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Biography: Mpho Pauline Ndebele

26 Jul 2018

Mpho (in red) with colleagues at the recent CBD Africa Conference in Lusaka

An activist at heart, Mpho Ndebele was the Director of Programme and International Relations at the African Disability Alliance, a disability-led technical agency deriving its mandate from the human rights movement of organisations of persons with disabilities that constitute its membership, at the time of her untimely passing.

This was after working as a Director of Community Upliftment, Programmes and Projects for the National Department of Energy (2013-2017). Her role at the Department was to manage the identification, development, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and reporting of and on programmes/projects focused on the Upliftment and empowerment of disadvantage/vulnerable groups (women, youth, people with disabilities and children) in the Energy sector.

She was previously the Deputy Director, Disability Management in the Department of Trade and Industry (2008-2013). Her main role then was to ensure a successful integration of persons with disabilities in the dti and to facilitate proper implementation and monitoring of the dti’s disability mainstreaming programme as advanced by the Codes of Good Practice on disability promulgated by the Department of Labour.

Prior to this appointment she was the Assistant Director Special programmes and Transformation Services Section for the Department of Roads and Transport in Mpumalanga(2003-2008). Here she was responsible for the co–ordination and management of the following Programmes, Transformation, Disability, Gender, Employee Assistance Programme, Youth and Children.

Mpho also worked as a Sign Language Interpreter for the Office on the Status of Disabled Persons in the Office of the Premier (1999-2003). As a child of Deaf Parents (CODA) she is a constant user of SASL and her exposure to South African Sign Language is from her parents and Deaf Community.

Mpho trained as a Sign Language Interpreter at the University of the Free State and also held a Post graduate Diploma in Disability Studies from University of Cape Town and Postgraduate Certificate in Executive Leadership (NQF 8) from Vaal University of Technology and did her mini thesis on “Employment Equity in Practice” a study of the dti’s achievement of the minimum 2% target on employment of People with Disabilities. She also held a Programme and Project Management Certificate from the University of the Witwatersrand.

Furthermore, she was part of the nine authors of RainFire: Women in leadership in South Africa book that was published by Desmond Tutu Peace Trust in Cape Town, on 30 September 2005, with her short story on ‘Talking Hands’ and her poem ‘Grandmother’. Over the years she participated in a number of forums nationally and internationally.

  • The United Nations General Assembly Beijing +5 (Women with Disabilities Forum) in 2000 in New York, USA
  • Batho Pele Learning Network in Mmabatho, North West Province 2005
  • Study tour on Labour organizations in Dubai and India – New Delhi – May 2005
  • United Nations Global Forum on Re-inventing Government – Seoul, South Korea – June 2005
  • Regional Industrial Relations Association Conference in Mauritius –December 2005
  • International Industrial Relations Association Congress in Lima Peru, 01 – 15 September 2006
  • Study Tour on Best practices in Brazil, Sao Paoulo, 16 – 30 September 2006
  • National University of Ireland – Summer School on International Law of Persons with Disabilities, 2012
  • Member of the dti Disability Forum, Gender Forum and Transformation Committee representing the dti in Disability Machinery of Department of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities

May her soul rest in peace.


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