Profiles of South African Women

Gil Marcus Gil Marcus was born in 1949 in Johannesburg, South Africa, one of four childre

n whose parents were antiapartheid activists and members of the South African Communist Party (SACP). While her parents were born in South Africa, her grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Lithuania. In 1969, Gil’s parents went into exile in the United Kingdom, taking their children with them. The following year, while in exile, Marcus joined the SACP and the ANC, where she worked in the Department of Information and Publicity and later became the department’s deputy secretary when she returned to South Africa. In 1976, she completed her Bachelor of Communications in Industrial Psychology as a correspondence student at the University of South Africa.

When the ban against the ANC was lifted in 1990, Marcus returned home. She established the ANC Department of Information and was elected to the National Executive Committee and the National Working Committee, positions she held until 1999. During that period, she was also elected to Parliament (1994-1998) and served as the chairperson of the Joint Standing Committee on Finance. In 1996, she was appointed Deputy Minister of Finance and, three year later, she became the Deputy Governor of the South African Reserve Bank—the first female to do so.

In 2004, Marcus stepped down as Deputy Governor and joined the Gordon Institute of Business Science as a professor of Policy, Leadership and Gender Studies, where she continues to teach today. In 2007, she became chairman of the Barclay’s Africa Group Ltd., a position she held until 2009, and also a nonexecutive director of Gold Fields.

In 2009 President Jacob Zuma announced the appointment of Gil Marcus as Governor of the South African Reserve Bank—again as the first women to do so. She took office when the global financial crisis hit and South Africa was experiencing high inflation and its first recession in almost 20 years. Marcus served in the role until November 2014, at the end of her five-year term. Her tenure as governor has been described as one of stability. The benchmark rate (the minimum interest rate investors will seek for investing in a non-Treasury security) was adjusted only six times compared to 17 times in the previous five years.

After announcing her departure, Marcus shared some thoughts about the future. She said she believes that monetary policy and low interest rates, while important, are not the only answer to economic growth. There must be structural reforms, as well.


Mail & Garden, Marcus to step down as Reserve Bank Governor, September 18,2014 reserve-bank-governor (accessed November 16, 2016)

Penwell Dlamini, Monetary policy is not the panacea for SA’s growth, says Marcus, Mail & Guardian, June 6, 2013


(accessed November 16, 2016)

South African Reserve Bank, Gil Marcus profile

https: / / www ProfileofGillMarcus.pdf

(accessed November 16, 2016)

Vuyokazi Felicity Mahlati

Vuyokazi Mahlati is an entrepreneur, business leader, and activist who is currently serving as one of the 26 commissioners on President Jacob Zuma’s advisory National Planning Commission. The commission was tasked in May 2010 to draft an National Development Plan (NDP), which was to include an assessment of South Africa’s achievements and challenges since 1994, and from those findings, recommend future priority areas. In this role, she chairs a working group on the Capable and Development State and Spatial Transformation. She is also the deputy chairperson of a panel of experts charged with establishing the Integrated Urban Development Framework for the country.

She is the founder of Siya TV, which has created a platform for what she calls “Africa’s voice and youth creativity.” For example, through the acquisition of a pay-TV license and engagement with Digital Terrestrial Television in rural South Africa, a high-tech broadcast facility was established to train young people to work in broadcasting and also become entrepreneurs. The company is a 100 percent black-owned, with 40 percent owned by the rural community. Mahlati has also been a member of various boards of directors, including

Lion of Africa Insurance Company, the Financial Markets Advisory Board, the Financial Services Board Licensing Committee, Alexkor Mining, and Umbono Capital. In addition, she has served as chairperson of the South African Post Office board of directors, which includes the Post Bank.

Mahlati has focused on issues related to people with disabilities, children, and women. Her activism in those areas led to her participation in the research process informing the drafting and creation of South Africa’s constitution and UNICEF’s first report on the status on women and children in South Africa. Today, she serves as president of the International Women’s Forum (IWF) South Africa, an organization composed of more than 6,500 women leaders from 35 countries, and as global director of the IWF Leadership Foundation Board.

Mahlati earned her Ph.D. in Public and Development Management from Stellenbosch University and a M.Sc. in Social Policy and Planning from the London School of Economics. She is the recipient of the 2008 Black Management Forum Presidential Award, as well as the Black Business Executive/ABSA Kaelo (Guidance and Wisdom) Award.


The National Planning Commission website, Profile Dr. Vuyokazi Felicity Mahlati,


(accessed November 18, 2016)

Makamba Online, Interview with successful businesswoman Dr Vuyokazi Mahlati, January 6, 2016, with-successful-businesswoman-dr-vuyokazi-mahlati/#.WC97VeErJBw (accessed November 18, 2016)

International Women’s Forum South Africa website, Dr. Vuyo Mahlati, http: // item/54-dr-vuyo-mahlati

(accessed November 18, 2016).

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