Polokwane mayor Thembi Nkadimeng departs for a higher post
Share this article:
Pretoria - Outgoing Polokwane mayor Thembi Nkadimeng was shocked when she received a call from President Cyril Ramaphosa last week informing her she was the new Deputy Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
Ramaphosa made changes to the national executive last week, appointing 48-year-old Nkadimeng to his Cabinet.
Ramaphosa and Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo presided over the swearing in of Nkadimeng yesterday.
In the process, they sealed the deal for Nkadimeng, also president of the South African Local Government Association, to relinquish the position together with her mayoral chain.
In an interview with the Pretoria News before she left for the Union Buildings, Nkadimeng said the phone call from Ramaphosa lasted less than a minute.
“My heart jumped when I received the phone call because not a lot of people receive a phone call from the president.
“I was sitting at home when the phone rang and the conversation lasted less than a minute.
“He just said ‘I want to assign you to a new position’ and I agreed.
“I am still trying to internalise what happened to me… I’m leaving the municipality with mixed emotions because the people of Polokwane are the easiest to service as there is respect among them.
“But I have no regrets because I don’t believe life should have regrets.
“I knew nothing when I came here. I learnt from the people of Polokwane.
“It took me seven years to learn how to do this job. But I am confident that I am leaving a stable municipality.”
Nkadimeng was appointed mayor of the province’s hub of economic activity in July 2014. This was after Freddy Greaver handed in his resignation to the ANC provincial executive committee.
Although Nkadimeng said she was leaving a stable municipality, she has not ascended to national duty without her fair share of mishaps as mayor of Limpopo’s capital.
She came under fire last month following the release of the municipal audit outcomes by Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke, with the EFF in the province calling for her immediate resignation after the municipality received a fourth consecutive qualified audit opinion.
This placed the municipality among 66 who received qualified audit opinions across the country in the 2019/2020 financial year.
Her spindoctors blamed the difference in interpretation of the “general recognised” accounting practice standards for the shortfall.
She also leaves before resolving years of the apparent decay of water infrastructure maintenance at two of the City’s bulk water schemes, plunging the capital into a water crisis.
Bidding farewell to her boss, municipal manager Dikgape Makobe said the staff was excited for Polokwane to have produced a deputy minister.
He said: “We have now produced a deputy minister. We are excited but sad at the same time. But the mayor has put Polokwane on the national map as she will be the first mayor coming from Polokwane to a national position.
“We are proud. We had a good working relationship with her.”