Deon Pretorius – an ICLD mentor

Deon Pretorius from South Africa is as a professor of Sociology and Development Studies. He is a mentor for the Leadership in Local Governance programme which aims to improve local and institutional governance.

Deon Pretorius has been working in the field of societal development for more than 30 years. By being at mentor for ICLD, he gets a unique opportunity to apply his knowledge in specific contexts related to the programme. Working for ICLD is not new for him – for the last four years he has been the co-ordinator for the Nelson Mandela Bay/Gothenburg municipal partnership project.

”I wanted to become a mentor for the ICLD because I think it is an excellent organisation that does important work”.

Deon Pretorius sees his role as someone who gives guidance to the programme teams, to ensure that their work is coherent and consistent. He provides them with literature and material to enable them to analyse the context in which they work. His eventual goal is that the work of the Teams that he mentors acquires a life beyond the immediate project years.

Working with the ICLD has not only given him a unique and valuable experience, it has also given him the chance to learn more about the ”Nordic Model”. It is a model which he believes has a lot to offer the rest of the world. Therefore, he hopes to work on more programs with the ICLD, spreading lessons from the Nordic countries to other parts of South Africa and elsewhere.

It makes him proud to see government officials and politicians overcoming obstacles in a short period of time and make progress within the projects of the programme. What really stands out for him are the moments when Team members show commitment to the approach that he is promoting – without himself being present to promote it.

His greatest satisfaction is when people realise that the best way to achieve their own interests is to take a pragmatic step-by-step approach and collaborate with others so that all participants can achieve their own interests. His best example is the project initiated in the Sundays River Valley to renovate a sports ground in a local community. There the parties realized that helping others – is to help themselves.