President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced his second in line, Paul Mashatile, as the country’s ninth deputy president.
Mashatile also serves as the deputy president of the ANC. He defeated Ramaphosa’s close allies, Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane and Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola, at the Nasrec elective conference in December to possibly ascend to the second-highest office.
Born in 1961 as Paul Shipokosa Mashatile, he was an activist in the struggle against apartheid as a member of the Congress of South African Students and was co-founder and first president of the Alexandra Youth Congress.
He was detained without trial from 1985-1989, and participated in a nation-wide protest by engaging in an 18-day hunger strike.
When the ANC and the SACP were unbanned in 1990, Mashatile helped re-establish them and continued to organise on their behalf. He has held various positions in Gauteng, including serving in its legislature as leader of the House. He is also the former premier of Gauteng.
Last month, Mashatile was sworn in as an MP and so rumours of him taking up the position of deputy president arose. At that time, David Mabuza still held the position, however, it was common knowledge Mabuza intended to leave.
Last week, Mabuza resigned as an MP following his request to Ramaphosa to step down as the second in command in the country.
Ramaphosa has since extended his gratitude and appreciation on behalf of South Africans to Mabuza for his service to the country over the past five years.