Mr Mpho Parks Tau is the current Deputy Minister of the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) as appointed on 06 March 2023.
He made his mark as a leading advocate of local government in South Africa, Africa and across the globe – serving as the President of the world body, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), as well as the President of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA).
As a proven innovative and effective leader in government, Mr Tau has been advancing the interests of a developmental local government in a bid to locate the sector at the centre of a changing world, and promote collaborations with strategic partners locally and across the globe.
He is the former Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, wherein he drove a spatial and socio-economic transformation agenda to create sustainable opportunities for communities in the metropolitan municipality by confronting past injustices, as well as present and future challenges.
Mr Tau is a seasoned local government practitioner, who has, for over 20 years, selflessly served in various local government portfolios in Johannesburg that include Development Planning, Transport, Environment, Economic Development and Finance.
He also currently serves as the elected ANC Gauteng Treasurer. Born in Orlando West, Soweto, and having been exposed to the brutal injustices of apartheid in the township as a teenager, Mr Tau took a decision to join the Congress of South African Students (COSAS) in pursued of liberation and social justice.
His activism and commitment to the liberation cause saw him elected the president of the Student Representative Council at PACE Commercial College in Soweto, followed by the presidency of the Soweto Youth Congress, and later a leading member of its subsequent incarnation, the ANC Youth League.
Post 1994, Mr Tau continued to be elected into roles that enabled him to help build a united and equitable South Africa. These roles included being the Regional Secretary of the ANC in the Greater Johannesburg Region, and serving on the Southern Metropolitan Local Council’s Urban Development Committee.
He went on to serve as a Member of the Mayoral Committee in the City of Johannesburg after the first democratic elections at city level in the year 2000. He subsequently become the Executive Mayor of Johannesburg in 2011.
Mr Tau has also led as the co-Chairperson of the United Nations High Level Independent Panel, which was established and concluded in 2017 to improve the effectiveness of the UN-Habitat – a human settlements and sustainable urban development programme.
Furthermore, he is a board member of the World Resources Institute (WRI) – Ross Centre for Sustainable Cities, and the former Chairperson of the South African Cities Network.
Mr Tau’s highest academic credentials include being a University of London alumni with a Masters in Public Policy and Management.