Dr Ngoako Ramahlodiwas born in Tauyatswala, small village near Polokwane, Limpopo Province. He is the former premeir of Limpopo.
Adv Ramatlhodi is the Minister of Mineral Resources of the Republic of South Africa, with effect from 26 May 2014. He has been a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the African National Congress (ANC) since 1991.
Adv Ramatlhodi was enrolled for post-matriculation studies at the University of the North from 1977 to 1979. He obtained a Bachelor of Jurisprudence (BJuris) from the National University of Lesotho (NUL) in 1984 and a Bachelor of Law from the NUL in 1986. In 1988, he obtained a Master of Science (MSc) in International Relations from the University of Zimbabwe and was admitted to the Bar of Lesotho as an advocate in 1997. In 2009, he was admitted to the Bar of South Africa and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Law Degree by the University of Limpopo.
Adv Ramatlhodi participated in many student activities while at the University of the North from 1977 to 1979. He is a founder member and first chairperson of the University of the North Arts and Drama Association and was Chairperson of the Central Cultural Committee, which served as the students’ only voice after the banning of the Students’ Representative Council (SRC).Adv Ramatlhodi was also a founder member of the Azanian Students’ Organisation, later known as South African Students’ Congress and a member of a team, which formed the Congress of South African Students.
He went into exile in Lesotho on 17 July 1980, where he continued with his studies. During this time he was involved in various student activities.
From 1981 to 1983, he was second secretary for the Committee of Action and Solidarity for South African Students. He was Secretary for Public and Foreign Affairs of the NUL SRC, responsible for liaison with external organisations, issuing statements on behalf of the SRC-coordinating public functions.
He was also a member of the NUL Admissions Committee from 1982 to 1983.
From 1983 to 1984, he was president of the NUL SRC. He was also a member of the University Council and the highest executive authority of the students’ union and was involved in negotiations with management and other structures of the NUL.
From 1986 to 1988, Adv Ramatlhodi was head of the ANC Regional Political and Military Council of the Zimbabwe Mission.
From 1990 to 1992, he was recalled to Zambia to become political secretary and speech writer for the then ANC President Oliver Tambo. In this capacity, he served as the secretary of the ANC Control Commission, a body responsible for the coordination of the entire liberation movement’s activities and served former President Nelson Mandela in the same capacity.
He returned to South Africa in June 1991 where he was employed by the University of the North as Deputy Registrar, Executive Assistant to the Rector and lecturer in Public International Law from 1992 to 1994.
From May 1994 to 22 April 2004, he was Premier of Limpopo for two full terms. He was also chairperson of the ANC in Limpopo from December 1991 to 1996.
From 1991 to date, Adv Ramatlhodi has been a member of the NEC of the ANC. In 2005, he led the ANC delegations to oversee the election process on the invitation of the Zimbabwe Government. From 2009 to 2010, he served as the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development, as well as Chairperson of the ANC cluster on Peace and Stability.
Adv Ramatlhodi was the Director of the ANC Policy Institute from 2004 until 2009, and he headed the ANC Elections Committee from 2008 to date. He also served as a member of the Judicial Service Commission from 2010 to date. Adv Ramatlhodi was Deputy Minister of Correctional Services from 1 November 2010 to 25 May 2014.