape Town Municipal council. His journey was not without obstacles, as he faced fabricated charges orchestrated by many including one by his ex-girlfriend in cahoots with local ANC political figures. However, Masi’s resolve remained unshaken, and he continued to champion democracy and freedom of political association. As a lone councillor representing 25 wards, he tirelessly advocated for his constituents, crisscrossing the N2-Development LMC, which was later divided into multiple constituencies.

Masi’s impact as a political leader continued to grow as he assumed various roles within the DA. From serving as a councillor to chairing Sub-councils and becoming a Member of Parliament, he showcased his commitment to making a difference in his community and beyond. Notably, he served as a Deputy Shadow Minister of Home Affairs a position he held for five years, providing valuable contributions to the national political landscape. In the Western Cape Provincial Parliament, he chaired the Standing Committee on Local Government, overseeing the 30 municipalities in the province. In 2019, he was elected as the Speaker of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament, a position he held until November 2022.

Masi’s dedication to democracy extended beyond South Africa’s borders. He participated in international missions, such as observing the general elections in Botswana and Zimbabwe as part of the SADC Parliamentary Forum. His efforts in fostering partnerships, democracy and cooperation in the African diaspora led him to travel extensively throughout the continent and establish twinning agreements with the Welsh and Bavarian Parliaments. Through these initiatives, he aimed to promote democracy, cooperation, and the development of parliamentary teams, fostering mutual growth and understanding.

Despite his numerous achievements, Masi’s ultimate goal has always been to serve the people who entrusted him with their votes. He catapulted a culture of hosting the official opening of parliament and the State of the Province Address. (SOPA) in the vulnerable and far-flung communities. In his initiative called “Thetha Nathi” (Talk to Us), he aimed to promote public education, participation, and dialogue with communities. By fostering a sense of ownership of the parliament among the people, he aimed to create a stronger bond between elected officials and their constituents. Masi firmly believes that parliamentarians are there to serve the people, who are the true bosses. Who has the power to hire and fire politicians through the ballot. 

Masizole “Masi” Mnqasela’s life has been defined by resilience, determination, and a commitment to positive change. A life of a servant leader and a diplomat. From his humble beginnings in a small village to his influential role as a political leader, he has consistently championed democracy, education, and family values. Through his unwavering dedication, he has left an indelible mark on South African politics, serving as an inspiration for generations to come.

Follow us on Youtube