Ellen Kornegay


Ellen passed away on July 4, 2021 in South Africa


Since her retirement in June 2014, Dr. Kornegay has worked on the drafting of South Africa’s Fourth National Plan of Action for Children (2019-2024). In 2016 and 2017 she conducted the annual pre-screening and pre-ranking of South African applicants for the Senior Fulbright Research program.  In 2016 she co-supervised UNISA second year social work group work students.


Prior to her retirement she worked in various capacities for the Government of South Africa from 1997 to 2014.  Her final post was as an Advisor to the Deputy Minister for Public Service and Administration.


She has served in various senior level positions with the government.  She managed a special project titled: The Repositioning of the Public Service. The Minister for Public Service and Administration (MPSA) was requested by cabinet to assess whether the public service has been sufficiently transformed to facilitate the desired goal of a Developmental State in South Africa. The exercise was expected to consolidate public service gains and minimize weakness and challenges. 


Earlier she served as Deputy Director General for Governance in the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA).  She resumed this post after having been seconded by the DPSA to assist the Ministry of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities to establish a National Department that incorporated various existing units dealing with women, children and disabled persons.  In this capacity, she drafted a strategic framework and coordinated the development of the new structure as well as submission of the annual Medium-Term Expenditure Frameworks from 2010 to 2013.


From 2006 to 2009, she served as a Deputy Director General for Governance at DPSA.  In that capacity she established the Governance Branch and successfully guided its growth from a secretariat into a proactive international program.  Core responsibilities included oversight of the Anti-Corruption program, and Monitoring and Evaluation. She also drafted a proposal for establishing a research directorate for the department.


In addition she supervised and drafted South Africa’s First Report on implementing the African Peer Review Mechanism of the African Union. She also led the establishment of the India, Brazil South Africa (IBSA) Working Group on Public Services and Administration within the framework of South Africa’s South-South initiative.


From 2003 to 2006, she served as Chief Director for Programmes in the Policy Co-ordination and Advisory Services Office in the Presidency. This office provided professional leadership and administrative oversight for the office of the Status of Women (OSW), Office of the Disabled Persons and the Office (OSDP) on the Rights of the Child (ORC). She also managed the Presidential working group on women.


Prior to this position, she served for ten months (2002-2003) as a Senior Gender and Organizational development expert with the African Union (AU).  At the request of the AU she was part of the Task Force that proposed a new structure for the AU as it transformed from the Organisation of the African Unity (OAU) into the AU. The critical challenge was to ensure that the new structure could deliver on the new AU mandate. This structure was adopted in part by the African Heads of State at the Maputo Summit in 2003.


Before working with the AU she was the Head of The Spousal Office in the Presidency. This was a new structure established in 2001 as part of the Presidency’s organizational structure.  This office was established to provide technical, professional and logistical support to the First Lady and all spouses of future Heads of State.  Her tenure in this post was preceded by a five year term as a Chief Executive officer of the Office of the Status of Women.


After leaving CIE and before joining the Government she worked in the South African NGO sector focusing on gender issues. She was part of the national research team which conducted a national study that informed integration of gender equality into the South African Constitution.  [7-20]


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CIE Graduate