Mkhize has held various deputy Cabinet positions since returning from the Netherlands, where she was ambassador for South Africa from 2005 to 2008.
The former ANC Women’s League treasurer has been an MP since 2009 and is considered a champion for social justice, and women and children’s rights.
The 65-year-old has held some crucial positions in her academic, professional and political life, including being commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, vice-president of member states of the International Criminal Court at The Hague and the UN, and chair of Transparency International SA.
She was elected into the ANC national executive committee during the party’s 2007 conference in Polokwane.
She was the deputy minister of correctional services from May 2009 to June 2010, when she took over as deputy minister of higher education until 2012. She then became deputy minister of economic development, a position she held until she was moved to become deputy minister of telecommunications and postal services.
The former senior lecturer and researcher at Wits is seen as a someone who is loyal to President Jacob Zuma.
She is currently the convener of the Progressive Women’s Movement of SA, and chairs the peace commission of SA Women in Dialogue.