| Jay Naidoo |
(politician, trade unionist)
|Member of||WEF/Global Leaders for Tomorrow/1997|
|Party||African National Congress|
Anti-apartheid trade union leader, then Minister responsible for the Reconstruction and Development Programme in the first post-apartheid cabinet of President Nelson Mandela
Jayaseelan "Jay" Naidoo  is a South African politician and businessman who served as the founding general secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) from 1985 to 1993. He then served as Minister responsible for the Reconstruction and Development Programme in the first post-apartheid cabinet of President Nelson Mandela (1994–1996) and as Minister of Post, Telecommunications, and Broadcasting (1996–1999).
Naidoo was a member of the NEC of the African National Congress. He was at the forefront of the struggle against apartheid leading the largest trade union federation in South Africa.
Early life and education
Born in 1954, Naidoo enrolled at the University of Durban-Westville to study for a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in pursuance of a medical career in 1975 to be a medical doctor but his studies were interrupted by the political turmoil at the time because of student uprisings.
Naidoo became active in the South African Students' Organisation (SASO) that was banned in 1977 just after its leader Steve Biko was murdered in police detention. He then became a community-based organizer working with grassroots civic structures. He joined the Federation of South African Trade Unions as a volunteer in 1979. Naidoo was later appointed secretary general of the Sweet, Food and Allied Workers' Union (SFAWU). In this capacity, he led the country's largest ever nationwide strike with around 3.5 million participants in 1991, paralyzing factories and businesses across South Africa and leaving people without the basic services normally provided by black employees.
In 1995, Naidoo served on the selection panel appointed by President Mandela to interview and shortlist candidates for South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
From 2002 until 2015, Naidoo was chair of the board of directors and chair of the Partnership Council of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) headquartered in Geneva and launched at the 2002 UN Summit on Children as a public private partnership to tackle malnutrition facing 2 billion people in the world. He is the founder of the social development arm of an investment and management company, J&J Group, which he co-founded in 2000 in South Africa.
From 2001 to 2010, Naidoo served as chairperson of the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA).
In 2010, Naidoo reportedly sold off a third of his stake in J&J Group and donated the proceeds to two unnamed charitable trusts. He has published his autobiography, ‘Fighting for Justice’ and more recently published his book 'Change: Organising Tomorrow, Today.'
In 2013, at the request of the French Minister of Development, Pascal Canfin, Naidoo co-authored a report (with Emmanuel Faber) on reforming Official Development Assistance. That same year, he chaired an international inquiry into labour rights violations in Swaziland, alongside Alec Muchadehama, Paul Verryn and Nomthetho Simelane.
- Andrew England (August 26, 2012) Unions turn Marikana to political ends Financial Times.
- Bill Keller (May 12, 1994), Mandela Completes His Cabinet, Giving Buthelezi a Post New York Times.
- Christopher S. Wren (November 5, 1991), Strike by Blacks Paralyzes South Africa New York Times.
- Mfonobong Nsehe (August 5, 2011), Five Notable African Philanthropists Forbes.
- Labour meeting stopped by Swazi police The Citizen, September 6, 2013.