Ebrahim Patel

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Person.png Ebrahim Patel  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(politician, trade unionist)
Ebrahim Patel.jpg
District Six, Cape Town
NationalitySouth African
Alma materUniversity of Cape Town
Member ofWEF/Global Leaders for Tomorrow/1994
PartyAfrican National Congress
Trade union anti-apartheid activist. Selected a Global Leaders for Tomorrow by the WEF in 1994. As Minister for Trade, Industry and Competition he was one of the main administrators of the waves of lockdowns that shut down most activities in the country from March 23, 2020 onward.[1]

Ebrahim Patel[2] is a South African trade union leader and cabinet minister. He was previously Minister of Economic Development from 2009 to 2019. As Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition he was one of the main administrators of the waves of lockdowns that shut down most activities in the country from March 23, 2020 onward[3]

He was selected a Global Leader for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum in 1994.


A textile worker, Ebrahim Patel's mother was the family's the sole bread winner. Patel graduated from his high school in 1979 as one of the top ten nationally. He received a scholarship that enabled him to study. In 1980 he began his higher education at the University of the Western Cape. During his student days, he led numerous campaigns, including a boycott campaign against pasta manufacturers and a nationwide protest campaign by students in 1980.

He was subsequently arrested and released without charge after several months.

After further anti-apartheid campaigns in 1981, he was imprisoned for violating the Terrorism Act and later released without charge.

In 1982 he was employed as a researcher in the School of Economics at the University of Cape Town, from where he graduated shortly thereafter.

He continued to be active in anti-apartheid campaigns, for example as a participant in the inaugural meeting of the United Democratic Front, where he served on the Resolutions Committee. He also took part in the debates that led to the founding of the Cosatu trade union federation. He subsequently served as General Secretary of the National Union of Textile Workers, which merged into the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union of South Africa in 1987 and into the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers Union (SACTWU) in 1989[4], where became Secretary General. In 1993 he was involved in preparing the ANC's manifesto for South Africa's first free elections.


Patel has been a member of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) faction in the National Assembly since 1994. He was a member of the governing body of the International Labor Organization(ILO), where he contributed to numerous policy programs such as the Global Employment Agenda and the Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalisation.

After the election of Jacob Zuma as the new President of South Africa, he was appointed Minister for Economic Development in the Zuma Cabinet on May 10, 2009. The office was newly created at that time[5].

During this time, like other ministers, he was invited to private meetings by the Gupta family, but said he always declined.[6]

Patel was also a member of next Zuma cabinet, which was in office from 2014 to 2018. President Cyril Ramaphosa then also appointed him to his cabinet. In the Ramaphosa II cabinet formed in 2019, the Ministry of Trade and Industry was dissolved, leaving Patel as Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Industry.

In 2020, Patel wanted to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic by dictating what clothes can be sold despite restrictions.

Other relevant positions

He was nominated by President Mandela to serve on the Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC) during its first term. He was on a number of other public bodies, including the Council for Higher Education (CHE), the Council of the University of Cape Town (UCT), the governing Board of the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and the board of Proudly SA. He was a labour representative on the Presidential Working Group and on the business-labour Millennium Labour Council (MLC). He has been an executive council member of Nedlac since its formation in 1995. He was also on a joint committee of the Judicial Services Commission and Nedlac to interview applicants for posts to the Labour Court and Labour Appeal Court.[7]

He was named as one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world today in a major public report compiled by Georgetown University and the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, Jordan.


Events Participated in

WEF/Annual Meeting/201323 January 201327 January 2013World Economic Forum
2500 mostly unelected leaders met to discuss "leading through adversity"
WEF/Annual Meeting/201422 January 201425 January 2014World Economic Forum
2604 guests in Davos considered "Reshaping The World"
WEF/Annual Meeting/201521 January 201524 January 2015SwitzerlandAttended by a lot of people. This page lists only the 261 "Public Figures".
WEF/Annual Meeting/201620 January 201623 January 2016World Economic Forum
Attended by a lot of people, both leaders and followers
WEF/Annual Meeting/201717 January 201720 January 2017World Economic Forum
2951 known participants
WEF/Annual Meeting/201922 January 201925 January 2019World Economic Forum
WEF/Annual Meeting/202021 January 202024 January 2020World Economic Forum
This mega-summit of the world's ruling class and their political and media appendages happens every year, but 2020 was special, as the continuous corporate media coverage of COVID-19 started more or less from one day to the next on 20/21 January 2020, coinciding with the start of the meeting.


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