The Gauteng Provincial Legislature elected ANC provincial chairman Paul Mashatile as its new premier on Tuesday.

“I therefore announce Mr Paul Mashatile as the … premier of Gauteng,” said Judge Phineas Mojapelo.

Mashatile was elected at a special sitting of the legislature following the resignation of Mbhazima Shilowa. Shilowa resigned out of protest against the decision by the national executive committee of the African National Congress to remove former president Thabo Mbeki from office.

Mashatile, who was the MEC of finance and economic affairs during Shilowa’s tenure, was the ANC’s preferred candidate to take over from Shilowa, who was criticised by the ruling party for publicly disagreeing with its decision.

Shilowa and his predecessor Tokyo Sexwale were present at the ceremony.

Mashatile, who will celebrate his 47th birthday on October 21, made headlines in 2006 when he spent nearly R100,000 on a dinner at the posh Auberge Michel restaurant in Sandton on June 23. He used his government credit card to entertain colleagues from the economics and treasury departments and Gauteng shared services centre.

However, his office dismissed suggestions that there was anything untoward about his R96,000 post-budget speech dinner bill. Mashatile reportedly spent more than R250,000 on restaurant bills in the five months from February to June in 2006.

He is a long-time ANC member who was detained without trial under the state of emergency from 1985 to 1989 and has held several positions in the ruling party. He was the MEC for housing in Gauteng between 1999 and 2004 and the MEC for transport and public works from 1996 to 1999.

Mashatile was the provincial secretary of the ANC national executive committee in Gauteng between 1992 and 1996. He went to the Alexandra High School in Gauteng and holds a post-graduate diploma in Economic Principles from the University of London, according to the Who’s Who website. Mashatile is married with two sons and two daughters.