Tokozile Xasa: What a Female Minister of Sport means for South Africa

For the first time in the country’s history, South Africa will have a woman as minister of sport and recreation. On Monday, during a not-quite-midnight Cabinet reshuffle, Tokozile Xasa was handed the portfolio, shifting over from tourism.

Xasa has been fairly low key in her government positions. She took over the tourism gig in a previously reshuffle, instigated by Jacob Zuma. Aside from having had to deny a fake report that she endorsed poaching, and the fact that her department spent R9.6-million with Bell Pottinger, the 52-year old has been going about her business without much fanfare.

A former teacher, and the first female mayor of a district municipality in the transitional period of local government in the Eastern Cape, Xasa holds a Bachelor in Public Administration and Psychology from the Walter Sisulu University and a Master in Public Administration from the MPA – University of Fort Hare.

Like many of her predecessors in the role, she has no direct background in sport. However, like her predecessors, this should not affect her ability to manage the portfolio.

How long she will have this portfolio will remain to be seen, though. Cyril Ramaphosa has promised that he will shrink his Cabinet – with sport likely to merge with Arts and Culture – a position currently held by Nathi Mthethwa.

For now, her appointment is significant.


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