Welcome, comrade Nomvula Mokonyane, welcome!

In 1999 I worked with Nomvula Paula Mokonyane as her spokesperson. On one occasion, she was interviewed on e.tv's 3rd Degree with Deborah Patta and Jon Qwelane.

In 1999 I worked with Nomvula Paula Mokonyane as her spokesperson. On one occasion, she was interviewed on e.tv's 3rd Degree with Deborah Patta and Jon Qwelane.

Mokonyane, at that time, was the political head of the department of safety and liaison in Gauteng.

Patta, Qwelane and the programme producers had duped us into believing this was to be a live interview.

The interview was subsequently flighted a few days later, obviously edited to suit the TV station's agenda.

In that edited interview our department, and Mokonyane in particular, were portrayed as incompetent, selfish and careless. Mokonyane was depicted as having failed to come to the rescue of a victim of rape and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Immediately after the programme - at Mokonyane's insistence - she, together with head of department Ayanda Dlodlo, departmental communications director Mongezi Mnyani, had a meeting at our Johannesburg offices to set the record straight.

With Mokonyane in charge, we sniffed in every hole and searched every corner for the truth. We called every police officer involved in the case.

The following day, with Mokonyane in the lead, we went on a relentless campaign, talking on radio stations and writing to newspapers' letters pages.

We exposed the TV station for its hypocrisy and for twisting the facts to suit its line of thinking and - above all - for practising cheque-book journalism.

We were thorough and were finally vindicated and exonerated, thanks to the hands-on approach displayed by this 46-year-old woman from Kagiso in Mogale City. She's a true leader who leads from the front.

Mokonyane is as tough as nails. She is a graduate of the street politics of the early 1980s.

She's been in and out of jail for her beliefs and commitment to the ideals of the ANC, her political home. Mokonyane is a real cadre of the movement.

She's a hard worker and is passionate about her work. As I remember, Mokonyane starts her day as early as 5am and will still be up at midnight.

She would sometimes take over my role and become her own spokes-person , handling media probes like a true professional.

I have seen Mokonyane, a married mother of three, cry.

A policeman had been shot dead in Vosloorus, Ekurhuleni, and she had paid the family a visit to offer her condolences.

The young wife in the corner in the kitchen had suddenly become a widow and a three-month-old baby boy had been turned into an orphan - by a criminal's bullet.

Mokonyane is strong-willed, courageous and can take the proverbial bull by the horns.

As the new premier of Gauteng, we have the right person, a loving mother to us all, a fighter for the downtrodden, a believer in justice, order and peaceful coexistence.

Welcome, comrade Nomvula!

X