MEC Nancy Sihlwayi, born on 22 September 1954 in the former Transkei is regarded as one of the most influential women political leaders in the Province. She boasts a Master’s Degree in Public Administration.
Nancy’s political activism and community development role began at a very young age from as early as 1961 when she was expelled from school for fighting against the establishment of the Transkei homeland. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, she participated in many underground structures as a student activist.
In 1984, Nancy was elected Treasurer of SASCO at the then University of Transkei now known as Walter Sisulu University of Technology. It was no surprise when she was expelled from the University for her involvement in student protests against apartheid. Due to her political activism, she was incarcerated for 6 months. In the same year, she was elected Chairperson of the United Workers’ Union (UWU) against PSA (National Party) union of workers before she was forced to flee her house in order to escape the Apartheid security police. She moved to Port Elizabeth and immediately became involved with the local ANC structures.
When the ANC was unbanned in 1990, she was elected ANCWL Branch Chairperson – Walmer Branch PE. In 1993, she was co-opted into the Regional Executive Committee of the ANCWL. She served the ANC tirelessly in the first democratic elections campaign where she was responsible for 8 wards in the Northern Areas.
In 1994, she was ANC’s nominee to the 1st Provincial Housing Board (Bhisho), and in the same year she was elected as a Councillor in the then PE TLC and subsequently the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality. She has served as the Deputy Executive Mayor in the Nelson Mandela Metro. In May 2014, Eastern Cape Premier, Phumulo Masualle called her to serve in the Provincial Executive Council as the MEC for Social Development.