Chief Operations Officer
The City of uMhlathuze has followed the model of many successful companies by appointing its first ever Chief Operations Officer in a proactive step to provide strategic support to the Municipal Manager and improve efficiencies with the Municipality. Nathi Mthethwa joined the Municipality at the beginning of April and brings with him 19 years of practical experience in the Local Government sector, a string of impressive qualifications, as well as a strong personal drive as a local government activist. He lived in both the rural areas and townships, and he grew up with the burden of no water, no electricity, the toilet bucket system, gravel roads, grey water running down the streets, two street lights in a 1km radius, waste removal was inconsistent and illegal dumping was rife.
Mr Nathi Mthethwa who has dedicated his studies and career to being a local government activist and who is mindful of the plight of the vulnerable sectors of society who need and rely on government support. Amongst his qualifications he holds a Masters’ in Business Administration (MBA) and is currently completing a Master of Philosophy in Urban Infrastructure Design and Management at the University of Cape Town. During his career he has worked for different municipalities and the Department of Local Government and Traditional Affairs (now COGTA) where he served as the Director of Urban and Rural Development for the Coastal Region in Durban. However, it was in 2005 when his career path took a steep trajectory when joined the City of Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest metropolitan with 260 councillors, 130 wards, a budget in excess of R45 billion, 13 municipal-owned companies and a staff complement of 30 000 people. He has also worked for the City of Ekurhuleni. After holding the positions of Regional Director of Community Services and later Regional Director of Urban Management and Inner City Regeneration, he was appointed to the Office of the Executive Mayor where he served as Group Head of Group Citizen Relationship and Urban Management reporting directly to the City Manager. As such a large part of his career has been focused on local economic transformation, development of alternative service delivery models, business excellence, customer-centric organisations and operational efficiencies and it is this experience that he plans to use so that uMhlathuze can realise its potential as a “Global City of the future” characterized by socio-economic inclusion.
While many see moving from a big metro to a medium size City as a step backwards, Nathi knows the City well and he is excited by the move because apart from bringing him closer to his family, who live in the City, the Municipality is gearing for a growth phase and unprecedented change, and is poised for great things. Cities like Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town have become saturated. The country is looking for new growth areas and we need to put uMhlathuze on the map. As a port city we already enjoy international interest and the establishment of the IDZ show effort by Government to leverage industries and promote black industrialists.” He believes uMhlathuze has strong potential due to its status as a city with its own port,IDZ and university as well as strategic corridors and nodes, which can be used to attract investors and create a strong catchment area for development so that we can decisively arrest unemployment and poverty. “As the largest City in northern KwaZulu-Natal. we are strategically located to do greater things albeit with more speed.” Not one to seek out the limelight, MrMthethwa prefers to roll up his sleeves and work to make real differences behind the scenes. He’s a strong promoter of service delivery and believes all communities of uMhlathuze deserve the same high standards of service and that officials should have a sense of accountability and serve diligently and with great enthusiasm. So while you may not always see him around you can be guaranteed of seeing the effects of his hard work.