Lwandiso Mpepho
Joined Meer in August 2023
Lwandiso Mpepho

I was born and raised in the late 1970s, in the rural village Ndlovini, in Keiskammahoek, in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa.

I studied my primary and high school grades in my rural village. After graduating from high school with university admission results, I relocated to Port Elizabeth (now known as Gqeberha) to pursue further education. I studied for my first Bachelor’s Degree in Administration at Vista University which was later merged with the University of Port Elizabeth and Port Elizabeth Technikon to establish what is currently known as the Nelson Mandela University. I graduated with my first degree in a record time of three years in April 2002 with a distinction in Public Administration as one of my majors. I then pursued post-graduate studies at the University of South Africa, an Honours Degree in Political Studies and graduated in April 2004 with distinction in Comparative Politics.

During my diplomatic assignment in Mexico City, I continued studying at the Alliant International University (an American university satellite campus) for a Masters's Degree in International Relations and I graduated in December 2009 with seven A grades and three B grades. In 2013, I graduated with my second Master’s Degree in Political Studies by full dissertation (research) entitled “MERCOSUR-SACU Relations: an examination of the revised initiative for South-South Cooperation”, at the Nelson Mandela University. In June 2021, I completed my PhD in International Relations at the University of Pretoria with the thesis entitled “The management of international migration at South Africa’s ports of entry: an analysis of the post-1994 trade-immigration policy nexus”.

My professional work experience started in 2002 when I joined the South African Revenue Service (SARS) Customs Division. During my three years at SARS, I moved up the ranks to occupy the position of a Quality Assurer which exposed me to various aspects of organisational strategy, policymaking and management of special projects. In particular, I managed the implementation of the Customs and Excise Act with a focus on exports and imports fields. The work also entailed formulation, implementation and evaluation of trade-related risks and ensuring compliance with the government’s trade policies and protocols. In 2006 I joined the diplomatic service as an Assistant Director: Foreign Service. As a diplomat, I got exposed to work with not only South African international relations role-players but also with representatives of foreign governments, international organisations, civil society and multinational companies doing business in South Africa and the rest of the African continent.

My combined experience of working at South African Diplomatic Missions in Mexico (2008-2011) as a First Secretary Political and Acting-Counsellor, and in Madagascar (2014-2018) as a First Secretary Political/Counsellor (number two most senior official at the Embassy), provided me with more professional development opportunities, including but not limited to, broad exposure and immense experience to directly contribute, influence, implement and evaluate government strategies and special projects cutting across government departments. The responsibilities included negotiating cooperation agreements, planning and organising with various stakeholders, high-level engagements such as State Visits, Working Visits, international conferences, workshops and seminars, and participation in trade fairs, to mention a few. I have practical experience and insights into the participation and coordination of South Africa’s involvement in international multilateral engagements. I also have experience in part-time lecturing a course in Office Administration at College Campus in Pretoria. Since 2006, I have acted on various occasions as Deputy Director for different periods of time from weeks to months.

My several academic qualifications in public administration, political sciences, political economy and international relations, as well as professional training in management and policy studies, enable me to make an effective and positive contribution to organisational processes, among others, formulation and managing business plans, strategy and policy implementation, monitoring and evaluation, stakeholder relations management, intergovernmental relations management and coordination, project management, human and financial resources utilisation and management, planning and organising.

My career interests are in the broad fields of international relations, international political economy, development studies and public administration.

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