Sipho M Pityana is a businessman and chairperson of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC).
A former Director General in the formative years of a democratic South Africa in the departments of Labour and later Foreign Affairs, he played an important role in laying the foundations to our democratic constitutional order - introducing the labour reforms that changed the face of South Africa's labour relations system and labour markets.
This included establishing important institutions of social dialogue such as NEDLAC, the Millenium Labour Council (MLC), CCMA and various collective bargaining institutions. In this regard, he represented government in various international forums including the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
As Director General for Foreign Affairs, he played an important part in developing NEPAD, the UN Millenium Development Goals (now the Sustainable Development Goals) transitioning of the OAU to the AU, and organising the UN World Conference Against Racism and the World Summit on Sustainable Development. He drove an agenda under President Thabo Mbeki for Africa centered foreign policy and the development of a professional diplomatic service. In this capacity, as the country's top diplomat, he represented the country at various international fora including the UN, SADC, AU, Commonwealth and bilateral interactions.
Mr Pityana, who holds a BA (Hons) in Government and Sociology from University of Essex, an MSc in Politics and Sociology from the University of London and a DTech (Honorary) VUT, has a strong record of involvement in academia including his tenure as the Academic Registrar and Special Assistant to the Vice Chancellor of the University of Fort Hare. In 1992 he published a book Beyond the Factory Floor - the first-ever survey of COSATU shopstewards. He has published and presented papers on a wide range of social science subjects. He is the Chairperson of the Council of the University of Cape Town and previously served as the Chairperson of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, on the Board of the HSRC and editorial board of various local and international publications.
Mr Pityana joined the private sector in 2002 as an Executive Director of Nedcor Investment Bank. He serves as non-executive chairman of Munich Re-Insurance, chairman of Onelogix, chairman of Anglo Gold Ashanti, and is a former director of Afrox, Scaw Metals and Aberdare Cables. He is also founder and chairman of Izingwe Capital – a black-owned investment group. He is a member of various business organisations including Business Leadership South Africa.
He has a long history of political activism and suffered detention without trial, torture and banning orders during the 1970s. A former student activist and trade unionist, he became a member of the African National Congress (ANC) and South African Congress on Trade Unions (SACTU) in the late 1970s. He went into exile in Britain and held various positions in the ANC including being the regional secretary of the ANC in the UK & Ireland. In his ten years in exile, he served the liberation movement in its international programme of mobilising the international Anti-Apartheid Movement. He travelled the world garnering the support for both the ANC and the trade union movement including addressing international bodies such as the ILO and the UN Human Rights Commission.
In 1989 he became co-ordinator of the Nelson Mandela International Reception Committee, and returned to South Africa in 1991.
He spends most of his time today campaigning to ensure that the great promise of our democratic constitution is a lived reality that transforms the lives of all South Africans.