Jessie Yasmine Duarte
JESSIE YASMINE DUARTE was born in Coronationville, where she grew up and completed her schooling. She became actively involved in politics at a very early age and over the years she developed a reputation as an activist and an advocate for equality. She was recruited by Mme Albertina Sisulu in 1979 to establish women's structures throughout the country, and by 1981 the ANCWL had nine (9) functioning women's structures in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Transvaal and others. She was also serving at that time as the provincial secretary of the Federation of Transvaal Women (FEDSAW), which was a UDF Affiliate.
Comrade Duarte started her professional career as a Management Accountant at Anglo American Properties Limited, and later Raven Press. She was with the latter when she was served with a restriction order. During this period, she worked with Beyers Naude to set up and administer a scholarship fund to educate and skill ANC and UDF activists, progressive crop of public servants. She was detained without trial in 1988, released and placed under restriction orders until the State of Emergency was lifted. Following the unbanning of the ANC in 1990, she was appointed to serve on the Interim Leadership Core.
Comrade Duarte was elected to the PEC of Gauteng in 1990 and served as MEC for Safety and Security in the first Gauteng government in 1994.
She was elected onto the National Executive Council of the ANC in 1999, and she has remained a member of the NEC since. Cde Duarte was also deployed in the Foreign Affairs Department and served as South Africa's High Commissioner to Mozambique. Upon her return from her international deployment, she was appointed as the national Spokesperson of the ANC before being deployed as a Chief Operations Officer in the country's Presidency in Pretoria until she resigned in April 2010.
Comrade Jessie Duarte was elected Deputy Secretary-General of the ANC at the 53rd National Conference in Mangaung in December 2012, a position she was re-elected to at the ANC's 54th National Conference in Nasrec in 2017.