Single Mom of 3, Doctor Becomes First Black Woman Mayor of Johannesburg

Dr. Mpho Phalatse

In November 2021, Dr. Mpho Phalatse became the first democratically elected Black woman Mayor of the city of Johannesburg, South Africa. This is the first time that a woman has been Mayor since the city was established in 1886. Not only she is a single parent of three children aged 5, 11, and 18, but she is also a medical doctor who graduated from Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University.

Now as the mayor of the third largest city in South Africa, she is heavily focused on rolling out bulk services such as water and electricity to underprivileged neighborhoods and exploring the potential to use renewable energy solutions for households.

Dr. Phalatse also says that her goal is to clean up the city’s billing system to ensure accurate and adequate billing for basic services in a bid to improve revenue collection. She has also vowed to take a tougher stance against fraud and corruption and run an administration that is honest, transparent, accountable, and responsive.

After earning a Master of Medicine (Mmed) in Public Health Medicine at Wits University in 2011, she worked as a casualty officer at the Alexandra Community Health Centre and as a sexual assault care practitioner at Far East Rand Hospital. She simultaneoulsy served on the Professional Conduct Committee of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA).

Her career in politics began in 2016 when she was appointed to serve as a Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Health and Social Development, a role in which she championed the city’s urban agriculture program. She also had a career in corporate coaching with the Global Institute for Organisational Coaching, where she mentored young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.