Michael Mabuyakhulu holds an Honours Degree in Management and a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration from the University of Wales. He is currently working on his Masters in Business Administration. He had also completed an Advanced Business Programme (NQF 7) through the Durban University of Technology.
In 1982 Mabuyakhulu began his career as a Production Manager for Mintex on the north coast where he was elected as a President of Engineering Sector of the Metal and Allied Workers Union of South Africa. His effective leadership on the factory floor soon saw him taking up a full time position in the trade union movement. In 1984 he was appointed as the Regional Secretary of the powerful National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) in northern KwaZulu-Natal – the position he held until 1994.
As a trade unionist Mabuyakhulu developed a reputation as a tough negotiator and efficient administrator amongst businesses in Richards Bay on the north coast. His role in the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) saw him playing an increasingly active role in the African National Congress. Using his organizational skills from the trade union movement experience he was instrumental in securing the support of communities within and around Greater uMhlathuze area, and many parts of KwaZulu-Natal for the African National Congress.
During the 1980s Mabuyakhulu also played a leading role in the peace process in the province – being instrumental in facilitating political negotiations between the African National Congress and the Inkatha Freedom Party.
After the first democratic elections in 1994, he left the trade union movement and became a Member of the Provincial Legislature. Between 1994 and 1999 he was Convener of the ANC Caucus within the Economic Development and Tourism Portfolio Committee. He also served on the Public Accounts and Premier’s Portfolio Committees.
In 1999 he was appointed to the Cabinet of KwaZulu-Natal as MEC for Economic Development and Tourism – becoming the youngest Member of the Executive Council. He held this position until November 2002 when he was relieved of his duties by the then Premier of the province, Mr Lionel Mtshali. However, Mabuyakhulu was always recognized as an MEC “who gets things done” and during his term a number of the major economic projects within the province coming to fruition. He also led the process of securing the support of the National Cabinet for the establishment of the
Dube Trade Port as a logistics hub for the country. Today that multi-billion rand project has become a reality with the construction of this facility that features the industrial development zone and the state of the art King Shaka International Airport taking, taking place on the north of Durban to be ready for business prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
In 2003 he was appointed as MEC for Public Works and held this position until he became MEC for Finance and Economic Development after the 2004 elections. However, in November the same year he moved to Local Government, Traditional Affairs and Housing. Like in his previous portfolios, Mabuyakhulu demonstrated that he had broad shoulders to handle these two challenging departments.
With the economic portfolio expected to be at the centre of accelerating socio-economic transformation in the province and the country, the Premier, Dr Zweli Mkhize acknowledged Mabuyakhulu’s genius and excellent track record of delivery – hence he has entrusted him with this slightly altered Department of Economic Development & Tourism. Ironically, this portfolio included the tourism function when Mabuyakhulu first inherited it from the current President of the Republic, Mr Jacob Zuma who had then been redeployed to national government as Deputy President.
Born in the rural Ngwavuma in the far north of the province and residing in the Greater uMhlathuze on the north coast, Mabuyakhulu is married.