Mayor Gungubele holds both a BCom (Law) degree and a National Diploma in Nursing. He began his career as a teacher and also became involved in the workers struggles quite early on. In 1982 he became a member of the National Union of Mine Workers where he was able to hone his political skills. He was elected as Chairperson of COSATU local in 1989 and went on to be the founding Chairperson of ANC East Rand (Ekurhuleni) region. Between 1194 and 1997 he held many positions in local government, including being a member of the executive council for Gauteng Department of Health and the Gauteng Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture.
From 2004 to 2007 he was the chairperson of Economic Affairs Portfolio Committee in the Gauteng Legislature. In 2009 he was appointed Chief Whip at Justice and Constitutional Development Portfolio Committee. Since 2011 he has been the executive Mayor of Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality.