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No Minister? Is Mashatile's reign over arts and culture over?

By M Blackman on 19 March

Paul Mashatile

Paul Mashatile, . Official Portrait

Speculation continues as to whether Minister of Arts and Culture, Paul Mashatile, will be retained in his current position after the 7 May election. Mashatile was recently left off the ANC’s parliamentary list, which suggests he will not be retained in Cabinet. Most of the other members of the current Cabinet do appear amongst the 200-strong list - except for the two who have publicly stated that they no longer wish to serve in parliament, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and Minister Trevor Manuel.

Mashatile’s reign as minister has not gone without controversy. He was at the centre of the 2011 Venice Biennale debacle, where badly faked invoices were accepted without question by the Department of Arts and Culture from the person Mashatile controversially appointed as commissioner, the commercial gallerist Mr Monna Mokoena. An estimated R4-million out of the R10-million budget still remains unaccounted for, due to the nature of various suspicious invoices. He also sanctioned a recent Draft White Paper which made some alarming policy pronouncements.

Mashatile, who famously stood against the reelection of President Jacob Zuma as ANC-head at the ANC’s Mangaung conference at the end of 2012, does however appear as number one on the ANC’s Gauteng provincial to national list which could still technically mean that he could make it back into Parliament. His exclusion from the parliamentary list, however, seems to suggest the contrary.

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