Previously the Premier of Gauteng, Minister Sexwale also sat on the Board of Directors for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and was a member of the World Cup 2010 Preparatory Committee. He is a member of Brookings Institution's International Advisory Council, chairman of Mvelaphanda Holdings (Pty) Limited and Mvelaphanda Group Limited, Northam Platinum Limited and Trans Hex Group Limited and is a director of ABSA Group Limited and Gold Fields Limited.
Minister Sexwale became a member of Steve Biko's Black Consciousness Movement in the late 1960s and became a local leader of the radical South African Students' Movement. In the early 1970s, he joined the African National Congress' armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe ("spear of the nation").
While in Swaziland, he completed a Certificate in Business Studies at the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. In 1975, Sexwale went into exile, undergoing military officers' training in the Soviet Union, where he specialised in military engineering.
On his return to South Africa in 1976, Sexwale was captured and, along with 11 others, was charged and later convicted of terrorism and conspiracy to overthrow the government. He was sent to the Robben Island maximum-security prison to serve an 18-year sentence. While imprisoned at Robben Island, he studied for a BCom degree at the University of South Africa.
After his release in June 1990, Sexwale returned to Johannesburg, where he served as head of the public liaison department of the ANC Headquarters. He was subsequently appointed the head of special projects, reporting to the ANC's military headquarters. In September 1990, he was elected to the executive committee of the ANC in the Pretoria-Witwatersrand-Vereeniging region and in 1991, he became chairperson of the ANC in the region.