WATCH | Outgoing National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise and her rise to the top

19 August 2021 - 06:00 By emile bosch

As the National Assembly is set to elect a new leader later on Thursday, we take a look at the outgoing speaker Thandi Modise and her political career which has spanned decades. 

Modise was most recently appointed as the minister of defence and military veterans.

She is rumoured to be President Cyril Ramaphosa’s leading candidate for the post of deputy president when the ANC elects new leaders next year.

Following in the footsteps of her father, rail worker and ANC activist Frans Modise, Thandi Modise joined the struggle against the apartheid regime. 

Leaving for Botswana in 1976, she began her military and political training in exile. Her political education continued across Africa before she returned to SA in 1978 to work underground as an MK operative.

Modise was arrested and given an eight-year jail sentence in 1979, while she was four months pregnant. After being released in 1988, she continued her political career in the ANC Women's League, in the national executive and as speaker of the National Assembly. 

Having been recalled from her post in parliament to join Ramaphosa's administration, could this signal a potential move to a higher position?