12 September 2013 Volume :1 Issue :1

Netshitenzhe - keynote speaker at UKZN forum

Netshitenzhe - keynote speaker at UKZN forum
Dr Joel Netshitenze (left) and Dr Sibusiso Chalufu in conversation on the Howard College campus.

Dr Joel Netshitenzhe, Director of the Mapungubwe Institute of Strategic and Cultural Reflection (MISTRA), delivered the keynote address at a forum on the Howard College campus which focused on the National Development Plan (NDP) and post-apartheid democratic prospects.

Netshitenzhe explored the developmental challenges facing the country and the propositions of the NDP.

He noted that leadership was required to address the challenges facing the country, remarking that ‘leadership should have the capacity and the courage to deal with corruption’.

Netshitenzhe cautioned against the distance between the “leaders and the led” and the “development of social distance” as he called it, not only in the government and society sphere, but also among student leaders and students.

Netshitenzhe also alluded to the need for social and citizen activism and the role of youth leadership, making reference to recent great youth movements such as InkuluFreeHeid, Young Professionals Forum, Youth Lab and the Young Economists of Africa.

As the talk fell on the anniversary of the Marikana incident, he reminded the audience of the tragic events which surrounded the Lonmin mining strike.

Dr Sibusiso Chalufu, Executive Director: Student Services, referred to Netshitenzhe as a ‘true intellectual giant of our time’, and commended the Society of Commons and the SRC for the foresight in hosting Netshitenzhe.

The Society of Commons, a student organisation which promotes dialogue, paid tribute to Netshitenzhe’s remarkable education, career and contributions to the country, saying: ‘Netshitenzhe suspended his studies at the former University of Natal’s Medical School in 1976 when he joined the African National Congress in exile.’

He has a diploma in Political Science from the Institute of Social Sciences in Moscow, a post-graduate diploma in Economic Principles and a Master of Science degree in Financial Economics from the University of London.

Before joining the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) as CEO in 1998, he was Head of Communication in President Nelson Mandela’s office. In addition to being GCIS CEO, he was appointed Head of the Policy Co-ordination and Advisory Services (PCAS) in The Presidency in 2001. He headed the PCAS on a full-time basis from 2006 until his retirement in 2009.

He now works as an independent researcher, and is the Executive Director of MISTRA.

He is a Member of the National Planning Commission of the South African government, the Advisory Board of the Nelson Mandela Trust and the Board of CEEF.Africa (a Section 21 company dealing with tertiary education opportunities).

author : Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer
author email : captainr@ukzn.ac.za