Jessie Yasmine Duarte was born on the 19th of September in 1953, she is one of nine siblings. She grew up and went to school in Coronationville, she graduated in matric at the Coronationville Secondary School. She became actively involved in politics at a very early age and over the years she developed a reputation as an activist and an advocate for equality.
She was recruited by Mme Albertina Sisulu in 1979 to establish women's structures throughout the country, and by 1981 the ANCWL had nine (9) functioning women's structures in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape Transvaal and others. She was also serving at that time as the provincial secretary of the Federation of Transvaal Women (FEDSAW), which was a UDF Affiliate.
Comrade Jessie Duarte started her professional career as a Management Accountant at Anglo American Properties Limited, and later Raven Press. She was with the latter when she was served with a restriction order. During this period, she worked with Beyers Naude to setup and administer a scholarship fund to educate and skill ANC and UDF activists, a progressive crop of public servants.
She was detained without trial in 1988, released and placed under restriction orders until the State of Emergency was lifted. She was surfaced by the ANC in 1990 and appointed to the Interim Leadership Core.
Comrade Jessie Duarte was elected in 1990 to the Gauteng PEC which was chaired by comrade Tokyo Sexwale, the same leadership that formed the first government of the Gauteng province (1994- 1998). She served in this provincial cabinet as MEC for Safety and Security.
She was elected to the National Executive Council of the ANC in the 1999 conference, and she has been a member of the NEC ever since. She was also deployed in the Foreign Affairs Department as High Commissioner in Mozambique.
When she returned from international deployment she was appointed as the National Spokesperson of the ANC before being deployed as Chief Operations Officer in the Presidency, South African Government until she resigned in April 2010.
Comrade Jessie Duarte was elected Deputy Secretary General of the ANC at the 53rd National Conference in Mangaung, December 2012.
Current Position: Deputy Secretary General of the African National Congress, ANC (since 2012).
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