Mluleki Mbhele is a passionate trade unionist and political activist who is currently the SAMWU’s First Deputy President. He has a strong interest in workers’ rights and has served at the forefront of advocating for better working conditions, fair treatment, and enhanced benefits for municipal workers throughout the country.

His educational background, as well as years of political involvement, have inspired his vision and goal for SAMWU, which aims to develop a strong and united union that fights for its members’ rights and well-being.

He was born in Creighton, Kwa-Zulu Natal, and became involved in activism and the labor movement at a young age. He began his quest for education and self-improvement after graduating from Thela Muva High School in 2005.

Mbhele earned a Paramedic certificate from the Academy of Emergency Medical Training in 2006, giving him crucial abilities in emergency medical care. He continued his study by obtaining an NQF Level 5 qualification in disaster management from the University of South Africa (UNISA) in 2013 and a qualification in Local Government and Development Management from MANCOSA in 2016.

Mbhele earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Disaster and Safety Management from Lyceum College in 2019. He is currently in the process of completing his Post-Graduate in Risk Management. Mbhele’s political journey began in 2005 when he became a member of the African National Congress (ANC) Youth League, inspired by a desire for social change and community development. He quickly advanced through the ranks, serving as the ANC Youth League branch chairperson at the Mpumelelo Branch from 2006 to 2009.

He was later elected Treasurer of the Ingwe sub-region in 2010, reaffirming his commitment to fighting for workers’ rights. He continued to show his loyalty to the Mass Democratic Movement. Over the years, he held numerous roles, including serving as the ANC branch chairperson in 2013 and again in 2019. In 2022, Mbhele was elected as a Regional Executive Council members of the ANC Harry Gwala Region.

Mbhele was first elected as a SAMWU Shopsteward at the Harry Gwala District Municipality. He quickly rose through the ranks of the Union and was later in 2012 elected as the Regional Chairperson of SAMWU in the South Coast Region. Mbhele’s term as Regional Chairperson was characterised by his continuous efforts to raise people, improve working conditions, and guaranteeing that workers’ views were heard, thus demonstrating his leadership abilities and dedication to the union’s objective. The KZN Provincial structure of the Union delegated Mbhele as a delegate to the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the Union from 2013 t0 2016.

At the Union’s 12th National Congress held in Mahikeng, North West, Mbhele was elected SAMWU 1st Deputy President, a position he currently holds. Mbhele’s assertive plan for SAMWU is the committed to orienting the Union to fulfil its objectives. His principal goal is to see the Union grow and increase its membership to 200,000. Mbhele believes that by increasing the Union’s membership, workers’ collective bargaining strength will be increased.

He is committed to sustaining the founding ideals of SAMWU, which includes democratic centralization, worker control, accountability and collaborative leadership. Mbhele believes in the efficacy of a militant strategy to fight for workers’ rights, advocating for a firm and uncompromising attitude on labor-related issues.

Mbhele understands the need for education, particularly for young workers and shopstewards. in developing a thorough understanding of communism and its relation to the labor movement. He envisions a future in which young workers are well-educated, empowered, and actively involved in determining the direction of the SAMWU. Mbhele envisages the improvement of training for shopstewards and organiser. He hopes to develop a stronger and more effective union capable of defending workers.

Mbhele believes in the potential of young workers. Quoting Frantz Fanon, who said, “Every generation discovers its mission, they can fulfill it or betray it,” Mbhele adds that Young Workers have a role to play in shaping the Union’s direction. He encourages Young Workers to fulfill their generational mission. Mbhele’s unrelenting commitment to workers’ rights, along with his considerable academic background and political experience, makes him a formidable leader within SAMWU.

He is dedicated to ensuring that SAMWU continues at the forefront of pushing for municipal workers’ rights and well-being through his vision for expansion, militancy, and educational empowerment.

As SAMWU 1st Deputy President, Mbhele is responsible for the Unions’ campaigns. He believes that through campaigns, the Union will be better equipped to better the lives of members and communities at large.