One of the priorities of the Government during 2018 is to break diplomatic ties with Israel, according to Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor. Speaking during the State of the Nation Address in Parliament, she said that any foray into international cooperation in this year in which we celebrate President Nelson Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu reminds South Africans that we are beneficiaries of their courageous commitment to international friendship. “The majority party has been mandated to cut ties with Israel given the absence of genuine initiatives by Israel to secure lasting peace and a viable two-state solution that includes full freedom and democracy for the Palestinian people. We must show similar courage and commitment. We have obligations to our friends in struggle who stood beside us in trying times. We must never forget them. President Mandela began building links of solidarity in Africa and we must never waiver from this critical focus. Our programme of international policy and practice has been significantly strengthened by the 54th conference of the ANC,” she said. Pandor said that newly elected President Cyril Ramaphosa was determined to continue the leadership given by the struggle activists over decades to be part of the battle for a free Palestine.
Born and bred in Inanda, north of Durban she comes from a long line of academics and scholars who have been part of the liberation struggle for more than 100 years. She was appointed Minister of Education in 2004 having to oversee transformation of the classroom. In 2009 she was promoted to Minister of Home Affairs. Finally, in 2014, she became Minister of Science and Technology heralding the country to become a leading participant in the development of cutting-edge developments throughout the continent. Her grandfather was Z K Matthews, a teacher by profession and an anti-apartheid activist who went onto become the Cape President of the African National Congress. Her father, Joe Matthews was a leading lawyer and was in the front line of anti-apartheid campaigns. Married to Sharif Pandor, they have four children, Fazlur, Aisha, Suraya and Haroon.