Last minister sworn in to office

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pretoria - Paul Mashatile was last night sworn into office as Minister of Arts and Culture by Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo.

The ceremony took place in the West Wing of the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

Mashatile, who could not be sworn in on Monday at a ceremony conducted for other ministers as he first had to be sworn in as a Member of Parliament, replaces Lulu Xingwana, who has now moved to the portfolio of Women, Children and People with Disabilities in a Cabinet reshuffle announced by President Jacob Zuma on Sunday.

The former Gauteng Premier has been described as a young, energetic and charismatic leader, who is likely to appease the music industry.

"We know him as a leader who initiates projects, moving with people and I will not be surprised to see more development in this department during his tenure," said Executive Director at the Centre for Politics and Research, Prince Mashele.

Mashatile was an active member in the underground structures of the ANC and South African Communist Party (SACP) during the apartheid years. He was held for almost four years without trial and during that period went on a hunger strike for 18 days as part of a nationwide hunger protest.

In May, he was appointed Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, after serving as the Gauteng Premier. He was also MEC for Housing, Transport and Public Works as well as Safety.