Stella Ndabeni

Stella Ndabeni is making her second appearance on these pages, having featured last year as an ordinary MP sitting on the oversight committee on communications. This time around, Ndabeni is making a bigger impact as a member of President Jacob Zuma’s executive. She was appointed deputy minister of communications in October 2011, a big comeback considering that she was expelled from the ANC Youth League in 2010 for supporting an opponent of Julius Malema.

Her rise to the top has been meteoric since becoming an MP in 2009. A few months before her appointment, Ndabeni surprised many when she called for the ANC-proposed media appeals tribunal to be placed on Parliament’s agenda, despite assurances by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe that the idea was on ice, pending an industry review of self-regulation mechanisms.

The 34-year-old is also one of those who would like to see changes to the South African Constitution. Asked what she would change in South Africa if she were president: “The Constitution of this country as it stands is not conducive to the ordinary people of South Africa,” she responded.

Ndabeni, who hails from Mthatha, highlights the need to improve the rolling out of information and communications technology (ICT) connectivity to schools, rural development and health centres to ensure sufficient e-government services, among some of her challenges. She acknowledges that ICT access, services and benefits are “still a dream” for people who live in rural areas. However, “many studies have shown that ,in order for South Africa to be globally competitive and more effective as an efficiency-driven country, we need to improve rolling out of ICT connectivity”. On the personal front, Ndabeni is “finally doing her MBA and planning to settle down this year”.

Andisiwe Makinana