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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Moosa, Mohammed Valli

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Mohammed Valli Moosa was born in Johannesburg on February 8th 1957. His family were moved to Lenasia with the implementation of the Groups Areas Act in the early 1960s.

In 1971, at the age of 14 Moosa had his first taste of politics, when he was involved in the Republic Day burning of the national flag and the refusal to sing the National Anthem "Die Stem".

After being refused permission to attend the University of the Witwatersrand, Moosa enrolled at the University of Durban Westville where he obtained a BSc degree in Mathematics and Physics in 1978. It was here that he was introduced to politics (influenced by his older brother). He joined the Black Conciousness Movement (BCM) in 1976, becoming branch secretary of the Durban Westville branch. He was an executive member of the South African Students Organisation (SASO) when it was banned in 1977. After making the break from BCM, Moosa played an important role in the campaign against the establishment of the South African Indian Council. He became one of the founder members of the Transvaal Indian Congress (TIC) in 1983, and served on the executive committee.

When the UDF was launched in 1983 he was elected to the position of general secretary for the Transvaal region. He was also voted on to the national executive committee. According to Moosa, the formation of the UDF marked the beginning of the end of apartheid.

When Popo Molefe, the general secretary of the UDF was detained in 1985, Moosa became acting national general secretary.

Moosa was first detained in 1980, during the education boycotts, and in 1988 he served 14 months in detention before escaping, along with Morobe, Murphy (UDF), and Vusi Khanyile of the National Education Crisis Committee (NECC). They sought refuge in the US Consulate in Johannesburg. This move was planned to bring worldwide attention through the media to the plight of detainees in South Africa.

Moosa was detained again in 1989, and after his release was placed under house arrest. During the State of Emergency, says Moosa, when he was not in detention or in solitary confinement, he was on the run from the security police. In spite of this, he managed to carry out his duties for the UDF.

Once the UDF was disbanded in Valli was elected to the ANC's NEC and took over the negotiations portfolio in 1991. He represented the ANC on CODESA working group two which dealt with constitutional principles and the constitution making process. Thus it was a natural progression when he was made Deputy Minister of Constitutional and Provincial affairs. When Roelf Meyer resigned from his position of Minister, Valli Moosa was the obvious candidate for the post of Minister of Constitutional and Provincial Affairs. He took charge of the government's Masakhane Campaign.

Mohammed Valli Moosa enjoys jogging and listening to classical music. He is married to Elsabe Wessels, and has a young daughter, Kim.

After completing his term of office as the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism from 1999 to 2004, he has left formal politics.

Sources: Gastrow, S. 1995. Who's Who in South African Politics, Number 5. Ravan Press: Johannesburg.

Joyce, Peter: A Concise Dictionary of South African Biography (1999). Francolin : Cape Town.

Eds: Van Niekerk, Phillip & Ludman, Barbara: A Z of South African Politics 1999: The Essential Handbook. Penguin Books: Sandton.

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