SPMA graduates in the spotlight

Posted on May 19, 2020

Graduates from the School of Public Management and Administration (SPMA) were among the cohort of students from the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences (EMS) who recently received their qualifications in absentia during a virtual graduation ceremony presided over by UP Vice-Chancellor and Principal Prof Tawana Kupe. Some of the graduates are profiled below:
Saeeda Ismail
Saeeda received her Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree with distinction, having also received the SPMA award for the best student in the overall course work.
She was supervised by Prof Gerda van Dijk and says: “Her guidance and encouragement of free and critical thinking allowed me to develop a holistic and deep appreciation for the public sector.” She is currently employed by the South African National Roads Agency as a senior coordinator in the transformation function.  
While still determining a study area for a possible PhD, Saeeda continues to pursue other areas of development, including the mentoring of current SPMA students, a passion she describes as liberating. Her academic interests include the areas of gender and development, governance, public policy and transformation.
Irene Naidoo
Irene works at the Government Communication and Information System as the news editor of a public sector manager magazine. She decided to study again after a 15-year break because she believes that learning is a lifelong process and enrolled for an MPA degree, which she has received with distinction.
She was supervised by was Prof Natasja Holtzhausen, who she says encouraged her every step of the way. “It was a challenging journey as I am a fulltime working mom. I would not have been able to do this were it not for the support I had from my husband, fellow students and supervisor.” She intends to further her studies.
Koena Cholo
After a 14 year break from studying, Koena decided to enrol for a MPA degree in 2018 under the supervision of Prof Gerda van Dijk and has graduated with distinction. The purpose of her study was to explore the administration of gender-targeted programmes by the senior management services in the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.
She is currently employed by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development as Assistant Director: Women Children and Persons with Disabilities, and says: “I envisage studying for a PhD degree in Public Administration/Development in order to contribute to knowledge in public governance as an area of study.”
Sifiso and Onica Zikhali
Sifiso and Onica ZIkhali were motivated to study together in order to advance their career goals within the public sector and have both graduated with MPA degrees. Sifiso works for the Department of Civilian Secretariat for Police Service in Pretoria and Onica works for the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
“Studying together was both challenging and interesting, as we have children who still needed our attention, time and assistance with schoolwork. In order to make this work we had to set up a schedule to balance conflicting demands,” they say. Although they admit that the journey was demanding, they encourage other couples do this, as it is also very rewarding to know you have accomplished this together. They add: “The interesting part was that, while there was healthy competition, we still supported and motivated each other.”
- Author Nonkululeko Kubeka Moyo
Published by Liesl Oosthuizen

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