uMngeni Local Municipality
From: Mooi River, KZN
Primary School: Treverton Preparatory
High School: Hilton College (2009)
Tertiary: University of Pretoria (2013)
Bachelor of Town and Regional Planning
Career: Development Economist (Urban-Econ)
Operations Manager (Democratic Alliance)
Ward Councillor (eThekwini Metro)
Member (KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Legislature)
Mayor (uMngeni Municipality)
Graduate of the DA Young Leaders Programme Participant and speaker of the Summit for Democracy (White House Programme) Invited by the State Department to attend International Mayors delegation
Chris Pappas (31) was born in Pietermaritzburg. He grew up in Mooi River on a farm with his parents and younger sister. He attended Treverton Prep school and went on to matriculate at Hilton College in 2009. Chris spent much of his teen year in Howick. He proceeded to the University of Pretoria (UP) where he graduated in Town and Regional Planning. He got a distinction for his dissertation which was titled “Education Planning as tool for national development.”
Chris got involved in politics at UP. He joined Congress of the People (COPE) and was elected to the Student Representative Council (SRC) as the member for Academic Affairs. He later went on to serve as the interim SRC President.
Chris secured his first full time employment as a graduate in 2013. He was employed as a Development Economist where he predominantly worked on socio-economic impact studies for Independent Power Producers.
The Democratic Alliance in KwaZulu-Natal offered Chris a position as a support staff member. Chris was employed as an Operations Manager for the Durban South area (Chatsworth to uMkomaas). He later stood as a candidate for the Musgrave, Overport, and Sydenham area on Durban’s Berea. Chris was successfully elected as the youngest ward councillor at the time in eThekwini. In the eThekwini council Chris served on the Economic Development and Planning committee as well as the Town Planning Appeals Committee.
During his councillorship in eThekwini Chris was elected as the Chairperson of the DA's Central Durban Constituency. He also headed the 2019 election campaign for the metro which was the only metro where the DA increased its voter share. Chris was the DA's Deputy Leader in KwaZulu-Natal until the last congress in 2023 where he opted not to contest.
In 2019 Chris was elected as the youngest member of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature. He first served on the Agricultural Portfolio Committee and later went on to serve on the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs portfolio.
In 2021 he was elected at the first DA mayor in KwaZulu-Natal. He was part of the team that took the uMngeni Municipality from the ANC with a slip 42 votes giving the DA a one seat majority in council. He also serves as the Chairperson of the Executive Committee and the Economic Development and Planning Committee.
In 2022 Chris was invited by the US Statement Department as one of 6 mayors to participate in an International Leadership Programme aimed at strengthening democracy, advancing human rights and fighting corruption.
He is currently a participant in the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Class of 2024.
He has also just been selected by Times Magazine as one of the 100 next leaders in 2023.