Masters’s graduation marks a milestone for town planner

05 December 2018 | Story Leonie Bolleurs | Photo Leonie Bolleurs
Mpho Makgalemele
Mpho Makgalemele, town planner at Emalahleni Local Municipality, developed perseverance, tactical thinking and problem-solving skills when she enrolled for the Professional Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning.

Mpho Makgalemele received her Master’s degree at the December Graduation Ceremonies of the University of the Free State (UFS). The highlight of walking up to the stage to receive her Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning marked a milestone in Makgalemele’s career.

Her thesis is titled: “The role of town planning in the implementation of the ‘special presidential package for the revitalisation of distressed mining towns’ “: with specific reference to Emalahleni (formerly known as Witbank).

Contributing to township development in SA

She enrolled for the Professional Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning to solve complex spatial planning challenges, thus contributing to the economic and township development of South Africa. “I wanted to advance my technical knowledge, contribute to the urban and regional planning body of knowledge, and practise my profession in a specialised manner,” she said. 

Makgalemele believes that doing a master’s programme builds your character and develops attributes such as perseverance, tactical thinking and problem-solving within you as a person. 

Building intellectual capacity 

Makgalemele is the town planner of Emalahleni Local Municipality and applies on a daily basis the advanced theoretical knowledge of urban planning, the research skills and the writing and presentation skills she obtained in the programme. 

“The programme augments your intellectual capacity. It provides advanced technical skills, knowledge and practical experience that is imperative for town planning professionals,” she said. 

Maléne Campbell, Head of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning has high praise for Makgalemele: “She overcame challenges by managing the spatial planning vulnerabilities (including environmental degradation, service-delivery challenges and a massive population growth) of a local economy based on non-renewable resources, while at the same time doing research for her master’s.”