Public Governance Expert Graduates Three Master’s Degree Candidates

Mr Nelisile Xolo

Public Governance expert Professor Mogie Subban has successfully supervised and graduated three Master of Public Administration (MPA) candidates – Ms Lindiwe Bhengu, Ms Khayakazi Mhatu, and Mr Nelisile Xolo.

Bhengu is the Assistant Director: Marketing and Communication at the Thekwini Technical Vocational Education and Training College. The title of her dissertation was: Policy Perspectives of the Marketing and Communication Policy of Thekwini Technical and Vocational Education and Training College.

The study has given Bhengu new confidence in executing marketing and communication activities starting with the development of policies, strategy, operational plans and its implementation.

Said Bhengu: ‘The study will assist in developing a policy that the College will be able to implement successfully and also help align its policy with the National Department of Higher Education and Training policies and other relevant government communication policies.’

She found group studies and sharing work experiences with classmates enriching. ‘Support from classmates and my supervisor played a major role in my success during difficult COVID times. Professor Subban held my hand throughout this journey,’ said Bhengu, who did not let suffering with the COVID-19 virus deter her from completing her studies.

Said Subban: ‘Her unwavering commitment shone through, as she was determined to not give up. We have walked the road together towards her academic success today. Congratulations Lindiwe, I am so proud of your dedication towards your studies and to have witnessed you receiving your well-deserved reward.’

Sport and Recreation Officer at the Harry Gwala District Municipality, Khayakazi Mhatu’s dissertation was titled: An Exploration of Strategic Leadership and Resource Allocation for Effective Municipal Performance: The Case of Harry Gwala District Municipality.

Pleased with her academic achievement, Mhatu said: ‘I have learnt about many leadership and management skills required for effective service delivery in the public sector. I have a detailed critical understanding of public policies and their impact on service delivery, and on the livelihoods of local communities through the importance of epistemology and research.’

Subban is extremely proud of Mhatu who completed her dissertation despite experiencing several challenges and having fallen ill while doing her research. Given that resources are not always adequate in the face of competing priorities, Mhatu’s research emphasises, amongst others, that legislation guides municipal leadership on how financial resources should be allocated and utilised.

Mr Nelisile Xolo, Senior Manager responsible for Corporate Services at Mt Ayliff in the Eastern Cape, assessed the digital divide and adoption of e-participation at the Matatiele Local Municipality.

Xolo juggled studies and a demanding job where he is responsible for the development and implementation of Institutional Transformation and Development policies and procedures used to guide the recruitment of personnel, training and development, payroll management, provision of ICT and Auxiliary services. Proud of his achievement, he said: ‘The research enhanced my leadership skills to influence policy development processes, and to contribute to the extent of effectiveness and efficiency in the public service as a dedicated public official.’

Armed with the MPA, Xolo is looking forward to influencing transformation in local government and the broader public service in a democratic South Africa. He has started the conversations with his supervisor for further studies towards a PhD in the new year.

Subban, who commended Xolo for his excellent work ethic, said she was extremely proud of his diligence for having completed his dissertation within the requisite one-year timeline – ‘It was a pleasure supervising his work!’ 

Subban, who lectures at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in the Discipline of Public Governance at UKZN, and serves as Academic Programme Co-ordinator in the College of Law and Management Studies, has vast experience in academia, and the public and corporate sectors.

As the current Chairperson of the Association of Southern African Schools and Departments of Public Administration and Management, she is preparing to host the annual conference of the Association from 23 – 25 November at the Riverside Hotel, in Durban under the theme: Disruptive Learning and the Future of Public Administration Education and Research.

The trio is grateful to Subban for meticulously guiding them through their academic journey. Subban says she looks forward to future research collaborations with her students as she encouraged them to contribute the knowledge gained in their studies to their current careers in the public service.

Words: Hazel Langa

Photographs: Abhi Indrarajan