DCEO Management Support

Dr Udesh Pillay

Dr Udesh Pillay is the Deputy CEO: Management Support at the HSRC. He holds a PhD in urban and economic geography from the University of Minnesota, USA and an MA in urban geography (cum laude) from the University of Natal.

Prior to his appointment as DCEO: Management Support, Dr Pillay was Eexecutive Director (ED) in the Office of the CEO, where he provided strategic support to the CEO in overseeing a cluster of large projects to ensure integration of work across programmes and to reduce the outsourcing of work. He is also assisting with the co-ordination and integration of new entities into the HSRC and providing strategic and intellectual direction to the organisation's many international collaborations and engagements. He is also assisting in ensuring alignment between the 'research' and 'support' divisions of the organisation.

Prior to this, Dr Pillay was head of the Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery (DGSD) research programme at the HSRC and, before that, Executive Head of the HSRC's Surveys, Analyses, Mapping and Modelling (SAMM) programme. He also headed the Urban, Rural and Economic Development (URED) research programme and initiated, in 2008, a Centre focusing on evidence-based research to accelerate the delivery of basic services to marginalised communities in South Africa.

Dr Pillay has been in executive management for over fifteen years.

Before joining the HSRC, Dr Pillay was the General Manager of the Delimitation and Planning Directorate of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), overseeing the 1999 national and 2000 municipal elections. Prior to that he was a Senior Manager at the Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE). He has previously lectured at the Universities of Natal, Pretoria, Wits and Durban-Westville, and has consulted widely in his area of expertise  in both the public and private sectors.

Dr Pillay has led and managed a number of support units (HR, Legal, IT, Finance) in his previous role as General Manager at the IEC. These were units that were enabled from scratch as the IEC became a permanent entity in 1998. Dr Pillay also has vast experience in managing service providers, and in ensuring that all compliance and co-operative governance protocols are/ have been observed in both his previous and current positions. He has a strong performance-management orientation.

As an urban and economic geographer, Dr Pillay's key areas of expertise include urban development and renewal, local government reform and restructuring, local economic development, service delivery, urban policy and electoral geography. His PhD dissertation dealt with local economic development initiatives in South Africa, with specific reference to the case of Durban. Recent interests also include research into the impact of mega-sporting events on urban areas and livelihoods, and public opinion and attitudinal research. Dr Pillay has strong research design, methodology and quantitative analysis skills.

Dr Pillay's publications in peer-reviewed books, journals and the print and electronic media, numbering over a hundred, have dealt mainly with issues of urban development and social change in South Africa, urban policy, global city competitiveness, and the uniqueness of `locality'. He is the co-editor of South African Social Attitudes: Changing Times, Diverse Voices, HSRC Press, 2006;  Democracy and Delivery: Urban Policy in South Africa, HSRC Press, 2006 and Development and Dreams: The Urban Legacy of the 2010 Football World Cup, HSRC Press 2010. He is co-editor of the next edition of the HSRC’s flagship publication; “State of the Nation”, due for release in February 2013.

Dr Pillay commentates widely on issues of urban development and policy in the print and electronic media.