Ms Mmapula Portia Kekana holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in Education, Business Economics and English (Vista University), a Higher Diploma in Education (University of Cape Town), a Bachelors Degree in Education (honours) (Vista University) as well as an MSc in Social Protection Financing (University of Mauritius). An experienced teacher, trainer and development planner, Ms Kekana started working for the Department of Education from 1992 to 1998 as a teacher. Later she was recruited by ASCH Consulting Engineers as a development planner to co-ordinate social impact assessment and to facilitate the monitoring and evaluation of incident management systems and road safety training. Mrs Kekana has made profound contribution in the public participation process on the two major toll road projects in South Africa. She then joined South African Management Development Institute (SAMDI) as a senior training adviser to develop and present skills development interventions for service delivery departments in the Public Sector. The service offering included establishment of training needs, design and development of learning solutions as well as the implementation of those solutions. During this time, she developed a team-building manual for use during team building facilitation for the public service officials by all training facilitators. As a project manager with the National Skills Fund of the National Department of Labour, she had to ensure that funded training and skills development projects were well aligned to labour market demands. Working very closely with the Skills Planning Unit of the Department of Labour, Ms. Kekana also played a key oversight role in ensuring that the sector skills plans submitted by the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) to the Department presented clear and concise competency frameworks. This process involved thorough profiling of positions in the sector as well as assessments of existing employees. Every sector’s talent landscape and skills development strategies as well as career path and succession plans were carefully analysed and monitored periodically for implementation success, challenges etc. Sector competence risk analysis, evaluation and review of intervention impact formed an integral part of the service offering. From 2007 to 2016, Ms Kekana was with the National Department of Social Development (DSD) as a director for Employment Assistance, a directorate developing policies seeking to link social grant beneficiaries to poverty alleviation strategies and economic activity. This was done through Labour Market trends analysis and piloting of certain policy instruments. Ms. Kekana has been active in the activities of the International Social Security Association (ISSA), amongst others, she represented the DSD in the working group on the sub-project: Supporting Employment and Activity, within the Technical Committee: Employment Policies and Unemployment Insurance as well as being the national project co-ordinator for ISSA’s 30th General Assembly, the World Social Security Forum (WSSF), held in Cape Town in November 2010. Ms. Kekana developed a manual to train members of parliament on "National Social Protection Floors as well as Social Risk Management" in September 2012. From August 2016, Ms. Kekana joined the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) as the Head of Programme Operations, responsible for supporting the achievement of NEDLAC’s mandate (Promotion of social dialogue for the formulation of coordinated social and economic policy) in conjunction with the Executive Director and in consultation with the Constituency Leadership, as well as driving of the implementation of NEDLAC strategy by leading and guiding the Operations team. Amongst other things, Ms. Kekana developed a concept note titled "To link Child Support Grant to Financial Institutions" and she also contributed on the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) Foundation website through a blog post titled "Youth Programs as a path to Financial Inclusion in South Africa." (15 December 2015). She remains highly active in public policy discourse, is an ardent proponent of social protection and advocates for social justice.