Minister Derek Hanekom

Minister Derek Hankom

Mr. Derek Andre Hanekom was appointed as the Minister of Tourism in the South African Government, on 26 May 2014 after serving as the Minister of Science and Technology since October 2012.

Minister Hanekom was born in Cape Town, South Africa on 13 January 1953. He did his schooling in Cape Town and matriculated from Jan van Riebeeck Secondary school in 1970.  After completing his compulsory conscription, he travelled abroad where he worked for various organisations including working on farms, factories and building sites. He returned to South Africa in his early twenties and continued farming for six years.

It was his arrest for participating in a peaceful candlelight demonstration at John Vorster Square, the Police Headquarters in Johannesburg that prompted the start of his active political life in 1976.  He and his wife Patricia joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1980, and did underground political work while farming on a smallholding in Magaliesburg.

Amongst other things, they provided the ANC with information about the apartheid defence force's attempts to overthrow the Mozambican government through the rebel movement, Renamo.  This led to their arrest in 1983, initially charged with High Treason, but subsequently reduced to lesser charges as a result of the international sensitivity of the case.

After serving a three year period in prison, he worked with the trade union movement in Johannesburg, until his wife's release from prison in 1987, and subsequent deportation to Zimbabwe.  They spent the following three years in exile in Zimbabwe. During this period he served as the co-ordinator of the Popular History Trust in Harare.  He returned to South Africa after the unbanning of political organizations in 1990, to work at the headquarters of the ANC, where he was responsible for policy formulation on land and agricultural matters during the period of negotiations prior to the first democratic elections in 1994.

He was appointed Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs from 1994 to 1999, piloting various reform bills through Parliament which aimed to redress the injustices and inequities caused by apartheid laws and the 1913 Land Act.  Much of the South African land reform legislation was initiated, drafted and enacted during his term.  This legislation laid the foundation for land reform in the post-apartheid era. 

During the period 1999 - 2004 he served as a Member of Parliament on various Parliamentary Committees until his appointment as the Deputy Minister of Science and Technology in April 2004. During October 2012 he was promoted to Minister of Science and Technology where he served his term until the 25 May 2014.

Minister Hanekom is a member of the ANC’s
  • National Executive Committee since 1994
  • National Working Committee
  • Chairperson of the National Disciplinary Committee
  • NEC Convener of the Western Cape
He also serves as the Deputy Chairperson of the Board of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation.