Dr Bomo Edith Edna Molewa was a respected leader on the African continent in a number
of areas relating to water security, the environment and the global sustainable development agenda.
A LEADER Dr Molewa served as the Minister of Environmental Affairs, a high-profile position that she had held since 2014.
She also served as the head of delegations to a number of international negotiations in various fields, including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD);
DR EDNA MOLEWA the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Summit (2015), which culminated into the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);
the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES); the World Heritage Committee (WHC);
and the international climate change negotiations (Mexico, 2010, and Durban, 2011) leading up to the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris (2015).
In addition to fulfilling these roles, she also served as President of the African Ministerial Council on the Environment (AMCEN)
and two terms as President of the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW).
A senior political figure in the African National Congress (ANC),
Dr Molewa served on the organisation’s highest decision-making body, the National Executive Committee (NEC), as well as the National Working Committee (NWC).
She was also the chairperson of the ANC’s National Disciplinary Committee and, until 2017, chaired the ANC’s International Relations (IR) Sub-committee.
Dr Molewa hailed from Bela-Bela in Limpopo province and was educated at the famed Hebron Training College,
an institution that has produced many luminaries who have gone on to positions of leadership in South Africa and abroad.
Her political activism during apartheid began in the ranks of the civics and trade union movement as well as the ANC’s liberation army, Umkhonto we Sizwe.
In the 1980s, she held a number of senior positions within South Africa’s nascent trade union movement
and was one of the founding members of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).
Her skills as a negotiator and arbitrator saw her appointed to the board of the National Labour
and Economic Development Institute, an organisation that played a formative role in the development of the new South Africa’s economic policies.
In 1994, she was among the first group of parliamentarians to take a seat in the new democratic parliament
and was the first female chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry.
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