09 December 2022 | Story Samkelo Fetile
Constance Motsitsi
Proud PhD holder, Constance Motsitsi, a Public Administration and Management Lecturer in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences at the University of the Free State.

A passion for research and academia ignited Constance Motsitsi’s pursuit of scholarship and knowledge. Four degrees later, Motsitsi, a Public Administration and Management Lecturer in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences at the University of the Free State (UFS), will add the title of ‘doctor’ to her long list of achievements. The 30-year-old lecturer will receive her PhD in Public Administration during the December 2022 graduation ceremony hosted on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. 

Hailing from Sebokeng in Gauteng, Motsitsi says she has always had a deep interest in understanding the functioning of the public sector. “Coming from a township that experiences poor service delivery, I was curious about the functioning of government institutions and their role in public management and administration. Thus, I enrolled for a BA Public Administration and Management degree at North-West University, where I also obtained my honours and master’s degrees in the same study field,” she says.

Her research has focused on public financial management reforms and service delivery in the Northern Cape Department of Health. “Each year the government spends millions of rands on implementing public financial management reforms, with the core objective of enhancing service delivery. Yet, despite the implementation of these reforms, service delivery in this department remains poor.” She set out to investigate the causes of the disconnect between the public financial management reforms and service delivery by the department. 

“My study found that South Africa has some of the best public financial management reforms in the world. Thus, the problem is rather with the government officials entrusted with the execution of these reforms. It is evident that the Northern Cape Department of Health is in dire need of efficient, financially disciplined, and determined leaders who will prioritise the importance of value-for-money service delivery. Without such leaders, the failure of these reforms is imminent.” 

The future Dr Motsitsi says she was inspired by her supervisor, who saw great potential in her. “My supervisor made me realise that I have what it takes to make a difference in my research area. That further ignited my passion for research and academia.” 

As a single mother of a nine-year-old daughter, she set herself the goal of finishing her PhD in two and a half years. During her academic journey, she also discovered a new passion. “My love for lecturing, imparting knowledge, and stimulating innovative ideas in my students – our future leaders – gives me great joy and a sense of purpose.” 

Motsitsi says she aspires to become an internationally acclaimed professor in her research area and an expert in her field of study over the next 10 years. “I am aware that this will require a rethinking of my work/life balance, as I believe that more effort, dedication, and resilience are generally associated with that level of success.” She says being able to balance one’s life is very important. “God remains central above all things and being in touch with my spirituality helps me to remain focused and also to remember the most important things and people in my life. Taking time out for self-care is also very important. Go for ice cream, read a non-academic book, watch a romantic movie, and make time for family.” 

Motsitsi says that despite everything she has achieved, she still considers herself “a work in progress” with a lot more ahead of her. “There is still much more learning, unlearning, and self-discovery awaiting me. I believe what is needed is resilience, and although the academic journey gets lonely, challenging, and very frustrating at times, one needs to keep pushing and believing that what lies ahead is far greater than the storms one experiences along the way.” 

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