Ebrahim Rasool


Ebrahim Rasool (born 15 July 1962)[1] is a South African politician and diplomat who served as the South African Ambassador to the United States from 2010 to 2015, as a Member of the National Assembly from 2009 to 2010, and as the 5th Premier of the Western Cape from 2004 to 2008. He is a member of the African National Congress and has held various leadership positions in the party.

Ebrahim Rasool
Ebrahim Rasool at the Pentagon July 25, 2012.jpg
Rasool in July 2012
South African Ambassador to the United States
In office
4 August 2010 – 23 February 2015
PresidentJacob Zuma
Preceded byWelile Nhlapo
Succeeded byM. J. Mahlangu
5th Premier of the Western Cape
In office
30 April 2004 – 25 July 2008
Preceded byMarthinus van Schalkwyk
Succeeded byLynne Brown
Personal details
Born (1962-07-15) 15 July 1962 (age 59)
Cape Town, Cape Province, South Africa
Political partyAfrican National Congress
Spouse(s)Rosieda Shabodien
Parent(s)Ismail and Aziza Rasool
Alma materUniversity of Cape Town

Early life and educationEdit

Ebrahim Rasool was born 15 July 1962 in District Six, Cape Town. When he was nine years old, he and his family were forcefully evicted from the area due to the apartheid government declaring the area a "Whites – only" residential suburb. His family relocated to Primose Park near Manenberg on the Cape Flats.[2]

Rasool matriculated from Livingstone High School in Claremont in 1980. He proceeded to study at the University of Cape Town and greduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1983, and a Higher Diploma in Education in 1984 from the university. During this period, he became involved in student politics. He was employed as a teacher at Spine Road High School in 1985.[2][3]

Political careerEdit

He soon became involved in the anti-apartheid movement. He held senior positions in the United Democratic Front and the African National Congress. He served prison sentences and was also frequently placed under house arrest. Between 1991 and 1994, he was an assistant to the Rector of the University of the Western Cape and the Treasurer of the ANC's provincial structure.[4]

Rasool was elected to the Western Cape Provincial Legislature in April 1994 following the country's first democratic election. He served as the MEC for Health and Social Services from 1994 to 1998. In 1998, he was elected Provincial Chairperson of the ANC. He was appointed as the MEC for Finance and Economic Development in 2001 and held this position until his appointment as the 5th Premier of the Western Cape in April 2004. Mcebisi Skwatsha succeeded him as Provincial Chairperson.[5][6]

On 14 July 2008, Rasool was recalled from the position of premier by the National Executive Committee of the ANC, as the ANC leadership had disapproved of him giving preference to the large Muslim and Cape Coloured populations in the Western Cape. The MEC for Economic Development and Tourism Lynne Brown was designated as his successor.[7][8]

Rasool then briefly worked as a special advisor to the President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, prior to him being elected a Member of the National Assembly in April 2009. President Jacob Zuma appointed him as South Africa's Ambassador to the United States in July 2010. He returned to South Africa in February 2015.[9]

In April 2018, the ANC National Head of Elections, Fikile Mbalula, announced Rasool as the party's Provincial Elections Head for the 2019 general elections. This move was seen as part of a campaign to have him return as Provincial Chairperson of the ANC. Following the elections, the ANC's support declined even further in the province. Rasool was elected as a Member of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament, but tendered his resignation to the incoming Speaker.[10][11][12]


Following the arrest of gang leader Quinton Marinus, or "Mr Big", Rasool and the then Western Cape Provincial Minister of Community Safety, Leonard Ramatlakane, started receiving death threats allegedly from the Chinese Triads. This led Ramatlakane to controversially spend R347,716 of public money on security improvements to his home.[13]

In 2010, before taking up his position as ambassador to the United States, an investigation was launched into allegations that Rasool was paying a political reporter in a mainstream newspaper to write articles that portrayed him favourably. The investigation stalled due to material witnesses refusing to cooperate with the investigation.[14]

Personal lifeEdit

Rasool is married to Rosieda Shabodien. They have two children together.[15]


  • Rasool, Ebrahim (Winter 2010). "South African Muslims Over Three Centuries: From the Jaws of Islamophobia to the Joys of Equality" (PDF). Arches Quarterly. 4 (7): 147–154.


  1. ^ Ebrahim Rasool, leader of the ANC in the Western Cape and premier of that province, is born.. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  2. ^ a b Ebrahim Rasool, South African History Online. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  3. ^ Ebrahim Rasool, The Love and Forgiveness Project. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  4. ^ Ebrahim Rasool Premier Western Cape Provincial Government, Wharton Cape Town. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  5. ^ Jordaan, Willem. Mbeki deals his premier cards, News24, Cape Town, 22 April 2004. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  6. ^ Rasool ousted as ANC Western Cape chairperson, Mail & Guardian, 12 June 2005. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  7. ^ Jika, Thanduxolo (17 January 2011). "Ebrahim Rasool explains why he was fired". News24. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  8. ^ "Lynne Brown sworn in as Western Cape premier". Mail & Guardian. 25 July 2008. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  9. ^ Ambassador from South Africa: Who is Ebrahim Rasool?, AllGov, 10 April 2011. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  10. ^ Davis, Rebecca.Ebrahim Rasool returns as ANC gets serious about reclaiming Western Cape, The Daily Maverick, 23 April 2018. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  11. ^ Whittles, Govan. Tainted, but Rasool’s back with a bang, Mail & Guardian, 26 April 2018. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  12. ^ Ebrahim Rasool declines Western Cape legislature seat, IOL, Cape Town, 22 May 2019. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  13. ^ Cape gangs: Targeting the untouchables, Mail & Guardian, 28 August 2007. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  14. ^ "'Brown envelope' probe dropped". SAPA. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
  15. ^ Adams, Sheena. W Cape premier tells of racism towards wife, IOL, 26 March 2005. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Welile Nhlapo
South African Ambassador to the United States
4 August 2010 – 23 February 2015
Succeeded by
Government offices
Preceded by Premier of the Western Cape
30 April 2004 – 25 July 2008
Succeeded by