Mr Martins has been a member of the Black Consciousness Movement in 1970s and he has worked for the Community Care Centre and Edenvale Ecumenical Centre in Pietermaritzburg from 1977 to 1983; African National Congress (ANC) and South African Communist Party (SACP).
He travelled to Botswana and Lesotho many times between 1979 and 1983; where he has to meet with Wally Serote, Tim Williams and others who were living in exile from 1979 to 1983. And in 1978 he was charged and acquitted for producing banned Steve Biko T-shirt; and in 1979 he joined ANC and later became a member of Umkhnto we Sizwe (MK). Between 1983 and 1991 he was charged and imprisoned for eight years in Robben Island and Johanessburg. He was again arrested and kept in solitary confinement and tortured for seven months in 1983.
Prior to his appointment as Minister of Transport; Mr Martins was Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises of the Republic of South Africa from 1 November 2010 to 12 June 2012.