Dr Lulu Gwagwa has a Masters degree in Town and Regional Planning from the University of Natal, an MSc (cum laude) from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a PhD from University College, London. She worked as a town planner in various capacities from 1981 to 1988. She was appointed a senior lecturer at the University of Natal in 1991. In 1995 Lulu was appointed as Deputy Director General in the national Department of Public Works to establish the National Public Works Programme. Amongst her responsibilities was to initiate the transformation of the construction industry and the establishment of the emerging contractor development programme. Lulu completed a five-year term as CEO of Independent Development Trust ("IDT") in 2003, where she was tasked with the transformation of the IDT from a grant-making to an implementation-management agency. Bu the time she left, the IDT had a programme portfolio of over a billion rand and had been appointed by Cabinet to support government in coordinating and implementing the Integrated Sustainable Rural Development Programme.
Lulu has also served on various government commissions, including the Commission for the Delineation and Demarcation of Provincial Boundaries and the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Local Government Transformation. She serves as a non-executive director on boards of the FirstRand, Massmart, Ethics Institute of South Africa, Sun International and is the Chairperson of Tsebo Outsourcing. She is a fellow of the Africa Leadership Initiative, and she was a finalist in the 2001 Nedbank Business Women of the Year awards.
Lulu is a member of the Gauteng Planning Advisory Council. She is the founder and chairperson of Mhakazi Trust that supports youth in KwaZulu Natal.
Dr Gwagwa is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Lereko Investments.