Born in Johannesburg in 1949, matriculated from Johannesburg High School for Girls. Obtained a BComm from Unisa. Worked with the ANC in exile from 1970 to 1990. Returned to South Africa after the unbanning of the ANC and other political organisations in 1990, was part of the ANC’s information department (deputy secretary of information) and electoral team preparing for the 1994 and 1999 election campaigns.
Elected to the ANC’s National Executive Committee and National Working
Committee (1991-1999). Elected to Parliament in 1994 and chaired the Joint Standing Committee on Finance. Appointed Deputy Minister of Finance (1996-1999), and Deputy Governor of the South African Reserve Bank (1999-2004). 2004 Appointed Professor and held the chair of Policy, Leadership, and Gender at the Gordon Institute of Business Science till 2009; served as the executive chairperson of Western Areas gold mine; appointed non-executive chairperson of Absa Group (2007-2009).
Chaired a number of regulatory and advisory bodies including the Financial Services Board, and served as a non-executive director of a number of boards, including Gold Fields and Bidvest. At present serves as a non-executive director of Glencore and is the executive director of a non-profit educational organisation, the Knysna Initiative for Learning and Teaching (KILT). She also serves as an assistant commissioner on the judicial commission investigating alleged impropriety at the PIC.
Appointed Governor of the South African Reserve Bank 2009-2014, and in that capacity represented South Africa at meetings of various international bodies such as the Bank for International Settlements, the Financial Stability Committee, and the G20. Represented South Africa at the African Association of Central Banks and the CMA central bank committee. Chaired the SADC Central Bank Governors Committee (2009-2014).