Grad­u­ated staffers are Cape Town’s ‘great­est as­sets’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - WEEK­END AR­GUS RE­PORTER

CITY em­ploy­ees are do­ing it for them­selves, over­com­ing ma­jor hur­dles to notch up de­grees, diplo­mas and cer­tifi­cates thanks to R94 mil­lion in­vested over the past four fi­nan­cial years to up­skill staffers.

“Our em­ploy­ees are our great­est as­sets, and it is im­por­tant that we con­tinue to in­vest in our staff so that we have the right peo­ple with the re­quired skills and com­pe­ten­cies to meet the city’s ser­vice de­liv­ery de­mands,” Xanthea Lim­berg, the city’s may­oral com­mit­tee mem­ber for cor­po­rate ser­vices and com­pli­ance said.The group of 161 grad­u­ates for 2016 were awarded 38 cer­tifi­cates and higher cer­tifi­cates, 57 na­tional diplo­mas, 59 de­grees, four hon­ours de­grees and two masters de­grees.

Sin­gled out for spe­cial men­tion were Koena Nkoko, who grew up in Ga-Seema in Polok­wane, and has now com­pleted a Masters De­gree in Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion with five dis­tinc­tions, and Lameez Ma­jiet, who at 28 is one of the youngest peo­ple to com­plete her Masters in Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Nkoko re­called a time when his mother couldn’t even give him money for school lunch. But she did give him a one-off loan of R30 to start an in­for­mal busi­ness sell­ing sweets at school, which he ran un­til Grade 12.

“I did not see my lack of money or hav­ing to walk long dis­tances, at times in the rain, to and from school as a bar­rier to my suc­cess. If any­thing, th­ese chal­lenges made me more de­ter­mined to sol­dier on in my en­deav­our to be the best I could be de­spite the odds be­ing against me,” he said, adding that he knew from an early age that ed­u­ca­tion was his only way out of his so­cio-eco­nomic strug­gle.

The MBA is his se­cond masters de­gree, in ad­di­tion to a Masters De­gree in Pub­lic Health and a num­ber of post­grad­u­ate diplo­mas, diplo­mas and other cer­tifi­cated cour­ses.

Koena is to­day a sub-district man­ager of Health Ser­vices in the City Health Direc­torate.

Ma­jiet spent most of her child­hood in Port­lands, Mitchells Plain and Hei­de­veld. Univer­sity, for her, was noth­ing more than a dis­tant dream.

To­day this In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices and Tech­nol­ogy de­part­ment staffer has, at just 28, earned her Masters De­gree in Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

And she’s not fin­ished yet, with plans to pur­sue a Doc­tor­ate of Phi­los­o­phy (PhD) in Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“My ad­vice to young peo­ple is that they need to go out and look for op­por­tu­ni­ties, es­pe­cially ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties. Each one of us needs to take re­spon­si­bil­ity and do some­thing pos­i­tive with our lives. Be­ing able to make a suc­cess of our lives is the best gift we can give to our par­ents and grand­par­ents who fought for us to be free and to get a qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion,” she said.

Lim­berg said the pair’s fo­cus and will to suc­ceed was in­spi­ra­tional, and urged other young­sters to seek out op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“The op­por­tu­ni­ties out there are plenty – you just need to find them and pur­sue what is of interest to you,” she said.

PIC­TURES: CITY OF CAPE TOWN

Trevor Manuel and Lameez Ma­jiet.

Koena Nkoko com­pleted his Master’s De­gree in Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion with five dis­tinc­tions.

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