Dream it, achieve it, says ANC MP Brandon Pillay on attaining his Master's Degree
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Durban: Brandon Pillay, an ANC Member of Parliament in the National Assembly, recently graduated from UKZN with a Master’s in public administration.
The 40-year-old from Chatsworth said that after completing his Honours in public administration, he decided to pursue his Master's.
“The Master’s took me two years and one semester to complete. The degree means that I can occupy more leadership roles in the public sector at the highest political and administrative echelons. I have now been accepted with a full firm offer at UKZN as a PhD student. I will start studying again in January.”
He said the topic for his Master’s research was: “An exploration of the eThekwini Municipality indigent policy and its administration with a focus on the provision of basic services.”
“It looked at addressing the huge issue of the three-fold challenges of poverty, a lack of employment and disparities. I found that there is a lack of internal control systems, a consolidated approach to execution, and a dedicated office to deal with the roll-out of support,” he said.
Pillay said he began working with communities while a teenager.
“My late mother always wanted me to be a doctor. I never had an interest in this field as my life has always been about community and development. At the age of 17, while schooling, I began student activism.
"In 2011, I was elected as the ward councillor in my area (Bayview). Over the years, I became the chairperson of the Bayview Flats Residents’ Association, the Bayview Civic Association, and the Bayview Community Policing Forum.
“I joined the Umtapo Centre and also represented the country abroad in the Netherlands and South Wales. I served many other leadership roles, including the Chatsworth Youth Club, the 1860 Heritage Foundation and the Ubuntu Community Development. These would be before, during, and after being a councillor. I also worked within the eThekwini Municipality as a programme officer and later as a manager. Currently, I am a member of Parliament in the National Assembly.”
He said his life transformed when he met some of his role models, including Professor Ashwin Desai and the late Professor Fatima Meer.
“They ensured that I become soaked in the struggles faced by my community and the flat dwellers of Bayview. I also draw inspiration from my spiritual life and my walk with the Lord Jesus Christ. I am also inspired by my family, in particular my only sister, Shantal, my close friends, community and the masses.”
Pillay advises youth to never give up on their dreams and aspirations.
“If you can dream it, you can achieve it. My advice to the youth is to break free from their mundane and ordinary thinking. They must also break the cycle of poverty. If no one in your family went to university, it doesn’t mean that you can’t. Overcome this, change it, and be the game-changer and the trendsetter.
“I hope that this journey will inspire others. I have not stopped climbing. I know my parents in the heavens above will be smiling upon me. I know that Professor Meer would be immensely proud.
“The challenge is to turn our experience and knowledge to the benefit of our communities. To be brave, to have the courage to stand up, to be able to learn, to debate but not to impose. Above all, always remember to humble yourself before God and the people you serve.”
Pillay also has a diploma in community development and political science, a Bachelor degree in public administration, a NQF 6 qualification in advanced health management, and a diploma in theology.