Professor Shepherd M. Mayatula


Professor Shepherd Malusi Mayatula is a retired Member of the South African Parliament and the retired Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Education in the National Assembly in the South African Parliament.

Born in 1945 in the small, rural Eastern Cape town of Willowvale in South Africa, Prof. Mayatula went on to complete his higher education studies at the University of Fort Hare in South Africa and at the Northeastern University in Boston in the United States of America. Prof.Mayatula distinguished himself and obtained various qualifications, including B.Comm; B.Comm.Hons.(Economics); M.Comm.(Economics) and M.A. (Economics)  - in addition he also obtained a South African Teachers Diploma, and won the prestigious  Fulbright Scholarship and Research Fellowship to join Northeastern University in Boston.

He taught economics at the University of Fort Hare from 1975 to 1994, where he rose to the positions of Head of Economics Department; Member of Senate; Associate Professor and Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Commerce.  

Prof.Mayatula was also active in the sporting arena, where he was variously the President of the Victoria East Tennis Union (VETU); President of the Victoria East Council on Sport (VECOS); Executive Member of the Tennis Association of South Africa (TASA) and the Executive Committee Member of the South African Council on Sport (SACOS). These were the sports bodies that were fighting for non-racial sport during the dark days of apartheid.  

In 1994, after the first democratic elections in South Africa, the African National Congress (ANC) deployed Prof.Mayatula as the first Provincial Minister of Finance in the Eastern Cape Province. From February 1998 to June 1999, he became the Provincial Minister of Education in the same province, and in many instances, during the period 1994 to 1999, he acted as the Premier of the Eastern Cape Province when the Premier was out of the country or incapacitated.

After the second general elections in South Africa in 1999, the ANC redeployed Prof.Mayatula to the National Parliament in Cape Town, where he was given the position of the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Education. This Committee processes all Education Bills and conducts public hearings. It also has oversight and monitoring responsibilities over both the National Department Education and the nine Provincial Departments. 

As a senior MP Prof.Mayatula has led or been part of numerous international delegations to Australia, China, Cuba, Finland, Germany, Ghana, India, Italy, Lesotho, Mali, Mauritius, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Tanzania, Thailand, the United Kingdom, USA,  and Zimbabwe. 

Since 2000 Prof.Mayatula has also led a national school building campaign in South Africa, where he canvasses the financial support of the private sector to build rural schools and classrooms across South Africa; the aim of the campaign being to alleviate the significant classroom shortage which is prevalent in South Africa. 

Prof.Mayatula retired from active politics after the third general elections in South Africa in April 2009, at which time he accepted an appointment as Chairman of Kommunity Group Projects, a position he stepped down from in 2011 when he was recalled to assist national Government with various strategic initiatives leading through to the general elections 2014. 

Prof.Mayatula is currently a serving member of the Executive Committee of the Council of the University of Fort Hare and the Advisory Board Chair of The Desmond Tutu Tutudesk Campaign and Kommunity Group Projects.