David Mabuza Biography: Age, Net Worth, Wife, Children, Nickname, Death, Parents

Posted By Johnson Ajiboye

David Mabuza is a South African politician who served as the deputy president of South Africa from 2018 to 2023.

He was also the deputy president of the African National Congress (ANC) from 2017 to 2022 and the premier of Mpumalanga from 2009 to 2018.

Known as “The Cat” for his political survival skills, Mabuza has been a controversial figure in South African politics, facing allegations of corruption, fraud, and involvement in political killings.


  • Full name: David Dabede Mabuza
  • Nickname: The Cat
  • Date of birth: August 25, 1960
  • Age: 63 years old
  • Gender: Male
  • Place of birth: Transvaal Province, Union of South Africa
  • Nationality: South African
  • Profession: Politician, teacher, philanthropist, anti-apartheid activist
  • Height: 1.75 m
  • Parents: Robert Mabuza and Norah Mabuza
  • Siblings: Mike Mabuza
  • Spouse: Nonhlanhla Patience Mnisi (current), Ruth Funi Silinda (div.)
  • Children: Four
  • Relationship status: Married
  • Net worth: R40 million

Early Life & Education

David Mabuza, or The Cat, will be 63 in 2023. He was born on August 25, 1960, in Transvaal Province, Union of South Africa.

He grew up in Brondal, a rural area in Mpumalanga, where his father was a farm worker, and his mother was a domestic worker.

He attended Khumbula High School, where he developed an interest in politics and joined the Azania Student Organisation (AZASO), a Black Consciousness movement.

He also became involved in the United Democratic Front (UDF), an anti-apartheid coalition, and the National Education Crisis Committee (NECC), a student-led organization that advocated for better education for black students.

Mabuza obtained a National Teacher’s Certificate from Mngwenya College of Education in 1985 and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Africa (UNISA) in 1989.

He worked as a teacher and a principal at various schools in Mpumalanga. Also, he served as the chairperson of the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU), an affiliate of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), from 1988 to 1991.

Personal Life

Mabuza has been married twice. His first wife was Ruth Funi Silinda, a former member of parliament and the daughter of ANC veteran Enos Mabuza.

They divorced in 2004 after 20 years of marriage. His current wife is Nonhlanhla Patience Mnisi, a former teacher and businesswoman. They have four children together.

Mabuza is a devout Christian and a Zion Christian Church (ZCC) member. He is also a philanthropist who has donated money and resources to various causes, such as education, health, and social development.

He has also supported the preservation of cultural heritage and the promotion of tourism in Mpumalanga.

Mabuza has faced several health challenges in his life. In 2014, he was allegedly poisoned by his political rivals and had to seek medical treatment in Russia.

He has since made several trips to Russia for follow-up care. In 2019, he underwent a routine medical check-up in Cuba, which sparked rumors about his health condition. He has also suffered from diabetes and hypertension.


Mabuza started his political career as a member of the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature in 1994, representing the ANC.

He held various positions in the Mpumalanga Executive Council, such as the MEC for Education, Housing, Roads and Transport, and Agriculture and Land Administration. He was also the provincial chairperson of the ANC from 2008 to 2017.

Mabuza was elected to the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) for the first time in 2007 and became a close ally of former president Jacob Zuma. He was appointed as the premier of Mpumalanga in 2009 and served for two terms until 2018.

During his tenure, he was accused of mismanaging the province’s finances, inflating the number of ANC members, and orchestrating political killings and intimidation against his opponents.

Mabuza was elected as the deputy president of the ANC in 2017 after he switched his support from Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to Cyril Ramaphosa at the last minute, in a move that was seen as decisive for Ramaphosa’s victory.

He was then appointed deputy president of South Africa in 2018 after Ramaphosa succeeded Zuma. He resigned from both positions in 2023, citing personal reasons.

As the deputy president, Mabuza was responsible for overseeing the government’s programs on HIV/AIDS, land reform, and service delivery.

He also led the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), the Moral Regeneration Movement (MRM), and the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC).

He was also the special envoy to South Sudan. He represented South Africa in various international forums, such as the African Union (AU), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the United Nations (UN).

Net Worth

Mabuza has an estimated net worth of R40 million.

He has earned his wealth from his political career and investments in various businesses, such as farming, mining, and tourism.


Mabuza died on April 5, 2023, at the age of 63, after suffering a heart attack at his home in Pretoria. He was rushed to the hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.

His death was announced by President Ramaphosa, who expressed his condolences to Mabuza’s family and friends and declared a state funeral for him.

He was buried at his ancestral home in Brondal, Mpumalanga, on April 10, 2023, after a memorial service at the Union Buildings.


Mabuza has been involved in several controversies throughout his political career, ranging from allegations of corruption, fraud, and involvement in political killings to disputes over land, tenders, and party leadership.

Some of the most notable controversies are:

  • In 1998, he was fired as the MEC for Education after being accused of inflating Mpumalanga’s matric pass rate from 44.7% to 72.9% in what was known as the “Mabuza scandal.”
  • In 2009, he was sued by businessman Fred Daniel, who claimed that Mabuza had orchestrated a campaign of violence and intimidation against him to take over his land and wildlife reserve in Badplaas. The courts dismissed the case, and Daniel was later sentenced to seven years for fraud and perjury.
  • In 2010, he was accused of being behind the assassination of ANC leader James Nkambule, who had exposed a list of alleged hitmen hired by Mabuza to eliminate his rivals. Mabuza denied the allegations and sued Nkambule’s family for defamation, but the case was never concluded.
  • In 2014, he was allegedly poisoned by his political rivals and had to seek medical treatment in Russia. He claimed that the poisoning was an attempt to stop him from exposing corruption and factionalism in the ANC.
  • In 2017, he was implicated in a book by journalist Rehana Rossouw, Predator Politics: Mabuza, Fred Daniel and the Great Land Scam, detailing his alleged role in the land scam and other corrupt activities in Mpumalanga. He dismissed the book as a fabrication and threatened to sue the author and the publisher.
  • In 2018, he was accused of buying votes and inflating the number of ANC members in Mpumalanga to secure his position as the deputy president of the ANC and the country. He denied the allegations and said he had increased the membership through a rigorous recruitment drive.
  • In 2019, he was questioned by the ANC Integrity Commission, which had identified him as one of the members who may have brought the party into disrepute. He was cleared by the commission, which said that there was no evidence of wrongdoing against him.
  • In 2020, he was sued by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA), which filed a criminal complaint against him and 13 other people and two businesses for allegedly being part of a criminal network that looted public funds and resources in Mpumalanga. He rejected the complaint as baseless and malicious.
  • In 2021, he was named by former Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter as the high-level politician who was involved in corruption and sabotage at the power utility. He denied the allegations and said he had supported De Ruyter’s efforts to clean up Eskom.

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