Polokwane Executive Mayor and President of the South African Local Government Association (Salga), Thembi Nkadimeng added an international accolade to her portfolio when she was elected Co-President of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) for the 2019 to 2022 term during the institution’s 6th global conference that took place in Durban recently.
With its head office in Barcelona, Spain the UCLG is an umbrella international organisation for cities, local and regional governments and municipal associations throughout the world that is concerned with representing and defending the interests of local governments on the world stage and the event saw representatives from the world of local and regional governments come together over five days to define the global agenda of cities and regions for the coming years and to develop inputs for the upcoming international processes.
In her acceptance speech at the conference, Nkadimeng said that serving and service has been her life from before she was chosen to become a local government official. “My life of service has been in alignment with every principle and value that you hold important as an organisation not because I stand for UCLG office, but because UCLG’s are principles and values that are central to who I am as a person and as a leader,” Nkadimeng is quoted to have said.
“Local government in most of our regions has a long way to go before achieving the kind of recognition that will see it make a meaningful difference on a global stage. This cause, like the ongoing battle for decentralisation, or the disruptive force of climate change, or the plight of migrants and the struggles of cities to cohere the displaced, these are local government causes that require resilience. As a leader of a capital city in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, I understand first-hand the challenges facing local government,” Nkadimeng added.
Nkadimeng committed herself to promoting multi-level governance and recognition of the role of local government in promoting development and the involvement of local government in development policy formulation and implementation.
“While championing gender equality in the UCLG, its regions and sister associations, I will walk the long road with other members of the UCLG Presidency as we build new associations across old boundaries in service of a connected local, regional, national and global agenda,” Nkadimeng concluded.
A product of the University of the North, Nkadimeng holds a Higher Education Diploma, a Bachelor of Arts (Hon) degree as well as a BPhil (Political Studies) which she obtained from the University of Stellenbosch. In anticipation of the skills required for leadership in the new South African government, she also completed the Advanced Programme in Management at Wits Business School.
Nkadimeng has been advancing a people-centred developmental service delivery model in the municipality. She took to the helm of the municipality after an accomplished professional career in the private sector. She was instrumental in the development and implementation strategy of the Mogalakwena Mine under Anglo American Platinum where she worked as a Corporate Affairs Manager between 2009 and 2013. Prior to her private sector journey, Nkadimeng had already served in various leadership roles in the public service for more than a decade. She was Chief Director of Human Resources and Corporate Services in the Department of Agriculture in Limpopo and was also the Corporate Communication and Marketing Director in the Office of the Premier.
Asked how she manages to balance all her official duties and still be part of a family at home, Nkadimeng reckoned that she is a hard working person and with proper planning and the support of her team, she copes well with her multiple responsibilities.
Story: BARRY VILJOEN