|Fikile April Mbalula|
|Minister of Sport and Recreation|
1 November 2010
|Preceded by||Makhenkesi Stofile|
8 April 1971 |
Adelaide, Eastern Cape
|Political party||African National Congress|
Fikile Mbalula (born 8 April 1971 in the Free State) is the Minister of Sport and Recreation in the Cabinet of South Africa, a former deputy minister of police, a member of the national executive committee of the African National Congress and former leader of the African National Congress Youth League.
Mbalula was appointed deputy minister of police in the cabinet of Jacob Zuma in May 2009 and is now the minister of sport and recreation after President Jocob Zuma changed his cabinet after lobbying from the ANC Youth League and possibly as a reward for loyalty towards Zuma, according to media speculation.
Mbalula was elected to the ANC NEC at the party's Polokwane conference in December 2007 in 15th place, measured in number of votes. He subsequently retired as president of the ANC Youth League of which, at age 36, he was no longer eligible to be a member.
Mbalula was elected president of the ANC Youth League in August 2004, having previously held the post of secretary general.
Mbalula has been credited with installing South African President Thabo Mbeki in that position, and for later deposing him as head of the ANC. His support has also been described as key in gaining Zuma the ANC presidency in a hard-fought race with Mbeki.
Apart from politics, he is an ardent supporter of the Kaizer Chiefs Football Club based in Naturena.
Known for his flowing speaking style, Mbalula has several times made headlines with controversial statements. In June 2007 he likened the University of KwaZulu-Natal to Bombay, saying black students were left on the periphery while those of Indian descent swelled the ranks.
In December 2007, amid rising tensions in the run-up to the ANC's Polokwane conference, Mbalula wrote a letter to finance minister Trevor Manuel calling him arrogant and an "attention-seeking drama queen". This followed Manuel dismissing Mbalula as a "self-appointed spokesperson of the national democratic revolution".
In April 2008 Mbalula said that Barney Pityana, rector of the University of South Africa had "made a clown of himself by his overzealous confusion and comical postulations" after Pityana expressed criticism of Zuma.
He also once at a public meeting (in the presence of the media) chanted the Springboks rugby team on, ahead of their overseas tour, with the words "Donner hulle...bliksem hulle", to which the audience of supporters erupted in cheers.
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