Xasa steps into the large shoes of her predecessor, Derek Hanekom, who was axed this week after serving in the executive since 1994.
Xasa (54) cannot afford to drop the ball – Hanekom’s performance as tourism minister always received much praise, including from the highly critical opposition parties.
She is one of only a few people who have held executive positions in all three spheres of government.
A teacher by profession, Xasa was the first woman to become a mayor of a district municipality when she was elected to lead the King Sabata Dalindyebo Local Municipality in the transitional period of local government in the Eastern Cape. She later became an MEC for social development, then housing, and later for local government and traditional affairs.
Xasa has been an ANC activist for most of her life. She served two terms as the provincial treasurer of the ANC in the Eastern Cape. In 2015, she became the national spokesperson for the ANC Women’s League after her re-election into the league’s national executive committee. She was the first woman elected into the structure in 1997 under Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s leadership.
Her promotion to a full ministerial position this week is not only a feather in her cap, but a victory for the women’s league, which continues to fight for women to be appointed to senior positions.
Xasa, who is from Libode in the Eastern Cape, has served as deputy to Hanekom from 2014.