Jay Naidoo

Jay Naidoo

Political & Social Activist

Jay Naidoo has served in an advisory capacity for a number of international organisations including the Broadband Commission of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the Lead Committee of the UNSG on Nutrition. He is a trustee of the Earthrise Trust, which is working on models of rural development and innovation in the eastern Free State of South Africa, and also sits on the Board of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, established to promote African development through a focus on promoting good governance.

From 1994 to 1999, Jay was the Minister responsible for South Africa’s Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) in the Office of the President before becoming the Communications Minister in Nelson Mandela’s Cabinet. He was the founding General Secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) where he served three terms (1985 to 1993). He was at the forefront of the struggle against apartheid, leading the largest trade union federation in South Africa. From 2001-2010, he was Chairperson of the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), the premier development finance institution driving infrastructure in the SADC region. From 2003 -2010, he serves as deputy chair and trustee of ‘Lovelife’, a nongovernmental organization leading the fight to prevent HIV/AID through education and mobilization.

Jay was the recipient of, among other awards, the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur (Legion of Honor), one of France’s highest decorations, and received the ‘Drivers for Change Award’ from the Southern African Trust and Mail & Guardian newspaper in October 2010. His most recent awards include The Ellen Kuzwayo Award from the University of Johannesburg, awarded in November 2012 as well as an Honorary Doctorate Technology Degree in Engineering and the Built Environment from the Durban University of Technology, awarded September 2013. He is the author of CHANGE! Organising Tomorrow, Today.

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