After almost four decades of working for the city of Joburg, Phindile Lakaje is hanging up her public servant hat and will now dedicate her time to helping heal humanity.
South Africa (29 October 2022) – Compassion will remain inherent even in retirement for Integrated Service Delivery Deputy Director in CRUM Region C Phindile Lakaje, who is hanging up her public servant hat officially at the end of October. Ma Lakaje (65), a social worker by profession who holds an honours degree from the University of Zululand, will now dedicate her time to healing people mentally.
The almost four decades in public service occupying various challenging positions within the Council have not altered Ma Lakaje’s selfless nature and the essence of her purpose.
With her mother being a nurse, she says becoming a social worker was influenced by her journalist father; a career she initially also wanted to go into before being convinced otherwise.
Ma Lakaje says people are fighting internal battles, and desperately need help.
“People are going through a lot. Children’s lives are plunged into meltdown by drug abuse. Those of us whose lives God continues to spare should be of assistance to those struggling with mental issues.”
She joined the City in 1983 as a junior social worker under what was then the Soweto City Council. She was assigned to work under the division for youth clubs and moved up the ranks to Acting Manager for social services until 1999. She was granted a transfer to the Department of Housing and worked as an Operational Manager for People’s Housing Process.
The establishment of the initiative became the most challenging yet rewarding job she had ever done as it introduced her to a whole new world that she was unaware of. She says it was a hands-on position and one of the biggest learning curves as it required her to possess multiple sets of skills and juggle loads of new information.
“It was challenging yet very exciting. We were supporting with the technical administrative skills as the Council and had to deal with handling finances which was extremely daunting,” Ma Lakaje says.
She pushed until the cessation of the programme after four years, then ventured into the unknown again when she became part of the Phakama Programme; a project to establish a new IT system for the municipality.
The zealous Dube, Soweto-born, council official managed to stay afloat in the “foreign” environment as a Policy and Targets Specialist for almost two years. She describes it as one of the most refreshing experiences of her career.
The year 2008 came with a Regional Manager’s position, which saw Ma Lakaje finally finding what would be her long-term home in the then Department of Development Planning and Urban Management before the renaming of departments and designations.
The doting mother, grandmother, sister and wife bows out of the City with gratitude and certainty that the municipality’s future is in the capable hands of the youth as she resumes her true calling of healing humanity.