KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Finance, Ms Neliswa Peggy Nkonyeni is a seasoned politician having joined the African National Congress at a very young age. She's also a long serving member of the
African National Congress. She has served various leadership structures including that of being the Treasurer of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal. She was the first Chairperson of the ANC Women's League in her region. She has now been recently appointed to the Provincial Task Team of the ANC Women's League.
MEC Nkonyeni hails from Gamalakhe Township, which is located in the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast, and it is where she cut her political teeth as a young activist.
She is an educator by profession having obtained her qualification from Eshowe College of Education.
MEC Nkonyeni has undertaken further studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She is currently registered for a Master's Degree in the same institution (Witswatersrand).
She has previously served as KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Health and MEC for Education as well as Speaker of the Provincial Legislature.
Her other Legislature deployments have included chairperson of committees and chairperson of the women's caucus.
In May 2019, she returned from her deployment to the National Assembly to a seat in the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Legislature.
On 27 May 2019, former Premier Sihle Zikalala appointed her to the portfolio of MEC for Human Settlements and Public Works.
In the on 09th of March 2021, she was appointed by the then Premier Zikalala to assume the position of MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison where she became the first female to lead this portfolio in the province. During her tenure she pioneered a number of programmes that are aimed at improving both road conditions and ensuring safety in the province. Her brainchild programme dubbed Operation Vala'Amapotholes saw the programme being adopted by the National Department of Transport and being introduced in all 9 nine provinces as Operation Valazonke. She has a deep commitment to the eradication of poverty, inequality and unemployment and the overall transformation of the society.
In response to the devastating floods that hits many parts of the province, MEC Nkonyeni launched Operation Siyazenzela. The programme aimed at maintaining the road infrastructure using own staff and equipment to do minor repairs.
In her efforts of fighting crime she launched the programme of recruiting young graduates (law and researchers) to work with the Department of Community Safety and Liaison.
On another move by the newly appointed Premier of the Province, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, to stabilise provincial coffers, on the 11th of August 2022, MEC Nkonyeni was appointed as the MEC for Finance and Provincial Treasury. She comes with her vast experience on the public sector that will bring about stability and ensures that public funds are utilised in a proper manor. Her focus will be on ensuring that the Department of Finance maintains its position of being one of the best run departments having obtained 14 consecutives clean audits. She will work tirelessly to ensure that other government departs, municipalities and public entities also receives clean audits. She will also drive vigorous campaigns of ensuring that the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) and the general public have a better understanding about their finances and the responsible ways of spending.
MEC Nkonyeni is the Operation Sukuma Sakhe Champion for Ilembe District and a strong proponent of the District Development Model, which is aimed at fast-tracking service delivery and ensuring that municipalities are adequately supported and resourced to carry out their mandate.
She is an advocacy for the development of rural communities and empowerment of women, youth and people with disabilities as well as military veterans across all sectors.