Doctor of Administration graduate Dr Nobuhle Pamela Nkabane plans to use her newly acquired knowledge to enhance her political career.
Nkabane, who serves as the ANC Whip in the Employment and Labour Portfolio Committee said that studying towards her PhD enhanced her understanding of theoretical concepts in administration, governance, management and development.
‘I remember when we were young and leading the ANC Youth League and the ANC’s provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli motivated me to go back to school. He advised that I study until I obtain a PhD and recommended UKZN. The following year I enrolled for my honours at UKZN which I received cum laude. This motivated me to pursue a PhD as a solid step towards my future career,’ she said.
Having served in the public sector for 13 years, her former position as the Director of Water Governance and Customer Service at Harry Gwala District Municipality presented the perfect opportunity for her to explore the water, sanitation and service delivery challenges affecting the area and identify possible solutions.
Her study titled: An analysis of Revenue Management in Water and Sanitation in Harry Gwala and Ugu Water Services Authorities, discusses several issues affecting Water Services Authorities’ (WSAs) ability to achieve financial sustainability through revenue management systems. It was supervised by Professor Thokozani Nzimakwe.
‘I am very passionate about water and sanitation. I grew up in the rural village of Umzimkhulu where we would wake up around 4am to get water from the river before the livestock could muddy it. This and becoming aware of the frustrations that society is experiencing in relation to poor water quality and sanitation made the research personal,’ said Nkabane.
‘I wanted to investigate the root causes of the problem and how best we can improve the situation since most rural WSAs are dependent on national and provincial transfers for survival and are unable to generate revenue,’ she added.
Nkabane’s PhD journey also resulted in the publication of articles in two academic journals titled: Transcending the divide between indigenous knowledge and scientific knowledge in disaster risk reduction and Sustainable Models and Framework for enhancing revenue management in municipalities and Water Services Authorities in South Africa.
‘My research into the challenges associated with service delivery will enable me to contribute to turning the tide by applying some of the knowledge from my academic research in my day-to-day work,’ she said.
Words: Thandi Jumo
Photograph: Abhi Indrarajan