Siviwe Gwarube

Head of ministry, Western Cape ministry of health

Injustice is what made Siviwe Gwarube choose a career in politics — it awakened in her an urgency to act and drive for change.

Gwarube’s first job after graduating from Rhodes University was as spokesperson to the then DA parliamentary leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko. Her experience during these three years was invaluable, exposing her to real life political situations, including the precedent-setting motion of no confidence tabled by opposition parties in 2012.

“I chose politics and communication because I believed that public office is one of the key vehicles for effecting change. I have been fortunate enough to work with some incredibly talented politicians in the country, while [being] given the space to own my work and grow in the profession,” says Gwarube.

As head of ministry in the Western Cape department of health, Gwarube manages the office of the health MEC in the province, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo. “My role entails managing a staff compliment of eight people in the MEC’s private office, providing strategic and political counsel to her; managing her executive, legislative, political and public profiles; assisting the MEC in presiding over the R19-billion budget of the department, and ensuring the implementation of ministerial projects and the provincial strategic goals of the next five years.”

Gwarube says she is constantly inspired by South Africa and its potential.

“I want to be part of the change and the move towards a capable state. Working in government means you have a seat at the decision-making table where the healthcare needs of 75% of the Western Cape’s population are being met. That inspires me, because I believe I am responding to the call of injustice and inequality in the country.”

Just 26, Gwarube says her greatest challenge is being a young leader.

“Leading at a young age requires you to do a lot of growing up outside of work. While the work you do may contain valuable lessons that help you to grow, there is never space to doubt or wobble. You need to constantly keep it moving. That is difficult.” — Linda Doke





Twitter: @Siviwe_G