Susan Shabangu was born on 28 February 1956. She attended Madibane High School in Soweto, Transvaal (now Gauteng). From 1980, she became involved in politics. Shabangu served as the assistant secretary for the Federation of South African Women (FEDSAW) and the Federation of Transvaal Women. She was a member of the Anti-Republic Campaign Committee in 1981 and one of the organisers of the Release Mandela Campaign Committee in 1982.

From 1984 to 1985, she was an organiser and administrator for the Amalgamated Black Worker's Project; a representative of the Transport and General Workers' Union (T&GWU) at the Industrial Council; and a National Women's co-ordinator for the T&GWU. Shabangu was also a member of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) National Women's Subcommittee who worked with women's issues and represented the T&GWU on national level. She was involved in the voter education programme with COSATU's national election task team aimed at workers during the election campaign.

Shabangu was involved in the African National Congress’s (ANC) National Election Steering Committee and in 1994 was elected as a regional candidate to the National Assembly at a COSATU special congress. She was appointed as advisor to the September Commission that was assigned to monitor the future of the unions during the transition era, from Apartheid to democracy. Shabangu was also appointed as a Member of Parliament and participated in various committees such as Labour, Transport and Trade and Industry during that period.

From 1995 to 1996, she served in the ANC’s East Rand PCO Management Committee. Shabangu served as Deputy Minister of Minerals and Energy from April 1996 to April 2004. She has been a member of the ANC National Working Committee since December 2007 and a member of National Executive Council (NEC) of the ANC. From April 2004 to May 2009 she served as a Deputy Minister of Safety and Security before being appointed as Minister of Mineral Resources from 11 May 2009 till 25 May 2014. She was the Minister of Women in the Presidency of the Republic of South Africa from 26 May 2014 until 26 February 2018. Shabangu was appointed as Minister of Social Development on 27 February 2018 to 29 May 2019.


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