A day in Mzansi politics can feel like a million years, and often there are surprises. This week, the people of Johannesburg welcomed a new mayor, Dr Mpho Phalatse. Yes, you read that right. She is a whole medical doctor.
One-hundred-and-fourty-four votes sealed the DA councillor’s fate as Jozi mayor, becoming the first woman to hold the city keys. She’s no stranger to politics, though, after previously serving as member of the mayoral committee for health and social development under Action SA’s Herman Mashaba.
Obviously, with Phalatse being a medical doctor, Health For Mzansi went searching through her files because, well, we stan a health professional.
She qualified at Sefako Makgatho University and the former Medunsa and did her internship at Tembisa Hospital in 2005. Phalatse is also a certified independent medical examiner with the American board of independent medical examiners.
We also admire the fact that she worked as a sexual assault care practitioner at the Far East Rand Hospital in Springs, Gauteng and served on the professional conduct committee of the Health Professions Council of South Africa.
Five quick facts on Dr Mpho
- Medicine called her: Phalatse actually first set her sights on a career in chemical engineering before realising her true passion: medicine.
- Public health passion: Her pull to politics began at the Alexandra clinic in Jozi. Here she noted that the living conditions of the community was linked to ongoing public health challenges in a vicious cycle which required principled government leadership.
- Medicine over business: She traded her statoscope working as a project manager for six years, exploring service delivery at mining houses. She then registered her company to render disability consulting services to SASSA in Gauteng and North West. Seeing abject poverty in underdeveloped villages in North-West drove Phalatse to suspend her business and return to Gauteng where she registered for a Master’s degree in public health at Wits university in 2011.
- Making nkgono proud: She was born and raised in Tshwane where she grew up with her grandmother in Hebron, Pretoria. She later moved to Mabopane where she lived with her parents who are teachers.
- Ngwana ko Kasi: Her favourite foods include hard body chicken with bogobe ba ting (brown, sour pap), chicken livers and garlic prawns.