Makwetla was born in Bochabelo (Middelburg), Mpumalanga, South Africa on 18 May 1957. He matriculated from Mmabathoana High School in Maseru in 1977
Mr Makwetla obtained a Diploma in Public and Policy Development Administration (PPDA) from Wits Graduate School and a Diploma in Social Science from the Academy of Social Sciences in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Mr Makwetla was the Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans of the Republic of South Africa from 11 May 2009 to 25 May 2014. Before that he was Premier of Mpumalanga Province from 21 April 2004 to 10 May 2009
Mr Makwetla joined the South African Students Movement in 1974. He went into exile in 1976, where he joined Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK). He lived in different countries in Africa including Botswana, Angola, Lesotho and Zambia where he carried out various duties on behalf of the MK underground, until 1990.
Deputy Minister Makwetla served as Treasurer of the South African Communist Party (SACP), Botswana region from 1986 to 1988.
The 1990s and 2000s:
He returned to South Africa after political organisations were unbanned in 1990 and served as an executive member of the ANC Gender Commission in 1992; a member of the ANC Youth League (ANCYL), National Executive Committee and National Working Committee (NWC) from 1990 to 1994
He was a member of Parliament from 1994 to 2001.
Mr Makwetla served on/as:
The Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation from 1994 to 1996
The Portfolio Committee on Tourism and Environment from 1994 to 1996
The Joint Standing Committee on Defence from 1994 to 2001
Chairperson of the ANC Caucus from 1996 to 2001
The Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence from 1998 to 2001
The Standing Committee on Public Accounts from 2000 to 2001;
The Finance Committee from 2000 to 2001
The Ministerial Task Group on Civic Education in the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).
Mr Makwetla was elected to the ANC’s Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) in Mpumalanga Province in 2002 and has been the Chairperson of the African National Congress (ANC) in Mpumalanga Province since 2005. He was also a member of the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature from 2001 to 10 May 2009 and MEC for Safety and Security in Mpumalanga Province from 2001 to 2004. He is a former member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the African National Congress.