Persuading people that the municipality of Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg is an attractive place in which to live, work and invest is the job of 34-year-old Leston Motsepe, a senior communications and brand management officer for the City of Ekurhuleni.
Much of his work revolves around building better communities for its existing citizens, by giving people access to information and access to a city that delivers services efficiently and adds dignity to their living conditions.
Motsepe is a strong believer that public servants are there to serve, and can only bring about transformative change through their efficient services to others.
He was born in the small town of Heilbron in the Free State and finished high school in Boksburg, east of Johannesburg. His desire to improve the community stems from his experience of growing up in suburbs impoverished by crime, high unemployment and a lack of economic opportunities. As a result, he’s passionate about supporting affordable housing development projects to offer dignified living spaces to low income families. He’s also committed to developing programmes for young entrepreneurs and academics to help them brainstorm their ideas and give them access to information and tools to put them into action.
He’s the youngest amongst his working peers by 10 years, and he’s driving efforts to use digital technology to enhance the work of the council and its officers. Digital channels are becoming increasingly prevalent in how communities and public officials engage, and allow more active public participation and cooperation. Online communications also allow real time responses to challenges in the city, allowing public servants to reach their citizens faster and more efficiently.
Motsepe finds the work both challenging and exciting, and he’s a huge believer in self-discovery by absorbing the wisdom and knowledge shared by those who have travelled the road before him. He holds a national diploma in communications and marketing and is currently completing a degree in international relations, politics and psychology at the University of the Witwatersrand.
In 2017, he was invited to join the inaugural Apolitical Academy fellowship programme started by former Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader and Harvard graduate Lindiwe Mazibuko. This is a non-partisan leadership programme designed to develop the next generation of young leaders to occupy public office or political structures.
He’s also a part-time preacher, social activist and speaker at churches and conferences, and was a guest speaker at the International Global Young People’s Convocation 2018, a church conference attended by delegates from over 40 countries. – Lesley Stones