Our Council

Council Members

National Heritage Council Members for the period of 2014/15 to 2016/2017

Members appointed by the Minister of Arts and Culture in terms of section 5(1)(a) of the National Heritage Council Act, 1999 and Provincial Representatives




Dr Malusi Marcus Balintulo   Chairperson (Ministerial appointment)
Ms Wawa Damane Deputy Chairperson (Ministerial appointment)
Mr Freddy  Vonani Bila Member (Ministerial appointment)
Dr Mirriam Gaokgatlhe Tawane Member (Ministerial appointment)
Adv Sanet Botha Provincial Rep: Western Cape
Mr Lentikile Bheki Pelele Provincial Rep: North West
Chief Livhuwani Matsila Provincial Rep: Limpopo
Mr Mlawu Tyatyeka Provincial Rep: Eastern Cape
Ms Palesa Kadi Provincial Rep: Gauteng
Mr Moses Themba Makhweyane Provincial Rep: Mpumalanga
Ms Karabo Rapoo Chairperson: Ditsong Museums
Prof Susan Bouillon Chairperson: SAHRA
Mr Jabulani Sithole (resigned January 2017) Provincial Rep: KZN

Chief Executive Officer


Born in Mthatha, Advocate Sonwabile Mancotywa is the first and current Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Heritage Council (NHC) serving his third term.   He is nationally acclaimed for his devotion to heritage matters.  

As an activist and progressive cultural worker at the University of Transkei where he read for his B. Juris and LLB degrees graduating in 1990 and 1993 respectively, he served in the Student Representative Council (SRC).  With the help of his fellow students he asserted himself as a student leader, also serving as deputy chairperson of the Juridical Society and founder of the then highly popular Unitra Cultural Society (UCULSO).   Before his university career, he had served in one of the most effective clandestine structures of the liberation movement which engaged the Transkei regime by heightening the levels of political consciousness in the bantustan.  Highly politicised, he swelled the ranks of the Umtata Youth Congress (UMTAYCO), SANSCO and later leading the re-establishment of the ANC Youth League and ANC structures after the unbanning of the liberation movements.  He exhibited the same vigour and foresight when called upon to lead the over-board structures of the movement.  His strength lies on discipline, tolerance and personal drive. 

He later obtained a certificate in Management Practice and Legal Practice.  He completed his Management Advanced Programme with the University of the Witwatersrand Business School in 2005.  He is an admitted Advocate of the High Court of South Africa.  His expertise and knowledge transcend the heritage sector to include law, executive management and policy analysis.  He was part of the team that initiated the Africa Position Paper which was later adopted by the 29th Session of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, hosted for the first time in South Africa in 2005. 

He draws most of his ideological and critical outlook from his membership and leadership of the ANC which he served in the Eastern Cape as a Member of the Executive Council (MEC), Member of the Provincial Legislature (MPL) and as a Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) Member.  He is amongst the first young cabinet members in the new dispensation having assumed that responsibility at the age of 29.  He is well trained in the democratic exchange of ideas and has been part of the discursive engagement pre and post liberation.  He has commented extensively on political, economic and cultural challenges facing South Africa and the continent.

He brings his distinctive flair, creativity and passion to the heritage sector. Some of the ground-breaking projects pioneered by Adv. Mancotywa are the following:

  • Heritage Transformation Charter;
  • Research on early African intellectuals;
  • The Liberation Heritage Route;
  • Ubuntu Honour; and the
  • Heritage Impact Study

Critical programmes which he has led include the African World Heritage Fund, African Liberation Heritage Programme, World Heritage Listing, and the highly successful SATMA musical awards.  Through his leadership of the Heritage CEO’s Forum, he made tremendous contributions in the policy and legislation discourse. 

He has travelled extensively throughout the world representing South Africa.  Worth mentioning are official visits to Russia, China, Columbia, Ethiopia, Canada, USA, Botswana, Tanzania, France, Senegal, Greece, Germany, Cambodia etc. He was part of the Ministerial delegation to the Brics meeting in Russia. Annually he represents South Africa in the UNESCO World Heritage Committee meetings under the auspices of the United Nations which rotate country by country.   

He has served on several boards including the Gauteng Premier’s Excellence Awards, National Lottery Board’s Distribution Agency, Gauteng Provincial Gambling Board and the Gauteng Liquor Board.

He was appointed by the Minister of Arts and Culture to Co-Chair the Ministerial Task Team on the Transformation of the Heritage Landscape following the #Rhodesmustfall campaign by students across South Africa.

He has also led the following ground-breaking legacy projects:

  • Research on the history of Mpumalanga which influenced the Provincial Growth and Development Strategy positioning heritage as a strategic economic resource; and
  • Research for the Home of Legends campaign, conducted by the NHC on behalf of the Eastern Cape Office of the Premier.

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