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17 May 2007

The Chief Whip

Chief Whip Prema Naidoo
Chief Whip Prema Naidoo
The Chief Whip's role is to maintain cohesion within the governing party and to build relationships with other political parties. Other tasks include:
  • making sure that each of the political parties are properly represented on the various committees;
  • maintaining sound relations between the various political parties; and
  • attending to disputes between political parties.


Prema Naidoo
Prema Naidoo got involved in politics from a very young age and maintained his involvement until liberation in 1994.  During the late 1960s and 1970s he played an important role in supporting detainees and families of struggle veterans and actively pursued political work through the Human Rights Committee.  In 1981-1982, he was detained for links to underground networks and severely tortured.  He was then sentenced to 1 year imprisonment, along with Shirish Nanabhai, for assisting in the escape of political prisoner Steven Lee. 

Shortly after his release in 1983, he was elected in the Executive of the revived Transvaal Indian Congress (TIC) and played a key role in a number of formations linked to the United Democratic Front (UDF).  Naidoo was detained after attending a funeral of Matthew Goniwe and others in Cradock with the onset of the first state of emergency.  He remained in detention for almost the entire duration of the first emergency (about 8 months).  During the second state of emergency (1986-1989), Prema was in hiding for a long period of time.

After the demise of apartheid, Naidoo’s main preoccupation has been towards building a united, non-racial and democratic South Africa.  He has done so through active political and community work. After 1994 he was elected as a councillor in the City of Johannesburg.

Joburg Growth and Development Strategy 2040: GovernanceHe variously served as Mayor of the South-Western Substructure of Greater Johannesburg (1994-1995) and as Chairperson of the Executive Committee of the Southern Metropolitan Local Council (1995-2000).  Thereafter, Mayor Amos Masondo appointed him as the MMC for Health (2000-2006) and then as the MMC for Environmental Management (2006-2009). Currently he is the Chief Whip of Council within the City of Johannesburg’s Legislature.

Naidoo also serves on the board of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation.

Over the years that he served as a Councillor at the City, he has received numerous commendations and awards of recognition from the City of Johannesburg. He has also been the recipient of the following awards: 
(1992) Indicator Newspaper Human Rights Award – awarded to the Naidoo family.
(2004-present) Vice Chairperson of the Gandhi Centenary Committee.
(2005) African National Congress (ANC) National Sol Plaatje Award for Best Branch – received award on behalf of the ANC Lenasia Branch at National Conference in Cape Town.
(2006) Gandhi Remembrance Organisation Award.
(1994-present) South African Government Special Pension for Veterans of the Struggle (2008) African National Congress (ANC)
Lenasia Branch for outstanding contribution to the community – awarded jointly with Mrs Kamala Naidoo (wife)
(2008) received the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award from the government of India.

Naidoo lives in Lenasia and is married to Kamala and has two sons, Kuben and Duggie.

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Last Updated on 16 July 2015