Story by: Motsieng Mooketsi
Potchefstroom: Born, bread and buttered in the city of expertise “Tlokwe” as she puts it. Ntombi Koloti is a woman of stature, grace and a leader of note who was discovered at a tender age by the ANC that she can add value and wisdom to the people’s movement through her vibrant character and leadership qualities.
She is the eldest of the three siblings, the first born of Dimakatso Koloti their mother who raised them well and taught them to respect others and remain humble throughout their lives. She herself is a mother of two boys and looking after the daughter of her late sister Rorisang Koloti.
Her journey in politics started when she was just nine years old after she establishing a cultural group called “Phumelelani” which was doing performing arts, cultural dances and stage drama plays, the group performed for many years at the “Mmabana Cultural Calabash” she recalls the glorious days of their group which was the first cultural group in the then “Southern Region” to ever play the “June 16” students uprisings to showcase the happenings of this historic moment in South Africa, she was 14 years old when they won the runner ups to the “Mmabana Cultural Group” and through the group they did a lot of play for the Provincial Aids Council and National Aids Council when it took the Aids Education to communities. “I used to do a lot of writing and playing for the group and we wrote and played for the Aids Council’s activities. After her matric in 2001 when she was a freelance journalist for Herald and Gazette news paper which is under Media 24 for a period of two years between 2001 and 2002, the ANC then said to her they wanted her skill, that is when she started working as a volunteer for the ANC’s parliamentary constituency office, which her duty was to manage members of parliament and their diaries during recess, as a parliamentary liaising officer to liaise with communities. Later on they would establish a news paper called “Tlokwe News” which is currently circulating in Potchefstroom, that news paper is a brain child of the ANC she says.
Ntombi Koloti is a leader who believes in the notion that leaders are born but in as much as they are born there should always be knowledge enhancement throughout the journey of leadership. She is the first ever woman “Single Whip and Chief Whip” of the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality and ANC. She is one of the youngest leaders to be deployed by the ANC in the country. Koloti believes in women empowerment and referred to the ANC’s policy of a 50% women representation in government, and says women should be given a space to lead based on their capacity and skills. Currently the North West Province which is under the leadership of Premier Supra Mahumapelo has more female MECs and more female Mayors in all 23 municipalities of the province.
“We acknowledge that we haven’t done much transformation into the Parastals and some of the SOE’s (State Owned Entities) we need to say the women’s league which is is the voice of women need to be more organised to make sure we bring more capacitate women to fill up those spaces including in academia” said Koloti.
In the middle of her busy schedule with the support of her p.a Annelize Swarts and staff manager Mr Gaba she still finds time to mentor young women across all areas of growth especially in the leadership sphere in the country which is something that started in the district, went provincial and now its a national thing.
When touching on the femicide issue she says it’s unfortunate that South Africa is still getting used to understanding the democratic state, the freedom of expression and the expression on our sexuality as people and sexual preferences is something that needs to be educated in society, in families at organizations and a church as an organization is where a bold move needs to be taken to orientate this issue so that people live freely and are able to express their freedom. She believes that we as a nation we don’t value the importance of family setups whether black or white, previously they engaged with police who gave a sad reality about children as young as nine years old being in prison and this is attributed to the fact that many kids do not have a father figure in their lives as they are raised by single parents and many women opt to having kids with different men trying to chase stability and in most cases this does not work, kids from both poor and rich families are exposed to societal ills and this is a mixture of the poor influencing the rich and the rich influencing the poor. She made a call to men to start taking family setups serious and take pride in providing for their families because all what women want is men that can take care of their responsibilities.
Ntombi Koloti did not mince her words when she spoke about the potential of having a female president in the next coming five years. She made references to African female leaders like former President of Malawi Joyce Banda and Ellen Sirleaf of Liberia, and says South Africa has more than enough women who qualify with their leadership credentials, skills and qualities to say we are ready as a country to be led by a woman.
At the time of this interview the caucus of the Dr Kenneth Kaunda was sitting to finalize the logistics of the women’s month celebrations and an agreement was reached that board rooms will be left and one of the things they have committed to do is to talk to young women on their hygiene and issues that affect them in their growth as young women, how do they protect themselves and also talk to young boys as to how they should protect these young women.
Her massage to women is that they must believe in themselves. “You know when you start believing in yourself, you start knowing what you want in life, where you want to go, how you want to achieve your ultimate goals, what are the necessary resources, people that would want to support you and the kind of friends you surround yourself with will determine where you should go in life, because life is a challenge in whatever we do but we should focus and be able to rise above against all circumstances”
Her credentials in governance, events hosting, presentations, academics and personal initiatives speak in volumes.
- She has a ward councillor at Tlokwe Local Municipality from 2006 – 2011
- Member of the mayoral committee from 2011 – 2016 in the district and served in the economic development and tourism portfolio
- Since 2011 till present she is presiding in the district bursary committee over a R5 Million budget
- Went to Lusaka, Zambia to present a media brief in honor of the 1st independence of Dr Kenneth Kaunda
- By 2015 she gave a media closing remarks on behalf of SADC during the Shanganani World Tourism Expo in Harare.
- 2014 she was the acting speaker for the North West legislature youth parliament.
- In line with the black industrialist agenda she has been serving as a chairperson of the steering committee since 2014 and present to establish a boat manufacturing plant in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District that has the potential to create about 1500 jobs for young people with a 45 Million to its name.
- Charing the steering committee to establish the Dr Kenneth Kaunda SMME and Cooporatives incubation centre.
- She currently serving as Chief whip of the ANC and the Single Whip of the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality.
She has hosted the most prestigious events in the district as well as in the province.
- In 2012 she was an MC at the ANC 100 years celebrations in Sun City, Rustenburg.
- Followed by On Point Solutions Power Tea
- And On Point Phenomenal Women
- North West small business and cooperatives summit for minister of small business development.
- International Day Cooperative Summit in Taung.
- North Skills Service SETA launch
And then made presentations for;
- The role of young women in Economic Development in the North West Province through the North West Legislature Speaker.
- Using the Freedom Charter to achieve the leadership of women in the continent.
An academic in her own right she has education to backup her leadership prowess and capabilities.
- With a diploma in management NQF level 06 through Southren Business School.
- NQF level 08 course certificate in the developmental and management of local government Wits University and;
- NQF 06 and 07 course certificate in program management and development of local government.
- She is currently studying advanced diploma in management with only 03 subjects left before she graduates.
Other Personal Initiatives include;
- Booking 45 students between 2012 and 2014 into a matric re-write program in Potchefstroom
- Facilitated the intake of 10 students to the Mangaung Traffic College to acquire qualifications in traffic management and;
- For the next coming period of 2016 to 2018 a target of 10 000 youth with incomplete matric re-write program with the department of education in North West.