Arnold Makhenkesi Stofile, South Africa’s former sports minister has passed away. He died today at his home in Alice at the age of 72.
He served as the Minister of Sports and Recreation from 2004 to 2010 before he was succeeded by Fikile Mbalula.
Until the time of his death, Stofile was South African Ambassador to Germany – a position he occupied on June 1, 2011.
Though the cause of his death is still unclear, Deputy Sports Minister, Gert Oosthuizen confirmed his exit on Monday. Oosthuizen said Stofile’s wife broke the news to him when he spoke with her.
Zizi Kodwa, ANC’s spokesperson also confirmed the death, promising to issue a statement once the provincial leadership returns from Stofile’s home in Alice.
Stofile was born in the Eastern Cape, precisely in Adelaide. He occupied top positions as a cabinet minister and Eastern Cape premier in the government.
Arnold Makhenkesi Stofile’s Political Career
His political career started in 1963 when he was a member of the ANC’s front organization- the African Students’ Association. However, he came to light in politics in the early 80’s when he held pivotal positions in the United Democratic Front.
In 1994, Stofile was elected ANC NEC Treasurer General and was subsequently elected to Parliament that same year. In 1995, the ANC returned him as its Treasurer General until 1997, when he was replaced.
After his replacement in 1997, Stofile became Eastern Cape Premier; an office he occupied till 2004 when he emerged South Africa’s sports minister.
Academically, Stofile graduated from Princeton University in the USA in 1983 with masters of Arts degree. Then in the year 2000, one of South Africa’s prestigious higher learning institution – the University of Pretoria, bestowed an award of a D.Phil (hc) on him.
Until the time of his death, he was an ordained minister of the Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa.
He will be fondly remembered for being a hard voice against non-racial sports during his days.