Deputy Minister, Environmental Affairs, South Africa
Deputy Minister Barbara Thomson has been part of the struggle since before the dawn of democracy in South Africa.
She has served at various levels of the African National Congress (ANC) structure in Kwa-Zulu, from branch up to the Provincial structures of the ANC, as well as the ANC Women’s League. She has been instrumental in organizing formal structures of the ANC during the height of political violence in the then Midlands Region. The Deputy Minister worked very closely with the ANC stalwart, Mr Harry Gwala. She currently serves as the Provincial Treasurer of the ANC Women’s League in the Kwa-Zulu Natal province.
In 1995 she was elected to the National Assembly as a Member of Parliament where she served in various committees including Agriculture, Transport, Public Works and others. In 1999, she was re-elected to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) where she served as a Provincial Whip. She served on Mineral and Energy, Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) on the Improvement of Quality of Life and Status of Women, Children, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, as well as the Joint Rules of Parliament. She was appointed to Chair the Committee of Women, Children, Youth and Persons with Disabilities.
In 2010, she was appointed by President Zuma as a Deputy Minister of Energy where she championed increased access and participation of women in the energy sector. Rural development and advocacy are her key strengths.
In 2014, she was re-elected Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs where she continues to champion participation of marginalized communities in the environmental sector.
She has studied leadership communication as well as government policy with the University of Rhodes.