Mayihlome Tshwete

Mayihlome Tshwete is regarded as a safe pair of hands, according to colleagues who have seen him in action, defending his principal, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba. He is articulate, smart and usually walks into a room with the swagger of a Wall Street investment banker. Tshwete, 31, was appointed as Gigaba’s spokesperson in 2010 and has since asserted himself as one of the best government communicators around. This son of the late sports minister Steve Tshwete, says being Gigaba’s spokesperson is a challenge he enjoys. “It is great to work with a young minister. He is open to ideas and is extremely hard-working and it keeps us on our toes.” Tshwete advises the minister on issues of public relations and communications and deals with media inquiries and internal communication for the department, where he currently serves as acting head of communications. He also engages with his counterparts in state-owned enterprises, communicating their programmes and keeping the minister abreast of developments. Tshwete is not new to communication. He previously worked as a speechwriter for the then labour minister, Membathisi Mdladlana, and has also worked in corporate communications, serving as public relations officer and events co-ordinator for various companies. He wrote and published a book, Road from Now, while studying for his bachelor of business administration degree at Varsity College. The book, which he dedicated to his late father, is a collection of poems dealing with the country’s painful history, the human condition and the triumph of good over evil. “Given his own patriotism, it is clear that the only reward Mayihlome would expect for this splendid piece of poetry work would be for the youth of his time to take up the challenge and emulate the standard that he has set,” wrote former president Thabo Mbeki. — Charles Molele