Fikile Mbalula

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The Honourable
Fikile April Mbalula
Minister of Sport and Recreation
Assumed office
1 November 2010
Preceded by Makhenkesi Stofile
Personal details
Born (1971-04-08) 8 April 1971 (age 45)
Adelaide, Eastern Cape
Political party African National Congress

Fikile Mbalula (born 8 April 1971[1] 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[2] after lobbying from the ANC Youth League[3][4] and possibly as a reward for loyalty towards Zuma,[5] according to media speculation.

In the 2009 general elections he was the manager of the ANC election campaign, which was considered highly successful.[6]

Mbalula was elected to the ANC NEC at the party's Polokwane conference in December 2007 in 15th place, measured in number of votes.[7] He subsequently retired as president of the ANC Youth League of which, at age 36, he was no longer eligible to be a member.[8]

Mbalula was elected president of the ANC Youth League in August 2004, having previously held the post of secretary general.[9]

Mbalula has been credited with installing South African President Thabo Mbeki in that position, and for later deposing him as head of the ANC.[10] His support has also been described as key in gaining Zuma the ANC presidency in a hard-fought race with Mbeki.[11]

He also supported the candidacy of Julius Malema to succeed him as head of the Youth League in what was seen as a move to ensure continuing League support for Zuma.[12]

Apart from politics, he is an ardent supporter of the Kaizer Chiefs Football Club based in Naturena.

Controversial statements[edit]

Known for his disregard for speaking conventions,[13] 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.[14]

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".[15]

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.

In January 2014, after Bafana Bafana were eliminated in the first round from the CHAN competition, Mbalula said that the national team were "a bunch of losers".[16][17]

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.

On 25 April 2016, he suspended the privileges of SA Rugby, Cricket South Africa and Athletics SA from bidding for international tournaments due to lack of transformation.[18]

External links[edit]