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Ronald Lamola, 35: South Africa’s youngest cabinet minister under Ramaphosa

35-year-old Ronald Ozzy Lamola became South Africa youngest cabinet minister in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government after being appointed Minister of Justice and Correctional Services. previously reported that South Africa became the 11th country in the world to have a gender-equal cabinet when President Ramaphosa announced his 28 member cabinet on Wednesday, 29 May 2019.

Lamola was born on 21 November 1983 in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga, he joined politics at the young age of 13 as a member of the ANC Youth League in 1996.

He matriculated at Mchacka High School in 2000 and then enrolled for a law degree at the University of Venda during which time he became SRC President and chairperson of the South African Students Congress in the Limpopo province.

Lamola began his career as a lawyer at TMN Kgomo and Associates in 2006 after 3 years he joined the Govern Mbeki Municipality as a manager and later on as director in the office of the Mpumalanga MEC of Culture, Sport & Recreation from 2009 to 2011.

In 2012 the young lawyer worked briefly as the acting spokesperson for South Africa’s deputy president David Mabuza when he was still the Mpumalanga Premier.

Four years after meeting the love of his life Lamola got married to Bawinile “Winnie” Msiza at the rural Cunning Moor in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga, on 8 March 2013.

Ronald Lamola wedding

Lamola rose through the ANC Youth League ranks to become deputy president before being suspended in 2012 along with Julius Malema, who went on to form the EFF but he remained loyal to green, black and gold.

Following the Constitutional Court judgement against Jacob Zuma in 2016 over the Nkandla saga, Lamola staged a protest outside St George’s Hotel in Centurion, Pretoria, where the ANC NEC had been meeting calling for the then-president Jacob Zuma to resign.

Fast forward to ANC’s 2017 watershed Nasrec conference Lamola was the youngest elected member of both the NEC and national working committee.

President Ramaphosa appointed Lamola as part of a 10-member panel to study modalities towards land expropriation without compensation.

In his new role as Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Lamola will have the opportunity to shape the contentious Land Expropriation debate.

Before his appointment as Minister of Justice, Lamola made use of his law degree & two masters in law running his own legal practise Ndobela Lamola Inc.

Speaking about his former student University of Pretoria Professor Piet Delport (Department of Mercantile Law) who supervised Lamola’s first Masters in Law said

He is very intelligent, but the personality trait that I will always remember is his keen sense of humour and, coupled with that, an infectious laugh. He is destined for far greater things, also because he never lost the humility that comes from growing up in a rural area where people are also taught and brought up to respect others and to be kind. 

Lamola being sworn in by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng at the Sefako Makgatho presidential guesthouse in Pretoria on Thursday, 30 May 2019

Ronald Ozzy Lamola short-biography

  • Born on 21 November 1983 in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga
  • Married Bawinile “Winnie” Msiza on 8 March 2013
  • Mchacka High School in Bushbuckridge, 2000
  • LLB (University of Venda, 2005)
  • Former SRC President at the University of Venda
  • Former Limpopo province chairperson of the South African Students Congress
  • Former Young Communist League secretary of the Gert Sibande region (2008-2009)
  • Master in Corporate law (University of Pretoria, 2014)
  • Master in Extractive law (University of Pretoria, 2018)
  • Post-graduate certificate in Telecommunications Regulation and Management (Wits)
  • Post-graduate certificate in Banking law (Wits, 2013)
  • Post-graduate certificate in Competition law
  • Post-graduate certificate in Mining and Prospecting Rights (Wits)
  • Post-graduate certificate in Corporate Law (UNISA, 2008)
  • Attorney at TMN Kgomo and Associates (June 2006 to March 2009)
  • Transversal Unit Manager at the Govern Mbeki Municipality (March 2009 to June 2009)
  • Director in the office of the Mpumalanga MEC of Culture, Sport & Recreation (July 2009 to January 2011)
  • Acting spokesperson of the Mpumalanga Premier (Jan 2011 to Oct 2011)
  • Founded own law firm, Ndobela Lamola Inc in 2012
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