Page protected with pending changes

Tokyo Sexwale

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Tokyo Sexwale
Tokyo Sexwale-wef-crop.jpg
Minister of Human Settlements
In office
10 May 2009 – 9 July 2013
PresidentJacob Zuma
Preceded byLindiwe Sisulu
Succeeded byConnie September
1st Premier of Gauteng
In office
7 May 1994 – 19 January 1998
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byMathole Motshekga
Personal details
Mosima Gabriel Sexwale

(1953-03-05) 5 March 1953 (age 68)
Transvaal, South Africa
Political partyAfrican National Congress
Judy van Vuuren
(m. 1993; div. 2014)

Mosima Gabriel "Tokyo" Sexwale (Venda[sexwále];[1] born 5 March 1953) is a South African businessman, politician, anti-apartheid activist, and former political prisoner. Sexwale was imprisoned on Robben Island for his anti-apartheid activities, alongside figures such as Nelson Mandela. After the 1994 general election—the first fully democratic election in South Africa—Sexwale became the Premier of Gauteng Province. He served in the government of South Africa as Minister of Human Settlements from 2009 to 2013.

Early life and education[edit]

Sexwale was born in the township of Orlando West, in Soweto. His father was a clerk at Johannesburg General Hospital and had fought against the Germans in World War II.[2] Sexwale grew up amid the turmoil of the black township's upheaval, and graduated from Orlando West High School in 1973.

Sexwale became a member of the Steve Biko's Black Consciousness Movement in the late 1960s and became a local leader of the radical South African Students' Movement.[3] In the early 1970s, he joined the African National Congress's armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe ("spear of the nation").[4] While in Swaziland, he completed a Certificate in Business Studies at the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland.[5] In 1975, Sexwale went into exile, undergoing military officers' training in the Soviet Union, where he specialized in military engineering.[6]


Upon his return to South Africa in 1976, Sexwale was captured after a skirmish with the South African security forces and, along with 11 others, was charged and later convicted of terrorism and conspiracy to overthrow the government after an almost two-year-long trial in the Supreme Court of South Africa in Pretoria.[citation needed] In 1977, Sexwale was sent to the Robben Island maximum-security prison to serve an 18-year sentence.[7] While imprisoned at Robben Island, he studied for a BCom degree at the University of South Africa.[citation needed] Sexwale was released in June 1990 under the terms of the Groote Schuur Agreement between the National Party government and the African National Congress.[citation needed] He had spent 13 years in prison.[citation needed]

During this time he was represented in part by a paralegal named Judy van Vuuren.[citation needed] They began a personal relationship while he remained in prison, and soon after his release, in 1990, they married.[citation needed]

Political career[edit]

After his release, Sexwale returned to Johannesburg, where he served as head of the public liaison department of the African National Congress Headquarters. He was subsequently appointed the head of special projects, reporting to the ANC's military headquarters. In September 1990, he was elected as a member of the executive committee of the ANC in the Pretoria-Witwatersrand-Vereeniging (PWV) region. He became the chairperson of the ANC in the PWV region in 1991, a position he held until his resignation in late 1997.[citation needed]

After the South African elections in April 1994, Sexwale was elected as the first premier of the new PWV Province (renamed Gauteng Province in December 1994). In this role, he was credited with bringing peace to several politically volatile townships. Sexwale left politics for the corporate sector in 1998. The reasons for this were never made completely clear, but was reportedly due to feeling stifled by central government restrictions as well as becoming exhausted by internal African National Congress intrigues.[citation needed] Further speculation is that Sexwale left politics due to strong disagreements with the then Vice-President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki.[citation needed] Other speculation is that his marriage opened business opportunities in the white-dominated financial sectors that allowed him opportunities not open to other black leaders.[citation needed] Sexwale, Cyril Ramaphosa and Mbeki were possible candidates jostling for the presidency after Mandela stepped down. Once Thabo Mbeki appeared as the favourite candidate, both Sexwale and Ramaphosa left politics to follow successful careers as businessmen.[citation needed]

On 7 January 2007, The Sunday Times reported that Sexwale was campaigning for a leadership position within the ANC, which would have put him in position to replace Thabo Mbeki as President of South Africa in 2009. Sexwale admitted on BBC's Hard Talk that if asked to stand for the elections as party president by structures of the ANC, he would seriously consider it.[8] He was elected to the ANC's 80-member National Executive Committee in December 2007 in 10th place, with 2,198 votes.[9]

On 10 May 2009, President Jacob Zuma appointed Sexwale as Minister of Human Settlements,[10] a ministry which replaced the Department of Housing.

Mvelaphanda Group[edit]

Upon leaving the public sector, Sexwale founded Mvelaphanda Holdings (mvelaphanda is the Venda word for "progress"), a company of which he is still executive chairman. Mvelaphanda is primarily focused on the mining, energy and related sectors. Some of Sexwale's main interests are oil and diamond mining, for which he has been granted concessions across Africa and Russia; these interests are controlled by a subsidiary of Mvelaphanda Holdings called Mvelaphanda Resources, of which he is chairman.[citation needed]

Through his Mvelaphanda Group Tokyo Sexwale has substantial holdings in the mining sector. He is currently discussing with the Kazakh-owned Eurasian National Resources Corporation a plan to buy into mining interests in Guinea. A negotiating team is in secret talks about financing a local mining company to be owned by the Guinean state.[11]

The new mining code, drafted by advisers to the Guinean President Alpha Condé, would grant the new state entity a free 15% stake in Guinea's mining projects, with the option to buy another 20%. Tokyo Sexwale was a business partner with Alpha Condé even before Condé became president.[12]

Sexwale's Mvelphanda Holdings and Walter Hennig's Palladino Holdings have entered into a partnership with US investment fund managers Och-Ziff Capital Management in African Global Capital, a natural resources investment fund focussing on the continent.[13]

Africa Management Limited[edit]

In January 2008 OZ Management, Mvelaphanda (Mvela) Holdings and Walter Hennig's Palladino Holdings announced the creation of a new joint venture, Africa Management Limited.[14] As part of the joint venture, Africa Management Limited established African Global Capital, as a vehicle for investment in both the private and public markets across Africa, focusing on natural resources and related opportunities.[14] Tokyo Sexwale said: "We intend to build on our already strong foothold in African investments in partnership with Och-Ziff. The partnership with Och-Ziff in African Global Capital will help us accelerate in building the leading African investment firm."[14]

Presidential ambitions[edit]

He was mentioned as a possible candidate for Deputy President of the African National Congress in 2007. In September 2007 he announced his candidacy for the ANC Presidential nomination at the party convention in Polokwane. Prior to the convention, he withdrew his nomination and backed then Deputy President - Jacob Zuma. He did not stand for the Deputy Presidency as certain media speculation expected,[citation needed] the post eventually going to Kgalema Motlanthe. In 2009, he was appointed as Minister of Human Settlements by President Jacob Zuma having previously been touted as a possible Foreign Affairs or Defense Minister.

2012 ANC Leadership election[edit]

Sexwale was nominated as Kgalema Motlanthe's Deputy Presidential running mate on 2 October 2012 by various regions in the Eastern Cape, the ruling party's second largest branch. The African National Congress Youth League also indicated that it would back Sexwale for the Deputy Presidency at the ANC's leadership election in Mangaung, Free State. On 18 December 2012, Sexwale was defeated for the post of Deputy President, coming in last place he received 463 votes while Cyril Ramaphosa received 3 018 votes and Mathews Phosa received 470 votes.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

His nickname of "Tokyo" is derived from his involvement with the sport of karate as a youth.[citation needed]

Sexwale has two children by a first wife, and two children by his second wife, Judy van Vuuren, a paralegal he met on Robben Island. Following his financial success, he moved into the previously predominantly white suburb of Illovo with his family. In 2013 Sexwale and his second wife filed for divorce.[15][16]

Three days after the death of Mandela, on 8 December 2013, Sexwale appeared at a prayer service in Houghton, South Africa, where he hailed Mandela as the "purest of the purest good" and encouraged everyone to learn from his example: "His method was that of solving a society's most impractical problems through talking and engaging."[17]


In 2001 Sexwale was accused, along with Cyril Ramaphosa and Mathews Phosa, of plotting to depose President Thabo Mbeki.[18] Sexwale denied the charges and all three received the backing of Nelson Mandela; they were later exonerated from all accusations.

In 2002, he was refused a visa to enter the United States, which kept him from attending the listing of Gold Fields (a company in which he holds a 15 percent stake) on the New York Stock Exchange. It later transpired that he, along with many prominent South African anti-apartheid figures such as Nelson Mandela and South African cabinet minister Sidney Mufamadi, were still on that country's list of global terrorists.[19] After initiating legal action, going so far as to having papers served on the U.S. Department of State and following personal intervention by Condoleezza Rice, Sexwale and the others received ten-year waivers from the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Department of Homeland Security, as the government felt that permanently delisting them would mean changing the law, which would be a lengthy process.[20] In July 2008 a bill became law in the US to "provide relief for certain members of the African National Congress regarding admissibility" and the ANC itself was removed from the terrorist list[21] though on 28 October 2013, the ANC demanded an apology after Sexwale was held at a US airport because he was still on a terrorist watchlist.[22]

In 2005, Sexwale was roundly criticized for being "indecisive" during the live finale of the South African version of The Apprentice, which he fronted on SABC3. Both finalists, Zanele Batyashe, 24, and Khomotso Choma, 34, were hired in the finale which aired 22 September.[23] [24] [25]

Sexwale's name appeared in a United Nations report on illegal transactions under the Oil-for-Food Programme.[26]

Sexwale's Group 5 has received criticism for their involvement with Gugulethu Tycoon, Mzoli Ngcawuzele in the Guguletu Square Mall.[27] [28]

In July 2009 Sexwale was criticized by some civil society organizations and academics for what they called 'publicity stunts'[29] as well as for accusing protesting communities of fomenting 'anarchy' and threatened 'zero tolerance' against protesters 'acting under other flags'.[30][31][32]


Sexwale is leading a group of South Africans who have devised a plan to take over mineral assets and mining concessions in the republic of Guinea, which the Guinean government plans to renationalize after revoking deals struck by previous governments in power.[33] Sexwale is discussing a plan with the Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation to buy into mining interests in Guinea.[33]

Sexwale is believed to be the driver behind two British Virgin Island vehicles, Palladino Holdings and Floras Bell, which are managed by Walter Hennig.[33] In April 2011 Walter Hennig concluded a secret deal with the Guinean President Alpha Condé that would transfer billions of Dollars of mining assets belonging to companies such as BHP and Rio Tinto - who want to invest billions to develop the mines of Guinea – to South African intermediary Palladino Capital.[34]

The deal comprised a loan of US$25 million to the Guinean government to finance the start-up of a new Guinean state mining company.[33] Behind Walter Hennig and the $25 million loan agreement, are Sexwale; Mark Willcox, the chief executive of Mvelaphanda Group, and several other businessmen of South African, Polish, and British extraction. One of them is Ian Hannam a famous London banker who tried to arrange Rusal's float on the London Stock Exchange in 2007, but failed.[33]

The loan deal is now tipped for a potential investigation by the World Bank which would look into whether the loan was actually intended to finance a new state-mining company, as outlined in the contract, or to benefit political or individual interests in return for mining concessions.[13]

Mahmoud Thiam, the former Guinean mining minister and political opponent of President Alpha Condé, claimed that Tokyo Sexwale "was angry with the president because he was not delivering on his promises" and that Tokyo was funding the president's election campaign through the loan deal.[13]

In July 2012, the Russian publication Аргументы и Факты (Argumenty I Fakty, Arguments and Facts) reported that Walter Hennig, through Palladino Capital 2, made a series of payments totalling $25 million to the Guinean president's son, Mohammed Condé.[35] The payments were made by Walter Hennig from an account held in Turks and Caicos into an offshore account held by Mohammed Condé in Monaco.[35]

The money was originally lent by Hennig's offshore company, Palladino Capital 2, in order to start the state mining company but various news articles have cited anonymous sources who have claimed that the US$25 million was never reflected in the country's accounts.[13] When faced with these accusations, Sexwale has declined to comment personally and instead has released statements through his spokesperson Xolani Xundu that he would not confirm or deny any of the claims from "faceless sources".[36]


Sexwale has received many honours and awards, including the Légion d'honneur from France,[37] an honorary doctorate from Nottingham Trent University,[citation needed] an honorary doctorate from De Montfort University,[citation needed] the Order of the Freedom of Havana (Cuba),[citation needed] the Cross of Valour (Ruby Class) from South Africa,[citation needed] and the Reach and Teach Leadership Award, from the United States.[citation needed] He is also chancellor of the Vaal University of Technology.[citation needed]

Sexwale is also an honorary colonel in the South African Air Force[citation needed] and chair of the Council for the Support of National Defence,[citation needed] whose aim is to encourage part-time military service as well as building support in society for those who wish to serve in the military as volunteers. In 2004, he was voted 43rd in the list of "Top 100 Great South Africans".[citation needed]

Sexwale holds positions in many international organisations, such as president of the South African/Russian Business, Technological and Cultural Association,[citation needed] and Vice President of the South African/Japanese Business Forum.[citation needed] He is also an Honorary Consul General of Finland in South Africa.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Wells, John C. (22 November 2011). "Sexwale". Phonetic blog. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
  2. ^ Leung, Rebecca (26 April 2004). "Comrade Capitalist". CBS News. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  3. ^ World, Sunday. "The good looking side of politics (Photos) - SundayWorld". Retrieved 15 November 2017.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Anonymous (17 February 2011). "Mosima Gabriel (Tokyo) Sexwale". South African History Online. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  5. ^ Gumede, William Mervin (15 May 2008). Thabo Mbeki and the Battle for the Soul of the ANC. Zed Books Ltd. ISBN 9781848132597.
  6. ^ Smith, David (18 November 2011). "Who is Tokyo Sexwale, subject of the Blatter-Ferdinand Twitter row?". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  7. ^ "Know your Minister: Meet Minister Tokyo Sexwale | Vuk'uzenzele". Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  8. ^ Tycoon may run for top ANC post BBC 8 January 2007
  9. ^ Brendan Boyle, "Winnie Mandela tops ANC election list" Archived 2 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine, The Times (South Africa), 21 December 2007.
  10. ^ Tokyo Sexwale to head South Africa's New Housing Ministry Archived 17 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine Architect Africa 10 May 2009
  11. ^ Africa Confidential, "South Africa: Higher Taxes, Less Nationalisation", AllAfrica (8 June 2012)
  12. ^ John Helmer," South African Oligarch Beats Oleg Deripaska To The Pot In Guinea", Business Insider (13 June 2012)
  13. ^ a b c d Wood, Craig McKune, Stefaans Brummer & James. "Tokyo-linked company in Guinea row". The M&G Online. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  14. ^ a b c "OZM - Overview". Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  15. ^ "Tokyo and Judy Sexwale in divorce battle". 11 February 2013. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  16. ^ Bird, William (18 February 2013). "Sexwale divorce: The naming of names is a difficult matter". Daily Maverick. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  17. ^ [1].
  18. ^ "Sexwale vows to set his lawyers on 'coup plot' pedlars | News | National | Mail & Guardian". 5 May 2011. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
  19. ^ "ACLU Testimony Before the Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International Relations Regarding Censorship at the Borders | American Civil Liberties Union". 28 March 2006. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
  20. ^ Hall, Mimi (30 April 2008). "U.S. has Mandela on terrorist list -". Retrieved 30 March 2013.
  21. ^ Berman, Howard L. (1 July 2008). "H.R.5690 - 110th Congress (2007-2008): To remove the African National Congress from treatment as a terrorist organization for certain acts or events, provide relief for certain members of the African National Congress regarding admissibility, and for other purposes". Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  22. ^ Tokyo Sexwale arrested in New York, at the Sowetan Live; by Reuters; published 28 October 2013; retrieved 12 February 2014
  23. ^ Indecisively Yours Archived 13 May 2006 at the Wayback Machine Blog
  24. ^ Apprentice ends in tie Archived 5 December 2005 at the Wayback Machine,, 23 September 2005
  25. ^ Sexwale 'had his reasons' Archived 30 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine,, 26 September 2005
  26. ^ Tokyo guns for presidency[permanent dead link], Sunday Times, 8 January 2007 (pay for access, 16 March 2012)
  27. ^ "David vs Goliath in Gugulethu". Mail&Guardian. 15 October 2008.
  28. ^ "Eyona Tenants joining in opposition to Guguletu Square Mall". AbM.
  29. ^ Cut the stunts and do something real[dead link]
  30. ^ Gaye Davis, Sexwale warns unruly protesters, Iol news, 1 July 2009
  31. ^ Media Briefing by Minister on Human Settlements Budget Archived 22 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine, Parliamentary Monitoring Group, 29 June 2009
  32. ^ Gaye Davis, Sexwale slams families protesting against government oppression Archived 21 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine, Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign, 6 July 2009
  33. ^ a b c d e John Helmer, "South African Oligarch Beats Oleg Deripaska To The Pot In Guinea", Business Insider (13 June 2012)
  34. ^ Boubacar Bah Caba, "Major Issues: Conde accused of having sold off the Guinean mining interests in favor of South African ... for $ 25 million", Guineenews (2 June 2012)
  35. ^ a b "Google Translate". Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  36. ^ Jacques Dommisse, "Media reports in the West African state reveal that the ‘secret deal’ was never disclosed despite a promise for absolute transparency on state deals", City Press (24 June 2012)
  37. ^ "French Legion of Honor". Retrieved 30 March 2013.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Danie Hough
as Administrator of the Transvaal
Premier of Gauteng
7 May 1994 – 19 January 1998
Succeeded by
Mathole Motshekga