Makgola Makololo

Acting deputy director general for energy, department of public enterprises

Being smart, hardworking and having a fascination for how things work has seen Makgola Makololo leap from village girl in Limpopo to qualified electrical engineer at Eskom and Sasol, and finally to the public sector to gain an understanding of policy- making and regulation.

Now 34, Makololo is the acting deputy director general for energy in the department of public enterprises, leading a professional team of financial analysts, economists and engineers. Makgola believes radical delivery of energy on the African continent will be a key enabler for both human development and economic prosperity.

“I’m often asked why I chose to join the public sector rather than run my own business. I derive great satisfaction from being of service to others, and have dedicated my life to doing so. I believe policymaking is the foundation of how society develops, and as young people we need to actively influence policy formation. It is in realising the impact that it has on lives that I find fulfilment and motivation,” she says.

Makololo considers the public sector an intense place to work, particularly in the translation of policy into actual programmes that define service delivery. “Politicians and bureaucrats speak different languages, and the success of public servants can be defined by their ability to translate policy and political speak into actionable programmes. As a highly technical person, I had to find ways to make a transition and to navigate between these two spheres of operation to be able to be effective in serving the executive.”

Makololo was elected as one of the top 80 emerging leaders in science and technology in Africa and the Middle East by the US state department, and participated in TechWomen in 2013, an exchange programme for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

— Linda Doke

Twitter: @MakgolaM