Public Sector Leaders | January 2024

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MALUSI SHEZI, CEO, CONSTRUCTION, EDUCATION, AND TRAINING AUTHORITY Tailoring services to meet dynamic economic needs


Our new Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka


SA Judge elected to United Nations’ top court Dire Tladi

FINANCIAL FITNESS Tips for 2024 A year planner

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Editorial 20 | Professionalising the public sector

Building trust, capacity and development

22 | COP28

44 | World AIDS Day Let communities lead

46 | Special Investigative Unit Striking against corruption

50 | Data protection

Internet banking: Cybercriminal background

Calls for more countries to support the Just Energy Transition

52 | Festive travel

30 | Tsepo Kgobe

54 | Volunteering

New CEO at the Gautrain Management Agency

56 | Recipes

Enjoy flapjacks and sticky wings this festive season

64 | Africa’s fastestgrowing companies

South Africa dominates the top 50

Lawlessness will not be tolerated How to give back this festive season

32 | 2023 - it’s a wrap! We share some of the highlights from 2023

34 | Thirty year retrospective

An overview of the major local and global events from the past 30 years

40 | Reconciliation

Building a united and cohesive nation

42 | 16 Days of Activism Leave no-one behind


Features 10 | Addressing the Nation

Working together for a better 2024

12 | Cover Story

Malusi Shezi: Transforming Construction, Education, and Training Authority (CETA)

24 | Women in Leadership

Carmen-Joy Abrahams, Deputy Director-General: Professional Services

26 | In Other News

Professor Dire Tladi elected to United Nation’s top court

28 | Trailblazer

The new Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka

48 | Regional Focus

South Africa’s first smart rural village: Gwakani

58 | Legal Matters

Bonuses, leave, overtime and tax: 5 misconceptions and myths

60 | Financial Fitness

Tips to help you achieve financial success in 2024

62 | Upcoming Events

Festive Safety Awareness Month

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Letter from the


Welcome to the December/January edition of Public Sector Leaders (PSL)


n his letter to the nation, penned on 11th December, His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa took the opportunity to review the successes as well as the challenges of 2023; the challenges include the impact on our economy of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict and instability in the global economy as well as, locally, loadshedding and inefficiency at our ports and railways.

The good news is that companies have continued to invest in our economy. At the fifth South Africa Investment Conference earlier this year, the target was not only reached, but surpassed for new investment commitments over five years. And the economy has grown, although way below its potential, with the number of people in employment having returned to pre-COVID levels - yet jobs are still not being created fast enough to reduce levels of unemployment. Whilst times are not easy, President Ramaphosa highlighted the fact that important strides have been made over the past year to fix the problems in our economy and society and lay the basis for a better 2024. H.E. concluded his last weekly newsletter for the year with the message: “I wish all South Africans a safe, peaceful and restful festive season as we all prepare for a successful new year.” In this bumper edition for December/ January we focus on the movers and shakers that are making the country and the economy a place that

overseas investors continue to see as a good investment. Inside, CETA CEO, Malusi Shezi, shows us how to turn a ship around while navigating a complex environment, and MD of VEA Road Maintenance and Civils, Thoko Tshabalala-Shandu continues to lead by example. Our Trailblazer is the new Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka and In Other News we celebrate the SA Judge elected to the United Nations’ top court - Dire Tladi. At this time of year there are two issues which either add or subtract to our capacity to exhale at the end of the year – leave and finances – and we have both covered in Legal Matters and Financial Fitness. Staying with our regulars, the Woman in Leadership for December/January is Ms Carmen-Joy Abrahams who has been appointed as the new Deputy Director-General (DDG): Professional Services with effect from November 2023, moving from her previous position of DDG: EPWP. Ms Abrahams has over 23 years of public sector experience in various sectors. Before her appointment as DDG, she had been a Chief Director: EPWP Partnership Support from 2010.

Our cornucopia of features includes taking a look at CIGFARO – professionalising the public sector; welcoming Gautrain’s incoming CEO, Tsepo Kgobe and bringing you an update on the Just Energy Transition news from COP28. The year 2024 marks the 30th anniversary of our democracy and to celebrate we have taken a look in the rear view, highlighting major events happening here at home and abroad. It would not be a December/January edition without a focus on 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence and the good, the bad and the ugly of 2023. This time of year is known as the silly season, so, of paramount importance is the Arrive Alive/Road Safety initiative – and for some light relief, when safely at home, there are some delicious treats for you to indulge in with friends and family in our festive Recipe Special. From all of us at Public Sector Leaders, we wish you a wonderful, peaceful, safe, end of year – a fantastic Friendsmas – and an energised, fulfilling, flourishing new year ahead. We hope you enjoy the read – and look forward to seeing you in 2024.


December 2023/ January 2024 | Public Sector Leaders | 9


Working together, we have laid the basis for a better 2024


n his letter to the nation, penned on 11th December, His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa took the opportunity to review the successes as well as the challenges of 2023; the challenges include the impact on our economy of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict and instability in the global economy as well as, locally, load shedding and inefficiency at our ports and railways.

The good news is that companies have continued to invest in our economy. At the fifth South Africa Investment Conference earlier this year, the target was not only reached, but surpassed for new investment commitments over five years. And the economy has grown, although way below its potential, with the number of people in employment having returned to pre-COVID levels - yet jobs are still not being created fast enough to reduce levels of unemployment. “While we continue to face a number of challenges, the electricity crisis is currently the main threat to our country’s progress. That is why I said in the State of the Nation Address in February that “our most immediate

task is to dramatically reduce the severity of load shedding in the coming months and ultimately end load shedding altogether.” “The work that has been done since then in implementing the Energy Action Plan is showing positive results, giving us greater confidence that we will bring load shedding to an end. While we experienced some of the worst load shedding ever in the first few months of the year, there has been a measurable and steady decline in the severity of load shedding over the last few months. Although electricity supply is still not stable, as we experienced in the last few weeks, the overall trend is towards less severe load shedding. Damaged units at the Kusile power station have been returned to service ahead of schedule and plant maintenance has received close attention,” – H.E. Ramaphosa Further cause for optimism lies in the regulatory reforms which have enabled an increase in private investment in electricity generation, with over 12 000 MW of confirmed projects in development. Following the introduction of

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tax incentives and financing mechanisms, the amount of installed rooftop solar has more than doubled to over 4 500 MW in the last year. Concerning transport, logistics and infrastructure, government is working closely with Transnet to relieve congestion and several significant infrastructure projects in areas like social housing, road construction, rural bridges and dams are contributing to the growth of the economy. “The Presidential Employment Stimulus has created work and livelihood opportunities for over 1.2- million people since its establishment. This has provided income, work experience and skills for many unemployed people. Over 4-million young people have registered on the SAYouth online platform to access work placement, training and other services. Through this platform more than 1-million young people have been able to access opportunities for learning and employment. “There have been improvements in governance. For example,

in her most recent report, Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke says ‘we have seen some encouraging signs of improvement in the ability of national and provincial governments to transparently report on their finances and performance and to comply with key legislation’. We are implementing legislation to build a more professional, ethical and capable public service. There has been important progress in other areas, including towards the introduction of a National Health Insurance to ensure greater equity in the provision of health care,” – His Excellency. Whilst times are not easy, President Ramaphosa highlighted the fact that important strides have been made over the past year to fix the problems in our economy and society and lay the basis for a better 2024. H.E. concluded his last weekly newsletter for the year with the message: “I wish all South Africans a safe, peaceful and restful festive season as we all prepare for a successful new year”.




he Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA) plays a pivotal role in the construction sector by collaborating with key stakeholders to enhance skills in the industry. Recent audits revealed significant overall performance growth; with a focus on achievements and overcoming obstacles, CETA stands resilient, evolving, and committed to shaping skills offering in the construction sector. After enduring a challenging period, in 2021 CETA embarked on a new chapter with the appointment, by the Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Innovation, of Malusi Shezi as CEO; with over 18 years’ experience in both the private and public sectors, spanning diverse areas including consulting, corporate governance, corporate advisory,risk management, property development, skills development, investments, accounting and finance and regulatory. He was a senior Manager at AGSA and spent 3 years seconded to the United Nations Board of Auditors in New York for international experience, where he audited the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF), UNDP and UNDPKO. Entrusted with navigating a complex landscape, Malusi addressed issues such as restructuring, alleged corruption, and a lack of trust. Through engagement with employees and union, the implementation of quality assurance processes, and the establishment of key committees, Malusi has successfully steered CETA into a positive organisational culture, rebuilding stakeholder relationships and confidence.

In a recent interview with Public Sector Leaders, Malusi shared insights into the challenges and transformations he has navigated since assuming the role in September 2021. LEGAL ACTION, FISCAL PRUDENCE AND TURNAROUND: CETA’S RESILIENCE SHINES Recent audits have shown CETA’s impressive performance, with a notable improvement from 62% overall in 2021/22 to an impressive 82% in 2022/23. Despite these achievements, the entity faced negative publicity, particularly regarding irregular expenditures, causing stakeholder concern. Upon closer examination, it’s evident that challenges were not due to a failure in adhering to Supply Chain Management (SCM) regulations but rather an overcharge post-competitive bidding. CETA’s decision to pursue legal action demonstrates its commitment to accountability, maintaining integrity and

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transparency. Achieving an 82% performance by spending only 61% of the approved budget resulted in a R10-million surplus for the 2022/23 fiscal year is a significant improvement from the previous deficit of R248-million. PATH TO SUCCESS: AMPLIFYING SKILLS AND ECONOMIC STRENGTH AMIDST CHALLENGES CETA’s mission defines its commitment and focus on implementing the National Skills Development Plan (NSDP 2023), with an emphasis on enhancing critical skills, strengthening the sector’s economic sustainability, and boosting its global competitiveness through collaborative engagement with employers, learners, training providers, Councils, universities, universities of technologies, TVETs, and Community Education and Training Colleges (CETs). TURNING THE SHIP AROUND There was a need to rebuild trust, address allegations, and work collaboratively with employees to instil the importance of change. Challenges extended to illegal strikes, addressing irregularly awarded tenders, and navigating a period without a functional board. Despite the obstacles, Malusi focused on transparency, diligent reporting, and engaging stakeholders to gradually stabilise the organisation. Addressing concerns about unauthorised transactions, bribery, and non-compliance, CETA not only took corrective actions but also remained vigilant in scrutinising and rectifying systemic issues. Under the leadership of CEO Malusi,

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the CETA team took decisive action to rectify irregularities, showcasing a commitment to ethical conduct and organisational rectitude. This ongoing commitment to accountability and transparent governance demonstrates CETA’s forward-looking approach, learning from past challenges and continuously improving to fulfil its mandate.

research capability and the quality assurance function at CETA. We are working to accelerate DG projects monitoring and evaluation to ensure all start and complete within prescribed timelines and quality output swiftly absorbable by the labour market is achieved.” 1. CETA sustainability and clean administration

3. Culture based on CETA values

UNVEILING CETA’S CORE MANDATE CETA’s core mandate, rooted in the Skills Development Act of 1998, revolves around ensuring a skilled and competent workforce in the construction and built environment. The organisation remains committed to establishing learning Programmes, approving workplace skills plans, allocating grants, and monitoring education and skills development. Although CETA has evolved its Programmes for higher impact and partnered with industry stakeholders, its fundamental mandate has remained unchanged.

SEVEN STRATEGIC PRIORITIES, FOCUS AREAS AND THEIR IMPACT Under Malusi’s leadership, CETA has made significant strides, ensuring financial stability, effective governance, stakeholder engagement, a positive organisational culture, skilled workforce, digitisation, credible research, and a strong brand presence.

“As CETA, we have improved how we implement our Programmes for higher impact and address the critical and scarce including hard to fill skills. We have partnered with industry to accelerate our strategic objectives and target achievements, improved our

• •

Objective: To ensure financial sustainability, robust policies and compliance. Success: The organisation experienced a noteworthy improvement in its financial status, culminating in a surplus of R10-million for the 2022/23 fiscal year. This positive shift was coupled with the streamlining of the benefits structure and the implementation of efficient quality assurance processes. Objective: Operate within delegations and transform into a high-performing institution. Success: CETA achieved an audited performance rating of 82% in the 2022/23 period, exceeding the set target of 80%. The strategic term targets are on a promising trajectory, averaging 56% completion two years before the term’s conclusion.

2. Effective stakeholder relationships • •

Objective: Foster fluid relationships leading to accelerated service delivery. Success: CETA embarked on a comprehensive countrywide stakeholder roadshow, engaging with stakeholders, receiving feedback, and

implementing action plans to address concerns. This initiative, along with increased partnerships and the introduction of the Built Environment Recognition Awards, has significantly strengthened stakeholder relationships.

Objective: Establish a culture based on fluid corporate values. Success: The organisation refined its values to reflect agility, results orientation, integrity, respect, and professionalism. These values have been seamlessly integrated into every CETA employee’s performance contract, fostering a cohesive and values-driven organisational culture.

4. Enhanced people competencies, skills, and engagement •

Objective: Develop competencies, skills, and engagement for excellence. • Success: CETA prioritised learning and development, providing staff bursary assistance and facilitating various short skills training Programmes. This resulted in a surge of employees, from junior to senior levels, pursuing education. Additionally, talent and leadership frameworks have been implemented to ensure career growth within CETA. 5. Digitisation, information, and knowledge management •

Objective: Ensure electronic processes, automation,

December 2023/ January 2024 | Public Sector Leaders | 15


• •

and effective knowledge management. Success: CETA has made strides in digitisation, institutionalising knowledge within the organisation. Plans are underway to appoint a provider to digitise legacy records, and Information and Knowledge Management (IKM) is in the process of being rolled out.

6. Research and innovation •

Objective: Base skills provisioning on credible research and enhance innovation. Success: CETA has focused on standardising learning materials, improving the quality of training providers, and conducting impactful research. Research topics have been approved, and partnerships with institutions like UJ and CIDB have facilitated meaningful studies on the impact of CETA Programmes and the implementation of Building Information Modeling (BIM) in university curricula.

7. CETA brand management • •

Objective: Achieve a strong brand positioning and positive brand experience. Success: CETA has successfully positioned its brand, creating a positive experience for stakeholders. The organisation adheres to a standard corporate identity in all

communications, implemented the Corporate Identity Manual (CIM), regularly updates social media accounts, and sponsors key industry events to showcase the CETA brand. ALIGNING SERVICES WITH ECONOMIC NEEDS CETA ensures its services meet the economic needs of the construction sector by updating its Sector Skills Plan (SSP), engaging with industry stakeholders, and supporting initiatives like World Skills South Africa. The entity collaborates with various institutions to balance skill supply and demand, contributing to sector growth. Malusi emphasises research, stakeholder engagement, and partnerships to ensure the entity’s services align with industry demands. STRONG PRIVATE SECTOR COLLABORATION Maintaining a robust relationship with the private sector, its primary contributor to funding, CETA ensures active participation in Skills Development Programmes, applications for grants, and partnerships outlined in Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs). Under Malusi’s leadership, positive changes at CETA focus on transparency, collaboration, and aligning services with industry requirements. The entity’s journey reflects a commitment to sustainable governance and fostering strong relationships with stakeholders for the benefit of the construction and training sector.

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Malusi highlights the significant relationship between CETA and the private sector, as the entity relies on contributions by private companies. The private sector’s 1% skills development levy is crucial for financing CETA’s initiatives, and the entity reciprocates by providing a 20% return on investment. The collaboration extends to ongoing engagement, partnerships, and a shared commitment to address industry needs. ANTICIPATING FUTURE CHALLENGES AND TRIUMPHS A historical administrative period characterised by uncertainty, employee resistance, and a trust deficit between management and staff laid the groundwork for the challenges faced by CETA. Overcoming suspicion and resistance, the organisation now looks ahead with a focused vision. •

“As we are nearing the end of the strategic term ending 31 March 2025 to commence a new strategic term period, we are excited to see what the future holds in this regard. This will be a period where NSDP 2030 will be entrenched and also the National Plan for the PSET 2021-2030 will be implemented. Achievement of the 95% of our APP target and achieving a clean audit for the 2024/25 financial year keeps us on our toes. The World Skills Competitions in 2024 to be held in Lyon,France, being the first to be held completely out of

COVID-19 conditions. In these competitions, we showcase our skills and measure if how we perform as a country vs our global peers. Digitisation of all CETA processes will be the greatest achievement in its entire life term. I am looking forward to seeing the results and impact of our inaugural legacy projects like the IEDP for Women and Upcoming Executives program implemented by GIBS, the CETA skills impact study covering over the last 22 years since

it was established, and the SMEs support for Occupational Qualifications Dispensation, and finally The completion and official opening of various Skills Development Centres (facilities / campuses) under construction in various provinces of the Republic.”

EXCITING PROSPECTS IN THE YEAR AHEAD FOR CETA The upcoming year holds promise for CETA, with plans to establish five skills development centres nationwide, expanding education

to underserved communities. Initiatives like the Worker Initiated Skills Programme, emphasise CETA’s dedication to enhancing skills. As it approaches the end of its strategic term in 2030, CETA envisions a positive impact on the industry, including a comprehensive review of achievements and the publication of a booklet highlighting its profound impact on skills development. Malusi foresees lasting contributions to the nation’s development, challenging negative perceptions and ensuring a positive final term with a lasting legacy.

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Governance, Risk, and Compliance Excellence: The Vital Role of Lexis GRC in Corporate and Government Entities


in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, the need for robust governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) solutions has become more critical than ever for both corporate and government entities in South Africa. Among the leading solutions in this space, Lexis GRC stands out as a game-changer, providing unparalleled value in mitigating risks, ensuring compliance, and fostering a culture of transparency.

Failure to implement a comprehensive GRC framework exposes organisations to a myriad of risks and penalties, making it imperative for both the public and private sectors to embrace solutions such as Lexis GRC. Non-compliance not only jeopardises the integrity of corporate operations but also places entities at the mercy of legal repercussions and financial ramifications. In South Africa’s regulatory landscape, where adherence to governance standards is paramount, the absence of a GRC system could result in severe consequences, undermining the reputation and sustainability of organisations.

Lexis GRC stands out as a beacon in navigating these challenges, offering businesses a multifaceted solution that goes beyond mere compliance. Its system capabilities extend far beyond the basics, encompassing a holistic approach to governance, risk management, and compliance. The platform streamlines processes, providing a centralised hub for monitoring and managing regulatory requirements, thereby minimising the risk of oversights that could lead to non-compliance. The ease of use inherent in Lexis GRC is a testament to its user-friendly interface and intuitive design. This simplicity does not compromise its depth, as the system integrates seamlessly with existing workflows, ensuring a smooth incorporation into organisational processes. This adaptability is particularly crucial for public sector leaders in South Africa, where governmental entities often grapple with the challenge of integrating new technologies into established frameworks. Furthermore, Lexis GRC’s real-time monitoring capabilities empower

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The value proposition of Lexis GRC extends beyond risk mitigation; it catalyses operational efficiency by automating compliance processes, reducing manual effort, and minimising the margin for error. This not only translates into tangible cost savings but also allows organisations to allocate resources strategically, focusing on core objectives rather than being bogged down by compliance technicalities. In conclusion, the adoption of Lexis GRC is not merely a compliance checkbox; it is an investment in the resilience and sustainability of organisations operating in South Africa’s public and private sectors. By recognising the importance of a robust GRC system, mitigating the risks associated with non-compliance, and harnessing the multifaceted capabilities of Lexis GRC, leaders can steer their entities towards a future where governance is not a burden but a strategic advantage.

CONTACT DETAILS Phone: 011 245 6500 Website: Facebook: LexisNexis South Africa. LinkedIn : LexisNexis South Africa. Twitter: LexisNexisZA


Kesvin Govender, CEO, RUMAS

Leading Integrated revenue solutions with effective client management



ith 20 years of diverse expertise, RUMAS aims to be the leading provider of integrated revenue solutions for local government and utilities by supporting clients through strategic management practices.

In an exclusive interview with the dynamic CEO of RUMAS we explore the company’s groundbreaking initiatives and his personal journey in steering the ship of one of the leading Revenue and Utility Management Solutions providers for over two decades. INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS: ELEVATING REVENUE MANAGEMENT EXCELLENCE “RUMAS is an acronym for Revenue and Utility Management Solutions which encapsulates our core focus on both revenue and utility management for Municipalities and Utilities. The name reflects a dedication to providing comprehensive solutions in the revenue management domain”. The RUMAS commitment revolves around delivering an innovative range of services and solutions covering audit solutions, organisational performance improvement, direct communication to enhance service delivery, cost-effective productivity improvement innovation, and a focused yet flexible collection process. •

COLLECTION WISE Web-based revenue collection management software for Local Government, yielding immediate income improvement. INDI-REG Tracks and reflects the status of indigent households within local authorities.

As for many, the Covid-19 pandemic posed significant challenges and during that time of uncertainty, perseverance and creativity proved crucial. Building relationships emerged as even more vital than products, emphasising the importance of adaptability during challenging times.

Kesvin Govender CEO, RUMAS

TWO DECADES OF IMPACT: FLAGSHIP PROJECTS “Our enduring partnership with the City of uMhlathuze Municipality stands out. The Collection Wise solution has been integral for almost 15 years, contributing to impressive payment rates. On the Indigent Management front, the Vuthela Ilembe LED Project is notable. This collaborative effort with Ilembe District Municipality and local municipalities showcases our commitment to capturing indigent data for equitable share optimisation.” FROM BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER TO CEO “My journey with RUMAS has been incredibly fulfilling. Transitioning into the CEO role allows me to make a positive difference and empower our clients. My passion for local government, dating back to my employment in the ‘90s, is rekindled. Our slogan, ‘Enabling our clients through effective management solutions,’ truly encapsulates this collective commitment.”

LOOKING AHEAD, WHAT DOES THE COMING YEAR HOLD FOR RUMAS? COULD YOU PROVIDE INSIGHTS INTO THE COMPANY’S FUTURE PLANS AND ASPIRATIONS? “Amidst the changing political landscape, the future holds promise. With a remarkable 20+ years of experience developing business solutions in the utility sector, our objective is to expand our positive influence to more than 30 municipalities, focusing on making a meaningful difference with our solutions. Aligning with our slogan, our goal is to empower local governments to be more innovative, sustainable, and effective in delivering services to their communities.”

CONTACT DETAILS Phone: +27 (0)12 941 9835 Address: 29A De Havilland Crescent, Persequor Technopark, Pretoria, Gauteng, ZA Website: Email:

December 2023/ January 2024 | Public Sector Leaders | 19


CIGFARO Professionalising the public sector

Building trust, capacity and development


Professionalisation is about building trust,” said Wesgro CFO, Sandiso Gcwabe, at the annual Chartered Institute of Government Finance, Audit & Risk Officers (CIGFARO) conference held in Cape Town in late October. He was speaking on a panel discussion which focused on the fundamentals of professionalising the public sector. Trust is an integral part of public service. Whether it be national, provincial or local government, the public needs to be assured that public officials have their best interests at heart. This is why the National Development Plan (NDP) includes an emphasis on the urgent need to professionalise the public sector to meet the needs of the general public. Sandiso described the dimensions of professionalisation: ability, integrity, dependability and purpose.

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With historical imbalances, uneven development and a lack of service delivery, South Africa’s approach is a developmental one. And, as highlighted in the NDP, building a strong, capable state is a key step to achieving the nation’s goals, a sentiment also shared by CIGFARO President, Dr Emmanuel Ngcobo, not long after the conference, who explained to Public Sectors Leaders that, “Regarding professionalisation, this critical and important national agenda does not only require intentional implementation plan, but also strategic appointment of clear roles and responsibilities by all stakeholders involved, This is to ensure that ‘all hands are on deck’ to eliminate chaos, duplication and inefficiency with the ultimate intention of realising intended goals and outcomes.” According to the National School of Government the process of professionalisation has five pillars: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Pre-entry, recruitment and selection Induction and onboarding Planning and performance management Continuous learning and professional development Career development and incidents

The last two in particular - continuous learning and professional development, along with career development and incidents - were the main focus areas of the “Professionalising the Public Sector” panel discussion at the CIGFARO conference, which was moderated by Khalid Hamid, International Director of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA). In his opening remarks, Khalid explained that good financial management is a prerequisite to good service delivery, specifically at the local government level, where low capacity and outsourcing of financial statements are recurring problems. The National School of Government has echoed these sentiments by highlighting the importance of professionalising public financial management. Gathered at CIGFARO’s conference were hundreds of finance professionals from municipalities across the country who were treated to engaging sessions covering the nuts and bolts of public finance management, including addresses from outgoing CIGFARO president, Cheryl Reddy, the Auditor-General’s office, Honourable Thembi Nkadimeng and representatives from SARS. This year’s theme

was “Iron Sharpens Iron: Learning From Best Practices”, pointing to the knowledge sharing which took place over the three days. Professionalism is at the core of CIGFARO’s work, which began over 90 years ago. The organisation provides a framework for what professionalism should look like and works tirelessly to create an ecosystem of good governance and financial management. Their initiatives, with conferences merely being one aspect, involve contributing to the development of finance and governance practitioners. In a nutshell, CIGFARO is at the forefront of the trust-building which Sandiso Gcwabe described. To achieve their objectives, CIGFARO has partnered with organisations such as CIPFA, a UK-based public finance organisation whom they’ve had a relationship with for a few years. “We are now expanding our vision by incorporating and utilising their cutting-edge accredited qualifications which would lead to the accelerated growth and development of our members, as well as receiving recognition as members of CIPFA,” explains Dr Ngcobo. Other partners include the Government Finance Officers Association of the USA & Canada, which Dr Ngcobo says, “are both important and highly impactful in a global environment for knowledge, upgrading and best practice sharing for more efficient functioning of governments.” At the local level their strategic partners include National Treasury, the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), the Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority (LGSETA), amongst others, and they are the South African Qualifications Authority’s recognised body for public sector financial management. “The intentions of these strategic alliances are clear: We need to collaborate and not compete with one another,” says Dr Ngcobo. “We need to complement one another so that we are able to reach the desired objective of a professionalised public sector. This works best when there is the shared drive to see constructive and positive change. Therefore, there must be an integrated approach and commitment to work together to achieve this extremely important task so that ultimately our beautiful country can flourish and the next generation can step into a brighter future. It’s a responsibility we must all take ownership of.” With the commitment of organisations such as CIGFARO and CIPFA, the future of public service looks bright.

December 2023/ January 2024 | Public Sector Leaders | 21


Calls for more countries to support Just Energy Transition


n Thursday, November 30, His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa arrived in Dubai, leading a delegation that would represent South Africa in the United Nations climatefocused Conference of Parties (COP28), which took place from November 30, 2023, – December 12, 2023.

CALLING ON COUNTRIES TO PARTICIPATE IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN JUST ENERGY TRANSITION The participation of South Africa at COP28 is part of its national commitment, as outlined in the Just Energy Transition Investment Plan, to drastically reduce emissions in accordance with the 2015 Paris Agreement.

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The South African government states that the Conference presents an opportunity to fast-track the energy transition by building the energy system of the future “while rapidly decarbonising the current energy system to keep 1.5°C within reach.” His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa presented to the

United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, South Africa’s Implementation Plan for the Just Energy Transition (JET) Investment Plan. JET Partners who have pledged to contribute up to 8.5-billion US dollars to South Africa’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and lessen the effects of climate change have also been informed about the initiative. He called for more countries to participate in efforts to end the effects of climate change on developing economies. “We are calling for more countries to participate, as our Just Energy Transition Plan requires much more funding, so that we can enable a more effective and positively impactful transition, particularly with respect to communities that are going to be affected as we transit from fossil fuel sources of energy to renewables. He added that they want to see sharper focus coming from developed economies with respect to living up to their Paris commitments. “We still expect the 100-billion dollars that was promised to be made available to support countries that are least responsible for climate damage and manage the effects of climate change,” said President Ramaphosa. His Excellency President Ramaphosa emphasised the importance of multilateralism and solidarity in global climate action and warned against “unilateral, coercive, and trade-distorting approaches, such as carbon adjustment measures, that are going to be severely detrimental to developing economies.”

His Excellency President Ramaphosa emphasised the importance of multilateralism and solidarity in global climate action

Environmental Affairs, Barbara Creecy, stated that the National Assembly adopted the Climate Change Bill in October, and in November, the Cabinet approved the Implementation Plan for the country’s Just Energy Transition.

PROGRESS MADE ON THE JUST ENERGY TRANSITION Approximately $11.6-billion in pledges, including $9.3-billion from the International Partners Group (IPG) have now been made to South Africa’s Just Energy Transition (JET).

“This plan focuses on areas critical to a just transition, including investment in electricity infrastructure, new energy vehicles, green hydrogen, skills development, municipal electricity distribution, and interventions directed at communities most affected by the energy transition.

According to the UK government, several new development partners have joined the Just Energy Transition, and Denmark and the Netherlands have joined the Just Energy Transition Partnership’s (JETP) International Partners Group (IPG).

“There are also promising developments underway in our country to harness the potential of green hydrogen and to beneficiate critical minerals and rare earths in support of development and driving the green transition,” she said.

In a statement released, the government stated that the inclusion of “the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Kingdom of Denmark in the IPG reflects confidence in South Africa’s JET and the JETP as a vehicle to support South Africa’s implementation of the JET IP.”

Hon. Creecy stated that the country is committed to contributing its best effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions commensurate with the global temperature goal.

“The original members of the IPG have increased their grant offer by 57% since COP26 (from $329-million to $517-million) and the overall increase in grant funding (including Netherlands and Denmark and other funders) to $716-million is 132%. 50% of the grant finance is already scoped and programmed,” they said. Speaking at the launch of the South Africa Pavilion at COP28, the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries, and

“However, science tells us that even in a 2-degree world, extreme weather events will impact lives, livelihoods, food and water security, human and animal health, and the built environment. Hence, we must all adapt to the inevitable impacts of climate change. “Accordingly, South Africa joins the rest of the continent in advocating for COP 28 to deliver a global goal on adaptation with clear targets and indicators.” Sources: SA Gov| The Presidency| UK Gov|

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Carmen-Joy Abrahams, Deputy Director-General: Professional Services A vision for reshaping STEM learning and enhancing skilled services 24 | Public Sector Leaders | December 2023/ January 2024


ith over 23 years of dedicated service in the public sector, Carmen-Joy Abrahams has been appointed as Deputy Director-General (DDG): Professional Services. Effective from November 2023, she brings a wealth of 19 years of senior management experience within the public service and diverse expertise gained across various’s vision with his emphasis on progressive change.

During her tenure as DDG: EPWP, Carmen-Joy successfully developed and consulted on the EPWP Policy, championed the development of EPWP Phase V (2024/25 – 2029/30), and ensured the programme consistently achieved 99% of the work opportunity target per annum.

ACCOMPLISHED, DEDICATED AND EPWP POLICY PHASE V CHAMPION In her previous role as DDG for the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) from November 2021 to November 2023, she played a pivotal role in coordinating the South African government’s largest Public Employment Programme (PEP). This involved collaboration with global organisations such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO), organised business, organised labour, and organised community. Under her leadership, the EPWP created around 950 000 work opportunities per annum, amounting to an annual expenditure of R25-billion. In addition, she oversaw human resource management, talent development, operations, and financial stewardship for 230 employees, managing a unit budget of R3-billion. Her responsibilities extended to providing support to stakeholders at national and provincial levels, municipalities, Non-Profit Organisations, and collaborating with various countries on advancing PEPs within Africa and globally.

She received the Nelson Mandela Economic Scholarship, enabling her to study in the United States and work in Washington DC on economic solutions. Her training includes sessions at the London School of Economics and the Colorado Institute for Economics, and she represented South Africa in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Additionally, she served as a board member for the National Development Agency (NDA). With vast experience in trade economics, anti-money laundering, counter-terrorism financing, deposit insurance, exchange control, Public Employment Programmes, entrepreneurship, and small business development, Carmen-Joy is now dedicated to ensuring transformation and professionalisation within the Built Environment remains a strategic focus for the DPWI and the sector as a whole.

A qualified economist with a Master of Arts Degree in International Economics, Finance, and Business from Brandeis University in Massachusetts, USA.

BUILDING ON SUCCESS During her time as Deputy Director-General of the EPWP Branch in DPWI, the EPWP created over one million work opportunities

in the past financial year alone, positively impacting the youth, impoverished, and unemployed individuals. Recognising the alarming unemployment rate, especially among the youth, she advocates for the expansion of EPWP sub-programmes like the National Youth Service (NYS) by encouraging innovation and fostering dialogues to share best practices in youth initiatives. In her new capacity as DDG: Professional Services, Carmen-Joy is committed to addressing challenges within the education system, particularly in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Drawing on her EPWP experience, she intends to enhance existing programmes, providing support to secondary schools in Mathematics and Science, granting bursaries to underprivileged students for studies in various fields, and expanding Candidacy and Artisan Development Programmes. She underscores the importance of prioritising system development and enhancement, implementing effective monitoring and evaluation frameworks, establishing sound institutional arrangements, fostering an empowered and capable staff, and forging partnerships within the government and the private sector. Carmen-Joy also pledges to strengthen collaboration with relevant institutions, organisations, and associations at both national and international levels. Source: Department of Public Works and Infrastructure |Vuk’uzenzele

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SA JUDGE ELECTED TO UNITED NATIONS’ TOP COURT Milestone ICJ ruling: Professor Dire Tladi to serve as first permanent South African Judge

Professor Dire Tladi

“Tennis stars dream of Wimbledon; footballers dream of the Champions League and the World Cup. For me, it is the ICJ,” - Prof Dire Tladi.


rofessor Dire Tladi was recently announced as one of five new judges by the UN General Assembly and the Security Council. This historic appointment makes him the first South African to serve as a permanent judge in the 78-year history of the court - an unprecedented achievement for a South African citizen.

INTELLECTUAL ACHIEVEMENTS AND ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE The International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, requires the expertise of highly skilled international lawyers. Professor Tladi, a prominent scholar in International Law at the University of Pretoria, holds prestigious positions in International Constitutional Law and Global Equity for Africa, showcasing his expert qualifications. With a portfolio boasting over 100 academic publications, encompassing articles, books, and chapters, he has earned distinctions including a BLC LLB (cum laude), an LLM from the University of Connecticut, and a PhD from Erasmus University Rotterdam. Beyond academia, Tladi’s decade-long membership in the United Nations International Law Commission, where he served as Chair in 2022, First Vice Chair in 2021, and Special Rapporteur on Peremptory Norms of General International Law from 2015 to 2022, attests to his significant contributions. Tladi’s international engagements extend to his membership in the Institut de Droit International, where he actively contributes to the Programme Committee and assumes

roles in commissions addressing social justice, global commons rules, and distributive justice. As the President of the South African Branch of the International Law Association, he not only holds a leadership position but also actively engages in lecturing at the Hague Academy of International Law and UN regional courses. In the legal arena, Tladi served as lead counsel for South Africa at the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber and represented the African Union before the ICC Appeals Chamber in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan case. Currently, he acts as co-counsel for Sierra Leone and Mozambique in the Law of the Sea advisory opinion proceedings on climate change obligations, demonstrating a steadfast commitment to peaceful dispute resolution. Notably, he has mediated the Ethiopia-Sudan-Lesotho dispute. His extensive involvement also encompasses serving as a legal expert in an International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes arbitration for the Government of Lesotho in Van Zyl v Lesotho. President Ramaphosa said that Prof. Tladi’s election as a judge was an outstanding personal achievement that the nation shared with great pride. He added, “Tladi’s appointment is a testament to the confidence expressed by the United Nations in his capabilities.” ICJ at the heart of global justice Located at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), commonly referred to as the World Court, witnessed its founding members

elected on February 6, 1946, during the inaugural session of the UN General Assembly and Security Council. Functioning as the primary venue for resolving legal disputes between States and providing advisory opinions to authorised UN organs, the ICJ holds a crucial role in international law. A notable case in January 2020 brought global attention when the ICJ ruled against Myanmar, compelling the protection of the Rohingya minority and the preservation of evidence related to genocide allegations. Initiated by The Gambia, this case underscores the ICJ’s pivotal role in addressing significant international legal matters. Fifteen judges, chosen for their qualifications to ensure global representation, serve nine-year terms. Every three years, five seats are open for election, fostering diversity without constraints on consecutive terms. The promise of justice - a delicate balancing act Prof. Tladi’s nine-year term at the International Court of Justice that sits in The Hague starts in February 2024. He believes that “International law can embody justice, champion the vulnerable, and my goal is for the ICJ to enrich this concept of international law. This entails instilling values and nurturing a sense of mutual care, all while respecting the established rules and methodologies of international law. Despite being a venture requiring a delicate equilibrium, it’s one I hope to contribute to in my nine years on the bench.”

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dvocate Nompilo Kholeka Gcaleka has been appointed as Public Protector of the Republic of South Africa (PPSA) for a non-renewable term of seven years with effect from 1 November 2023. Kholeka, a South African lawyer, previously served as Deputy Public Protector and became Acting Public Protector on 9 June 2022.

ONE OF EIGHT HOPEFULS IN LINE TO TAKE OVER AS PUBLIC PROTECTOR Taking nothing for granted, Kholeka regards the appointment as Public Protector a unique honour and privilege, entrusted not only to serve the country but also beyond its borders. Faced with an enormous responsibility and considerable task, the challenges become more pronounced as the nation deals with both internal and external difficulties.

Public Protector: Advocate Nompilo Kholeka Gcaleka Protecting South Africa’s democracy

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“I’m the fifth Public Protector of the Republic and there’s a mammoth task ahead of me. Our country is going through a lot of difficulties, the institution itself, so probably I’ve got one of the most difficult tasks that any other public protector has had,”- Kholeka Gcaleka, Public Protector Despite the challenges ahead, she remains optimistic, acknowledging that significant opportunities are embedded within these challenges. She has already got big reform plans in motion, aiming to improve the depleted capacity of the institution through legal measures.

LEGAL LUMINARY: A WEALTH OF EXPERTISE IN ADVISORY, MANAGEMENT, AND PROSECUTIONS At just over 40, Kholeka is the youngest public protector, a quality often highlighted for its potential in bringing fresh, youthful leadership to the country. She has ambitious plans for reform, aiming to criminalise non-compliance with remedial action, introduce oaths of office, and strengthen the capacity of the institution. Born in Johannesburg and raised in Umzimkhulu, Kholeka’s cultural roots span Gauteng, Eastern Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal. This diverse background significantly influences her values and fuels her commitment to public service, particularly advocating for the welfare of the impoverished and marginalised. Kholeka’s professional journey includes notable roles as a Special Advisor to the Ministers for the Departments of Public Service and Administration, Home Affairs, and Finance. Her expertise covers administration, legal affairs, legislation and policy development, strategy, compliance and governance. She actively participated in a Committee of Inquiry investigating municipal affairs in Gauteng and served on various boards. Even before becoming the Deputy Public Protector of the Republic of South Africa, Kholeka demonstrated her legal prowess as a proficient lawyer and prosecutor. Starting her career with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in 2004, she focused on

gender-based violence and human trafficking, showcasing her unmistakable potential. Kholeka envisions leveraging her legal expertise to advance principles of good governance, ethics, and sound legal practice. With 17 years of combined experience in legal advisory, senior management, and public prosecutions, she stands out as a resourceful and insightful legal professional. She excels in strategy formulation and organisational management, collaborating effectively with stakeholders to design and implement legal solutions. Her strengths lie in providing litigation and legal advisory services to the Executive, senior government officials, departments, and organisations. Throughout her career, Kholeka has made significant contributions to legislation and policy development, both within the prosecuting authority and as an advisor to government ministers. She has also played key roles in various international initiatives undertaken by the South African government, contributing to training initiatives across diverse domains. As the former first black female National Chairperson of the Society of State Advocates, Kholeka’s achievements are underscored by her educational background, holding an LLB Degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and an LLM Degree in Commercial Law from the University of Johannesburg.

Despite the challenges ahead, she remains optimistic

VISION Kholeka intends to leverage her legal expertise to strengthen the organisation’s governance and ethical legal strategies. The focus is on efficiently managing strategic human resources, staff training and development, and advancing ICT knowledge and skills. Future priorities include capacity building through training and mentorship, along with providing access through digitisation, especially for vulnerable groups. She implores the need for the PPSA to cultivate an institution resistant to adverse influence by any leader. The envisioned culture ensures that those serving adapt to the institution’s culture rather than the institution adapting to the leader’s culture. Unity is emphasised as the organisation’s core as it moves into the future, a crucial aspect in the fight against wrongdoing and maladministration in state affairs. For Kholeka, this fight requires a committed and united front across different sectors, acknowledging that it cannot be won by a single person or entity. Source: 702 | Office of the Public Prosecutor | M&G

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TSHEPO KGOBE: NEW CEO AT THE GAUTRAIN MANAGEMENT AGENCY (GMA) Gauteng’s public transport lifeline vision aligns with a commitment to transformation


shepo Kgobe, is set to assume the role of CEO at the Gautrain Management Agency (GMA), succeeding William Dachs, who will step down on January 3. His forward-looking vision for Gautrain aligns with a commitment to transformation. Gautrain stands as a living testament to the possibilities that emerge when visionary ideas, practical solutions, and a dedication to community development converge and its newly appointed EO, Tshepo Kgobe, aligns the company’s vision with his emphasis on progressive change.

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AGAUTRAIN PROJECT PIONEER: A KEY DRIVER OF STRATEGIC VISION With an engineering background spanning infrastructure, energy, mining, and the railway sector, Tshepo played a pivotal role in the early stages of the Gautrain project, overseeing the engineering and project management of the trackwork subsystem. As a certified project management professional and multidisciplinary engineer with over 20 years of extensive experience, Tshepo has excelled in managing complex projects and operations in infrastructure, energy, and mining. In his current capacity as the COO of the Gautrain Management Agency, he is instrumental in implementing the agency’s strategic vision. Tshepo oversees the day-to-day operations of Technical Services, ICT and Knowledge Management, Marketing and Communication, Risk Management, Legal and Compliance Services, as well as Corporate Services, which incorporates Human Capital and Facilities.

Previously, Tshepo held the role of Senior Executive responsible for all Technical and Project services at GMA, managing the concession agreement for Gautrain’s operation on behalf of the Gauteng Province Government. He also oversaw the expansion and extensions of the system. His extensive background includes serving as an Executive Director on the board of Hatch Africa, later appointed as COO in 2020. Tshepo’s international experience, gained from working in South Africa with Metrorail and in the UK with Corus Rail Consultancy, equips him to perform on a global scale. His career includes roles as a Perway & Facilities operations line manager in the KZN region and senior engineering management in Metrorail head office, focusing on Perway & Structures. Notably, Tshepo led the engineering and project management of the Trackwork subsystem in the Gautrain Rapid Rail Link project, overseeing a budget of R 1.0 billion and ensuring efficiency in design and execution. VISION Tshepo envisions transforming Gautrain stations into bustling places for work, shop and gathering, demonstrating a commitment to broader community development. With the GMA finalising an expansion project to nearly triple the rail network’s size, his goals align with Gautrain’s vision of becoming the backbone of public transport in Gauteng. During the Annual Smarter Mobility Africa Summit in October 2023, he moderated a panel discussion highlighting Gautrain’s groundbreaking 10-year partnership with the taxi industry. The agency’s innovative contracting model with taxi associations resulted in the introduction of midibus routes from key Gautrain stations, fostering community connectivity.

He envisages Gautrain stations transcending their traditional role as mere transit points, transforming into vibrant hubs seamlessly integrating business, retail, and social activities. This ambitious perspective not only commits to efficient transportation but also signifies an investment in the holistic development of communities surrounding Gautrain stations. In 2011, the GMA pioneered an innovative contracting model with taxi associations in the Linbro Park area, resulting in a surge of midibus routes from key Gautrain stations, including Marlboro, Centurion, and Hatfield. Reflecting on traffic modelling for the entire province in 2013, Tshepo emphasised the inadequacy of existing freeways to handle the escalating vehicle numbers. Predicting a freeway speed reduction to 10 km/h by 2037, he vividly illustrated the congestion between Braamfontein and the Buccleuch interchange. This realisation led to the decisive conclusion that rail must serve as the backbone of public transport in the entire province, with a planned doubling of public transport size by 2023, a goal yet to be achieved. Further enhancing Gautrain’s accessibility and impact, the agency is in the advanced stages of finalising its expansion project, set to significantly increase the size of the current 80km rail system that only links major economic hubs. New stations are planned in Randburg, Fourways, Sunninghill, Olievenhoutsbosch, Irene, Tshwane East, Hazeldean, Mamelodi, East Rand Mall, Lanseria, and Gautrain, extending its reach to previously inaccessible areas such as Mamelodi, Springs, Dainfern, Little Falls, Cosmo City, Soweto, and Boksburg. Source: Gautrain Management Agency | SA Government News Agency | FUTURE CITIES AFRICA

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2023 - It’s a wrap!


n spite of their well-documented challenges in 2023, South Africans are celebrated for persevering and triumphing over obstacles, displaying resilience amid adversity.

As the year draws to a close, let’s crank up the celebration for so many green and gold sports medalists who made us proud. Our hearts continue to beat for Siya Kolisi and his Ama Bokke Bokke’s World Cup victory, and for Desiree Ellis, the powerhouse of South Africa’s female soccer team and her phenomenal Banyana Banyanas.

way in global trustworthiness, earning the top spot in the Global Trust Survey by Edelman on behalf of Chartered Accountants Worldwide (CAW).

ICON Inspirational Michaela (Chaeli) Mycroft, a 28-year-old cerebral palsy activist, challenges misconceptions about mobility limitations on global platforms. Not only a dancer and ‘runner,’ she’s the first female quadriplegic to summit Mount Kilimanjaro and the recipient of the prestigious 2023 FORBES Young Achievers Award.

EDUCATION • Nonkululeko Gobodo, South Africa’s first black female to qualify as a chartered accountant became Chancellor of Walter Sisulu University.

ENTERTAINMENT • A South African series is nominated for Best Series at CANNESERIES Nadia Darries and Daniel Clarke made the Stunning Star

Let’s also give a shout-out to so many other fantastic winners and good news stories that flew under the radar well worth celebrating.

BUSINESS • FNB achieved a historic milestone, securing the title of the “Strongest Banking Brand” globally—an unprecedented feat for an African bank. • South African startup Lexie Hearing earns a well-deserved spot on the prestigious TIME100 Most Influential Companies list. • South African Chartered Accountants (CAs) lead the

Prof Rabia Johnson, Senior Researcher at the South African Medical Research Council and Senior Lecturer at Medical Physiology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University celebrated for academic excellence. • The University of Johannesburg (UJ) emerges as the world’s leading university in the fight against poverty, recognised for its impact on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG). • isiXhosa and Afrikaans make it to the ‘Coolest to Learn’ list, a remarkable achievement given the vast number of living languages globally. And on the subject of Afrikaans making waves, 16 year old, Stefan Benz, originally from Pretoria, not only secured a Golden Ticket on American Idol but also taught judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan how to speak Afrikaans—an extraordinary first in the show’s 22-year history!

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Wars Short Film that Everyone is Raving About!. The proudly South African duo became part of Star Wars history with Aau’s Song, the final short film in the second volume of the Star Wars: Visions anthology, now streaming on Disney+ Pretty Yende wowed at the King’s Coronation Performance. It seems that the world loves Pretty as much as we do! After stealing the show at King Charles III’s coronation a few weeks back, Pretty became the talk of the palace. Now, the South African songbird is soaring to even greater global heights, having received the Global Badge of Honour as a Goodwill Ambassador for the World Health Organisation. Nomcebo Zikode, Wouter Kellerman, and Zakes Bantwini won the 2023 Grammy Award for Best Global Music Performance for their collaboration “Bayethe.” Lloyiso lights up Times Square, New York Lloyiso, a singer, songwriter, and former Idols contestant renowned for his exceptional vocals, now radiates a light that shines even brighter than before. South Africa’s Micaela Kleinsmith who started songwriting at just 14-yearsold using music as her peace from bullying was crowned Global Singing Champ winner of Reese Whiterspoon’s new singing competition show, My Kind of Country that set out on a musical mission. One that would find hidden and unconventional gems, with the kind of country music talent

that would blow anyone’s cowboy hat right off.

GOLDEN BUZZERS FOR SOUTH AFRICAN TALENT • SA Cancer Survivor shines! Musa Motha has been the talk of the global stage since his performance at the 2023 Britain’s Got Talent auditions. Beyond the incredible fact that he is a resilient cancer survivor who outperformed his adversities with a single leg, His dance was so beautiful, crowds were torn between tears and cheers and all the judges gave Musa a ‘group golden buzzer’. • The Mzansi Youth Choir brought Simon Cowell to tears on America’s Got Talent. The performance was so heartfelt that it left the judges and audience in awe of their incredible performance, so much so that for the first time in AGT history, the golden buzzer was awarded by the audience – skyrocketing the group to the semi-finals. Although they did not win, they were invited to perform a traditional song and the Coldplay signature song, Fix You, with Coldplay at two soldout concerts in San Diego and Los Angeles.

LIFESTYLE Major Cheers! • Hylton James Espey joins the prestigious Michelin Star family, becoming the fifth South African Chef to receive this coveted award. • Boschendal is named the most beautiful vineyard globally, adding to South Africa’s winemaking reputation.

Cape Town was voted the greatest city in the world once again. South African-based Whisky shop WhiskyBrothers has won an international award at the Icons of Whisky awards which is basically the Oscars of Whisky. De Rust, South Africa with 97 points set De Rustica Olive Estate a point above some of the world’s greatest olive oil producers to win the International Best Olive Award, a World First! Van Ryn’s 15-year-old potstill brandy was crowned the World’s Best Wine Brandy at the 2023 World Brandy Awards. Desiderius Pongrácz (2015) earned Grand Gold at the 2023 Concours Mondial de Bruxelles in Belgium, the only South African-made sparkling wine to win this year.

OH SNAP! Lee-Ann Olwage earned her spot as one the world’s best creative photographer at the 2023 World Photography Awards. Her work also depicts an incredible message that visualised what an empowered world for girls might look like. And that’s a wrap for 2023! As we venture into the unknown journey of 2024, let us take a moment to honour and celebrate the countless individuals who strive every day to make a positive difference in the breathtaking country we proudly call home, South Africa. Cheers to a year filled with triumphs! SOURCE: BBC| goodthingsguy| newssa| gisreports

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Thirty year global retrospective


he year 2024 will mark thirty years since South Africa became a democracy. To put this into perspective, we take a look at some of the highlights, globally and locally, over the last 30 years.

1994 South Africa holds its first fully democratic elections and Nelson Mandela is sworn in as first democratic president

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Apple Computer, Inc. releases the first Macintosh computers to use the new PowerPC Microprocessors Rwandan genocide begins in Kigali, Rwanda Three-time Formula One world champion Ayrton Senna is killed during the San Marino Grand Prix in Imola, Italy Cold War: the last Russian troops leave Germany Jeff Bezos founds Amazon

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First passengers travel through the channel tunnel (chunnel) from England to France Iraq disarmament crisis continues 1995 Microsoft releases Windows 95 America Online and Prodigy release browsers that make the internet accessible to the general public for the first time Sarin gas attack takes place on the Tokyo subway Jacques Chirac is elected President of France Constitutional Court of South Africa abolishes capital punishment in South Africa in the case of S v Makwanyane and Another Iraq disarmament crisis continues Operation Desert Storm officially ends

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Indian government officially renames the city of Bombay, restoring it to Mumbai 1996 Nationalist Party in South Africa pulls out of the coalition government formed two years earlier, and the African National Congress assumes full political control France undertakes its last nuclear weapons test Two suicide bombs in Israel kill 25 and injure 80; Hamas claims responsibility; International peace summit is held in Egypt in response to escalating terrorist attacks in the Middle East Dolly the sheep, the first mammal to be successfully cloned from an adult cell, is “born” at the

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Roslin Institute in Midlothian, Scotland, UK Osama bin Laden writes “The Declaration of Jihad on the Americans Occupying the Country of the Two Sacred Places”, a call for the removal of American military forces from Saudi Arabia

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1997 Bill Clinton’s second term as US President begins Constitution of South Africa comes into effect Labour Party in the UK returns to power for the first time in 18 years - Tony Blair becomes Prime Minister UK hands sovereignty of Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China

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Bank of Thailand floats the baht, triggering the Asian financial crisis Scientists report DNA analysis findings from a Neanderthal skeleton, which support the out of Africa theory of human evolution, placing an “African Eve” at 100 000 to 200 000 years ago The funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, takes place at Westminster Abbey, watched by over two billion people worldwide Iraq disarmament crisis continues 1998 Google, Inc. is founded in Menlo Park, California, by Stanford University PhD candidates Larry Page and Sergey Brin Belfast Agreement signed between the Irish and British governments Second Congo War begins; 5.4 million people die before it ends in 2003, making it the bloodiest war, to date, since World War II Bill Clinton is impeached Khmer Rouge leaders apologise for the post-Vietnam War genocide in Cambodia that killed more than one million people in the 1970s Iraq disarmament crisis continues President Nelson Mandela calls for a summit over the Congo conflict Yangtze River floods in China killing 12 000 people 1999 Thabo Mbeki becomes President of South Africa The euro is established as a currency Bill Clinton is acquitted Nigeria ends military rule The Columbine High School massacre takes place in the US

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The second Chechen War begins Bill Gates becomes the richest person in the world Iraq disarmament crisiscontinues Boris Yeltsin resigns as President of Russia, leaving Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as the acting President 2000 Torrential rains lead to the worst flooding in Mozambique in 50 years, killing 800 people India’s population reaches one billion Russian submarine Kursk sinks in the Barents Sea, resulting in the deaths of all 118 men on board Mass demonstrations in Belgrade lead to resignation of Yugoslavia’s President Slobodan Miloševic The third and final reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant is closed and the station is shut down completely

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Hansie Cronje, Herschelle Gibbs, Pieter Strydom and Henry Williams are accused by the New Delhi police of alleged match-fixing 2001 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York George W Bush becomes President of US Tiananmen Square self-immolation Iraq disarmament crisis continues Foot and mouth disease breaks out in UK China and Russia sign the Sino-Russian Treaty of Friendship South Africa and India sign a declaration of intent on cooperation in health and medicine 2002 Mark Shuttleworth becomes the first African space tourist End of the Angolan Civil War

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The Organisation of African Unity is disbanded and replaced by the African Union The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopts Resolution 1441, forcing Iraq to either disarm or face “serious consequences” The Euro is officially introduced in the Eurozone countries 2003 The Iraq War begins with the invasion of Iraq by the US and allied forces The Human Genome Project is completed, with 99% of the human genome sequenced to 99.99% accuracy Second Congo War ends, leaving millions dead The Concorde makes its last commercial flight Death of Idi Amin, third President of Uganda The Truth and Reconciliation Commission releases its final report 2004 Mark Zuckerberg creates the social networking site Facebook ANC wins third democratic elections The US-led coalition occupying Iraq, transfers sovereignty to the Iraqi interim government War crimes trial of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein begins George W. Bush is re-elected President of the United States Tsunami affecting coastal areas of Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Indonesia, results in death toll of more than 200 000

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2005 Hurricane Katrina makes landfall along the US Gulf Coast, causing severe damage and killing over a thousand people UN Kyoto Protocol committing member states to reduction of greenhouse emissions comes into effect North Korea agrees to stop building nuclear weapons in exchange for aid and cooperation Angela Merkel becomes the first female Chancellor of Germany Ellen Johnson Sirleaf wins the Liberian general election - the first democratically elected female Head of State in Africa Ex- Deputy President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, is charged with corruption by the National Prosecuting Authority 2006 Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, arrives in Cape Town and meets with Thabo Mbeki, President of South Africa South Korean Ban Ki-moon succeeds Kofi Annan as Secretary General of the United Nations Saddam Hussein is sentenced to death and hung Egyptian passenger ferry sinks in the Red Sea, killing more than 1 000 people The corruption trial of Jacob Zuma is struck off the roll at the Pietermaritzburg High Court Nelson Mandela is awarded the Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award 2007 Steve Jobs introduces the original iPhone Mwai Kibaki is declared the winner

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of the general election in Kenya – the subsequent riots result in the deaths of over 1 000 people US Congress elects Nancy Pelosi as the first female Speaker of the House Global climate change is “very likely” to have been predominantly caused by humans - IPCC 4th Assessment Report Jacob Zuma is elected chairman of the African National Congress South Africa is selected as the host of the sub-region Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre 2008 Barack Obama is elected the 44th President of the United States Global financial crisis US President George W. Bush signs the revised Emergency Economic Stabilization Act into law, creating a $700-billion dollar treasury fund to purchase failing bank assets An earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale kills an estimated 87 000 people in China Spotify music streaming service is launched in Sweden The Large Hadron Collider is officially inaugurated in Geneva Jackie Selebi is suspended as South Africa’s National Police Commissioner The African National Congress recalls President Thabo Mbeki The African National Congress elects Kgalema Motlanthe to replace Thabo Mbeki as President until the elections in 2009 2009 US Airways Flight 1549 ditches in

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the Hudson River in an accident that becomes known as the “Miracle on the Hudson” as all 155 people on board are rescued The first block of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin is established The outbreak of the H1N1 influenza strain, “swine flu”, becomes a global pandemic The 14th Dalai Lama’s visa application to enter South Africa is refused The first Mandela Day is organised on Nelson Mandela’s 91st birthday Jacob Zuma becomes President in South Africa 2010 The 2010 FIFA World Cup is held in South Africa The tallest man-made structure to date, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, is officially opened An 8.8-magnitude earthquake occurs in Chile, triggering a tsunami over the Pacific and killing more than 500 people Volcanic ash from one of several eruptions beneath Mount Eyjafjallajökull, an ice cap in Iceland, begins to disrupt air traffic across northern and western Europe The Deepwater Horizon oil-drilling platform explodes in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers, the resulting oil spill, one of the largest in history, spreads for several months, damaging the waters and the United States coastline The 2010 flash crash, a trillion-dollar stock market crash, occurs over 36 minutes More than 90 000 internal classified reports about the United States-led involvement in the war in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2010 are leaked to the public via WikiLeaks

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2011 Osama bin Laden, the founder and leader of Al-Qaeda is killed during an American operation in Pakistan Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigns after widespread protests A 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami ravage the east of Japan, killing 15 840 and leaving another 3 926 missing Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is killed in Sirte The United States formally declares an end to the Iraq War The 14th Dalai Lama is refused permission by SA authorities to attend the 80th birthday celebration of fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu 2012 Barack Obama is re-elected President of the United States Vladimir Putin is re-elected President of Russia In Qatar, the UN Climate Change Conference agrees to extend the KyotoProtocol until 2020 After 246 years since its first publication, the Encyclopædia Britannica discontinues its print edition Marikana miners shot by police in North West province, South Africa 2013 President Nelson Mandela dies North Korea conducts its third underground nuclear test Former CIA employee Edward Snowden leaks US government mass surveillance information to news publications. He flees and now lives in Russia 242 people die in a nightclub fire in the Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

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Paralympian Oscar Pistorius shoots and kills Reeva Steenkamp 2014 A Sunni militant group called ISIS begins an offensive through northern Iraq The Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa begins, infecting more than 28 000 people and killing over 11 000 Belgium becomes the first country in the world to legalise euthanasia Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a Boeing 777 airliner en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, disappears over the Gulf of Thailand with 239 people on board Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, a Boeing 777, crashes in eastern Ukraine after being shot down by a missile An estimated 276 girls and women are abducted and held hostage from a school in Nigeria South Africa - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela releases the Nkandla Report on R246 000 000 of public expenditure on President Jacob Zuma’s private Nkandla residence 2015 FIFA President Sepp Blatter announces his intention to resign during an FBI-led corruption investigation Boko Haram kills more than 2 000 people in Nigeria ISIS joins forces with Boko Haram A stampede during the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca kills more than 2 000 people Scientists announce the discovery of Homo Naledi, a previously unknown species of early human, in South Africa

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2016 Donald Trump is elected the 45th President of the United States BREXIT begins The US and China, together responsible for 40% of the world’s carbon emissions, both formally join the Paris Climate Agreement The World Health Organisation announces an outbreak of the Zika virus South Africa holds municipal elections 2017 Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is placed under house arrest, as the military take control of the country. He resigns six days later The U.S. government announces its intention to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement Syrian civil war rages on The Iraqi military announces that it has “fully liberated” all of Iraq’s territory from “ISIS terrorist gangs” and retaken full control of the Iraqi-Syrian border BREXIT continues 2018 Cyril Ramaphosa is inaugurated as the President of the Republic of South Africa Jacob Zuma resigns as President of South Africa after nine years in power Donald Trump accepts an invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for a meeting to discuss the denuclearisation of North Korea Vladimir Putin is elected for a fourth term as Russian president The world’s last male northern white rhinoceros dies in Kenya BREXIT continues

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The United States announces it will withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council Twelve boys and their football coach are successfully rescued from the flooded Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Thailand Saudi Arabia allows women to drive 2019 South African President Cyril Ramaphosa attends the G20 Osaka Summit All Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are grounded worldwide Boris Johnson becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; BREXIT triggers general elections Turkey invades Syria after Trump abandons Kurdish partners Amazon rainforest ablaze with more than 36 000 wildfires; catastrophic bushfires rage in California, US and new South Wales, Australia South Africa wins the Rugby World Cup in Japan COVID-19 is identified in Wuhan, China, changing the world forever 2020 The World Health Organisation declares COVID-19 a pandemic The United Kingdom formally withdraws from the European Union Joe Biden wins US presidential election The killing of George Floyd by a police officer ignites global protests against racial discrimination Anti-apartheid activists Denis Goldberg and George Bizos pass away Wildfires burn more than 5 million acres of land in the US

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2021 Unrest spreads across South Africa the country in July leaving billions of rands in damage Desmond Tutu, Former Deputy President FW de Klerk and Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini pass away The United States withdraws from Afghanistan with the Taliban returning to power Joe Biden inaugurated as US President The African Continental Free Trade Agreement is implemented Supporters of outgoing American President Donal Trump storm the US Capitol Aung San Suu Kyi is removed from power in Myanmar in a military coup 2022 Britain’s longest reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, passes away Russia invades Ukraine The world’s population reaches 8 billion people

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ChatGPT launches Xi Jingping wins a record third term A fire breaks out in the Parliamentary precinct Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo is appointed as the 6th Chief Justice in democratic South Africa Major floods leave devastation in KZN and other provinces 2023 South Africa clinches it’s record-setting 4th Rugby World Cup victory Veteran politician Mangosuthu Buthelezi, Aziz Pahad, Essop Pahad and Moos Moolla pass away India becomes the most populous country in the world, overtaking China Prince Charles coronation as King is held in Westminster Abbey Israel-Hamas conflict begins Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria kill over 50 000 people

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Building a united and cohesive nation


he Preamble to the South African Constitution states, “We, the people of South Africa, recognise the injustices of our past; honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land; respect those who have worked to build and develop our country; and believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.”

December is reconciliation month in South Africa, and the country marks National Reconciliation Day on December 16. The day aims to promote social cohesion, healing, unity, and nation-building

According to the South African government, this year’s emphasis is on South Africans’ vital role in strengthening democracy and ensuring that their opinions are heard and incorporated into daily decisions aimed at improving people’s lives. The event for this year’s Reconciliation Day will be held in Vhembe District, Thulamela Municipality, Limpopo, under the theme “Strengthening unity and social cohesion in a healing nation.”In his Letter to the Nation in September this year, His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa stated

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that one of the most incredible aspects of South African society today is the “common commitment to maintain peace amongst ourselves and our neighbours and to prevent tribalism and ethnic chauvinism from sowing discord between us.” “Even when acts of racism occur, these provocations are rejected by South Africans, who won’t let them be used to exacerbate tensions in communities,” he said. His Excellency President Ramaphosa said while so many countries and societies around the world today are beset by conflict, South Africa

deal with our past, reconcile, and build a new nation. Our goal as South Africans should be to promote inclusive nation-building and social cohesion. “This generation must continue to work towards a society free from racial, social, economic, and class barriers. It is an opportunity to celebrate how far we have come in building a cohesive and united society,” they said. THE IMPORTANCE OF REBUILDING SOCIAL COHESION The Department of Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation states that without a high degree of social cohesion and unity of purpose,it is “difficult to envisage South Africa overcoming the significant obstacles that stand in the way of prosperity and equity.”

is fortunate that “the project of national reconciliation is ongoing and has not been abandoned.” “Contributing to maintaining peace and advancing reconciliation is our collective responsibility as South Africans. It is the greatest gift we can bestow on the generations to come,” he said. The South African government states that the vision of a nation reconciled is embedded in the democratic Constitution. “Each year, we have an opportunity to reach out to one another to

It was in 1995, a year after the first democratic elections, that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was established. The commission’s aim was to help heal the country and bring about reconciliation among its people by finding the truth regarding human rights crimes committed during apartheid. According to South African History Online (SAHO), the TRC was a critical component in South Africa’s transition

to full and free democracy, and despite its imperfections, it is widely recognised as a huge success. “The mandate of the commission was to bear witness to, record, and, in some cases, grant amnesty to the perpetrators of crimes relating to human rights violations, reparations, and rehabilitation,” they said. The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) states that the TRC heard testimony from about 21,000 victims, 2,000 of whom attended public hearings. The commission received 7,112 applications for amnesty. Amnesty was granted in 849 cases, denied in 5,392 others, and some applications were withdrawn. The TRC offered specific suggestions for a reparations programme that included monetary, symbolic, and community remedies. “The commission further recommended that South Africa’s society and political system should be reformed to include faith communities, businesses, the judiciary, prisons, the armed forces, the health sector, the media, and educational institutions in a reconciliation process,” they said. Sources: SA Gov|SAHO|USIP|

TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION COMMITTEES The TRC’s work was carried out by three committees: The Human Rights Violations (HRV) Committee looked into human rights violations that occurred between 1960 and 1994. The Reparation and Rehabilitation (R&R) Committee was tasked with restoring victims’ dignity and developing rehabilitation recommendations. The Amnesty Committee (AC) examined amnesty requests made in accordance with the requirements of the Act.

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Accelerating actions to end gender-based violence and femicide: leaving no one behind” This is the theme for this year’s 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign in South Africa.

INVESTMENTS TO COMBAT GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE More than R7-million per year is invested by the Spar Group to assist victims of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) through partnerships with the LifeLine organisation and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) of South Africa. In addition to this, the group spends R1.5-million a year in collaboration with TruLife, an NGO that works with the next generation to educate, motivate, and empower them to make courageous decisions that lead to brighter futures.

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In a statement released, Spar Group manager of socio-economic development, Kathryn Baxter, stated that “another sizeable investment is due to be announced in the coming months as we undertake two major projects in our fight against GBV—a rural GBV reporting and support centre and haven for abused women in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as the provision of a DNA laboratory in the province.” Kathryn added that in a country where 52 000 cases of violence against women are reported each year, with intimate partners responsible for slightly more than half of all femicides, the

national conviction rate for GBV assaults is a pitiful 3%. “This number is horrendous. And the situation calls for immediate action. It is crucial that facilities are established in underserviced rural areas where women lack support systems.” LAUNCH OF 16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM FOR NO VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN Speaking at the launch of 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children in Nsikazi Stadium, Ehlanzeni, Mpumalanga, Deputy President Paul Mashatile said this year’s theme is a call to action to raise awareness about the devastating impact that gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) have on women, children, and the entire social fabric. He added that they aim to highlight gender-based violence as a pervasive human rights violation, intensify awareness-raising and advocacy, and champion prevention efforts to eliminate the scourge by implementing social behaviour change initiatives. Hon. Mashatile stated that the commitment to ending the scourge of GBVF remains a priority. “We will not rest until our communities are safe for all, especially women and girls,” he said. “We aim to raise awareness about the devastating impact that GBVF has on women and children and the social fabric of our society. “This is also an opportunity for all of us to renew our commitment to

To fight the pandemic, the government has developed and trained Rapid Response Teams at the provincial and municipal levels

reclaiming our streets and creating a society where women and children are safe and secure.” Hon. Mashatile He called on the traditional leaders to intensify their role as community leaders against unfair inheritance practices and GBVF. Hon. Mashatile added that gender-based violence and femicide are not isolated occurrences; they are systemic problems that are strongly founded in patriarchal norms and gender inequity. “It is important to acknowledge that GBV is a global phenomenon rooted in the fabric of every society, every culture, and every community, regardless of class, race, or socio-economic status,” he said. He urged South Africans at large to recommit themselves to ending violence against women and children. “We have the ability to shape a future in which women and children are safe and their rights are respected.” On progress and the government’s initiatives to combat this scourge in our society, Hon. Mashatile said they have recently passed six pieces of legislation related to

Gender-Based Violence and Femicide, and the ongoing implementation costing exercise underscores the commitment to ending GBVF. “One significant milestone is the recent assent of President Cyril Ramaphosa to crucial legislative reforms, which are: • The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act Amendment Bill; • The Criminal and Related Matters Amendment Bill, and • The Domestic Violence Amendment Bill.” To fight the pandemic, the government has also developed and trained Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) at the provincial and municipal levels. “This includes the development of the Comprehensive National Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Prevention and the Integrated Femicide Strategic Frameworks, which signal a holistic approach to turning the gender-based violence tide,” he said. He urged men in communities to be role models for young boys. “Remember, boys are born, and men are made. As men, we can help develop men in our society who respect women. Men who do not see women as objects. Men who recognise the equality of women” —Hon. Paul Mashatile. Sources: Spar| SA Gov| MediaUpdate

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Let communities lead


he world can end AIDS, with communities leading. This was the key message for the 2023 World AIDS Day, celebrated globally on December 1.

The day was celebrated under the theme “Let Communities Lead”, as the world came together to show support for people living with HIV and to remember those who have lost their lives from AIDS-related illnesses. WHERE DOES SOUTH AFRICA STAND? The percentage of people living with HIV in South Africa decreased from 14.0% in 2017 to 12.7% in 2022. This is according to the Sixth South African National HIV Prevalence, Incidence, and Behaviour Survey (SABSSM VI), conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) in collaboration with its partners.

The survey’s key findings, announced on Tuesday, November 28, emphasise progress towards eradicating HIV in South Africa, the country with the world’s largest HIV pandemic. The HSRC stated that the latest figure translates to approximately 7.8 million people living with HIV in South Africa in 2022, compared to 7.9 million in 2017. According to Professor Khangelani Zuma, Divisional Executive of the Public Health, Societies, and Belonging Division of the HSRC and the overall Principal Investigator of the survey, a number of factors contribute to HIV prevalence. “These factors include fewer people getting infected with HIV, more children born HIV-negative, AIDS-related mortality, and people ageing and dying from

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natural causes. The increase in the population (birth of HIV-negative babies) would also increase the denominator of HIV-negative people in the country. The epidemic curve also shows an ageing population of people living with HIV who are living longer as the epidemic stabilises,” said Professor Zuma. According to the 2022 survey, South Africa has made significant progress towards the UNAIDS 95-95-95 targets, which call for 95% of all people living with HIV to be aware of their HIV status by 2025, 95% of those aware of their status to be on antiretroviral treatment (ART), and 95% of those on ART who are also aware that they are living with HIV to achieve viral load suppression. SABSSM VI revealed that in 2022, 90% of people aged 15 and older living with HIV in South Africa were aware of their status, 91% of those aware were on ART, and 94% of those on ART were virally suppressed.

The survey also shows that in 2022, 81% of people aged 15 and older living with HIV in South Africa were virally suppressed (less than 1000 copies/mL), up from 62% in 2017. Viral suppression was higher (83%) in women than in men (79%) and lower (70%) in young adults (15–24 years). Men aged 25–34 had the lowest proportion of viral load suppression (66%). “The 2022 survey also shows gaps that remain in addressing the HIV epidemic in South Africa. Among people aged 15 years and older, the impact of the HIV epidemic in South Africa is unequal across geographic regions and populations, particularly affecting black Africans, women, and young people. HIV prevalence varied geographically, ranging from 8% in the Western Cape Province to 22% in KwaZulu-Natal Province. “Furthermore, HIV prevalence was nearly twice as high among women (20%) compared to men (12%). By race, HIV prevalence was the highest among black Africans (20%), followed by Coloureds (5%), and lowest among Whites and Indian/ Asian people (1% each).” - HSRC. Delivering his keynote address in his capacity as the Chairperson of the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), Deputy President Paul Mashatile called on communities to actively participate in interventions to combat “stigma, discrimination, and human rights violations affecting individuals infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.” “History demonstrates that when communities unite, any challenge can be overcome. Our combined strengths can help us achieve the goal of eliminating HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis as public health threats,” he said.

History demonstrates that when communities unite, any challenge can be overcome Hon. Mashatile added that the participation of civil society has been crucial in the HIV response globally and in South Africa, “leading to significant progress in areas like access to prevention, treatment, care, and support, as well as outreach for vulnerable populations.” Touching on the SABSSM VI survey, Hon. Mashatile said that while the results show that the prevalence of HIV is declining, there are some concerning patterns regarding the age group between the ages of 25 and 49 years. “Among females, HIV prevalence was highest in ages 35 to 39 years at 34.2%, whereas among males, HIV prevalence was highest in ages 45 to 49 years at 27.1%.

“Furthermore, there is reason for concern about the increased incidence of HIV infection among adolescent girls aged 15 to 19, since it is an indication that men engage in unprotected sexual activities with girls and young women. “We must take extraordinary measures as a society to protect kids against immoral predators. We must ensure that children have a safe environment to discuss the issues influencing their sexual conduct and the pressures they are under. We must stand with them and educate them about their rights and sexual health.” Hon. Paul Mashatile. All relevant documents, including the presentation and summary sheet about SABSSM VI, can be viewed here. Sources: SAMRC| SA Gov | HSRC | The Presidency

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Striking against corruption


stablished in 1996, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has been a beacon in anti-corruption efforts, forensic investigations, and litigation, with a primary mandate to scrutinise allegations of corruption across the state institutions of South Africa.

Landmark ruling: SIU’s legal triumph establishes anti-corruption precedent During the 2022/23 financial year, the SIU was at the forefront of significant legal matters. In a groundbreaking ruling, the Constitutional Court found that, while not a court, the Special

Tribunal still holds the jurisdiction and powers to adjudicate reviews brought by the SIU and to grant orders setting aside unlawful procurement contracts awarded by State institutions. The Constitutional Court judgement sets a precedent that corruption will not be tolerated, and the SIU will continue to ‘strike against corruption.’ PROACTIVE INITIATIVES AND FINANCIAL RECOVERIES Demonstrating a proactive approach, the SIU pursued cases to set aside contracts valued at R1.6-billion, successfully recovering funds under various proclamations. This included cases related to the South African

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Police, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme and the UIF Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (Covid-19 TERS), EOH Holdings and companies accused of corruption, malpractice, maladministration, and irregularities in the procurement of goods and services by State institutions in response to Covid-19. In a significant ruling, the Special Tribunal annulled PPE tenders worth R172-million that Tenderpreneur Hamilton Ndlovu fraudulently secured from the National Health Laboratory Services. The judgement ordered Ndlovu and associated companies to repay R158-million with interest. Increasing demand for SIU services

The SIU’s impactful work has generated an increased demand for its services across all government spheres and Parliament. Lifestyle audits of the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) senior management staff were successfully executed in response to a request from the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure. State capture investigations State Capture investigations continue to be a focal point, with ongoing probes into Transnet, Eskom, Denel, Prasa, SAA, and Alexkor, as flagged by the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture. Additionally, the SIU has taken legal action in the High Court to nullify contracts valued at R54.5-billion concluded at Transnet. REBRANDING WITH ENHANCED COMMUNICATION STRATEGY In an effort to strengthen stakeholder relations and public trust, the SIU introduced a revised logo and motto in the 2022/2023 financial year. The new motto, “Striking against corruption,” perfectly aligns with the agency’s unwavering commitment. The revamped communication strategy has garnered praise for setting a standard in government social media accounts, showcasing the SIU’s dedication to transparency and effective public engagement. PROTECTING WHISTLEBLOWERS AND ADVANCING GLOBAL ANTI-GRAFT Protection of whistleblowers emains a priority, and the SIU collaborates with relevant law enforcement agencies and the Department of Justice to fortify t his crucial area. The focus on corruption prevention involves developing a comprehensive Corruption-Prevention Framework, incorporating a Corruption Risk-Management Framework, Data-Analytics Programme and other strategic initiatives.

Acknowledging the global nature of corruption, the SIU actively engages in international collaborations beyond South African borders, recognising the importance of learning from and expanding its reach through partnerships with various organisations on the international stage. PUTTING A TECH-SAVVY SPIN ON CRIME-FIGHTING Over the last 25 years, the SIU has journeyed towards realising its vision of becoming the State’s preferred and trusted agency for anti-fraud measures, criminal investigation and legal proceedings. But, with history comes outdated technology and inefficiencies. Something an entity like the SIU can not afford. Utilising advanced technology as part of its Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Strategy, the approach involves strengthening infrastructure, streamlining processes, eliminating redundancies and digitising the SIU’s operations to combat corruption effectively. In this journey, the SIU embraces innovation driven by technologies like cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT). A significant part of this transformation is the introduction of a powerful Data Analytics and Data Warehousing capability, aiming to enhance investigative practices with targeted and data-driven approaches. The SIU positions itself as a leader in the national fight against fraud and corruption by collaborating with state institutions to prevent and address reported cases. Recognising the importance of staying current in the digital landscape, the SIU provides investigators with secure access to

internal systems, promoting a flexible “work from anywhere” culture. In this pursuit, the SIU employs innovative tools and strategies to uphold the integrity of state institutions in the ongoing battle against corruption. INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY FOR MORE EFFECTIVE LAW ENFORCEMENT To advance digital capabilities and enhance efficiency, SIU’s Chief Information Officer, Tumelo Zwane, along with her team, upgraded the unit’s communication and collaboration technologies. This transformation has firmly established the SIU as a digitally proficient organisation, now operating on a widely-adopted agile platform. The update ensures that the unit’s communication tools align with industry standards, contributing significantly to improved overall efficiency and productivity. Notably, this enhancement is reflected in investigations, resulting in reduced turnaround times and a more effective response to the SIU’s mandate. SIU ENHANCES CYBERCRIME FIGHT WITH INTERPOL PARTNERSHIP The SIU in South Africa has strengthened its investigative capabilities through a recent agreement with Interpol National Crime Bureau. This provides exclusive access to Interpol’s Information System, aiding in combating cybercrime. The collaboration includes training resources from Interpol NCB and fosters relationships between local and international law enforcement. This initiative is timely given the rising cybercrime concerns in South Africa, showcasing effective online crime-fighting efforts. The collaboration signifies a promising step forward in addressing evolving challenges posed by cybercrime. SOURCE: SIU | SIU Annual Performance Plan 2023/2024 | IOL

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South Africa’s first smart rural village: Gwakwani


nown as the Great North, Limpopo province is celebrated for its rich history, abundant natural wonders, and diverse culture. It is a land of ancient and prehistoric secrets, Modjadji–the fabled Rain Queen, the Stone Age and Iron age relics of Makapansgat Valley and the treasures of Mapungubwe that date back to time immemorial. With a population of 93 795, 99.4% are black Africans, and 52% depend on grants and remittances as their main income. To address the challenges, there is a need for job creation interventions and economic opportunities. Investing in education and skills development must be coupled with programmes creating employment to uplift the community in Limpopo.

And that is what happened back in 2014 in the remote Limpopo village of Gwakwani. Home to 100 people, the village had no basic amenities,

unreliable cell phone reception, and no access to the internet. When the School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) heard about the lack of infrastructure they offered to help.

in darkness. When Godfrey, now 35, attended school, Gwakwani had no infrastructure. Only one person had a formal job and funds for essentials like diesel for the borehole pump and paraffin for lamps were scarce.

This was in line with the school’s ethos that “research that does not make a difference does not matter,” says Cornay Keefer, the School of Electrical Engineering’s project manager.

Almost a decade on since the transdisciplinary partnership between the UJs School of Electrical Engineering, the village chief, the local council, Schneider Electric and Sigfox was established, children who had never seen a light now learn English through television at the crèche, school-going children complete homework under bright lights and the solar bakery employs 8 full-time workers.

GWAKWANI: SOUTH AFRICA’S FIRST SMART RURAL VILLAGE This is a story of innovative thinking, strategic resourcing, partnerships, achieving development goals, technological innovations and a rural village that was put on the map for the first time. As a young man, Godfrey Nefolovhodwe walked a 38 km round trip to get to high school every day, a journey that took about three hours each way. His journey started in the dark and ended almost

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Sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the technology implemented, while not at the forefront of the 4IR, is impactful, and has introduced transformative changes to provide running water, electricity, access to education and job creation.

A few years ago, these technological advancements were nonexistent. Fortune favours the innovative The changes that have been introduced in the area over the past ten years are remarkable. In particular, they speak to achieving the goals of building resilient infrastructure, which includes not only access to electricity but also increasing access to information and communications technology. The UJ team initiated essential improvements, replacing the diesel borehole pump with a solar-powered one and installing a network of taps, tanks, solar lights, and streetlights. The quest for holistic advancement extended to economic empowerment in Gwakwani which marked the beginning of positive changes. The remote location which limited income generation, education and unemployment, prompted the electrical engineering team to introduce solar technology. This brought about a solar bakery, providing a regular supply of bread and creating employment opportunities for eight trained local bakers. A communal drip irrigation system allowed residents to cultivate vegetables, and solar-powered facilities, including a crèche with Gwakwani’s first television, improved the overall quality of life. Rural, remote, and innovative “Everything we have installed in Gwakwani can be monitored remotely,” Cornay explains. This allows for real-time tracking of village infrastructure, including water tank levels, cold storage temperatures, and borehole pump issues. Today, Godfrey is Cornay’s man on the ground. During his training

in Gwakwani and two years at UJ’s Johannesburg campuses, he gained various technical skills. “I’ve learned how to work with electronics well,” he says. “If there’s a fault in the bakery, I have the knowledge and skills to fix it.” The remote monitoring solutions, made possible through an Internet of Things (IoT) network in partnership with global communications provider Sigfox, introduced a system that does not rely on cell phone signals, which, until early 2020, was nonexistent in the village. Instead, it uses ultra-narrow band radio technology to enable a variety of monitoring sensors that are defined by their long battery life, low cost, low connectivity fee, high network capacity, and long-range communication capabilities. A smart village, a sustainable future “I think what’s interesting is that we’re using basic 4IR systems in an area that has never had access to any form of technology before,” says Professor Suné von Solms, associate professor at the School of Electrical Engineering. The result is a smart IoT village that operates without municipal infrastructure and meets the social and economic needs of its residents – not only in the short term but

on an ongoing basis. “Being able to monitor what’s happening in Gwakwani using 4IR technologies makes this project sustainable,” says the head of UJ’s School of Electrical Engineering, Professor Johan Meyer. “And that’s what we’re after: its long-term success.” GWAKWANI AND BEYOND In recent months, the establishment of a community development trust through the Industrial Development Corporation marks a significant step forward. With a promised R5 million, this trust sets the stage for implementing a comprehensive community development plan benefiting multiple villages in the area. With running water, lights and economic activity, Gwakwani is starting to look and feel more and more like a small town. “It feels like we’re almost on the map,” Godfrey says, “and education, technological innovations and in this rural village made it all possible. The advancements deployed to address urgent needs represent just the beginning of a broader transformative journey that shows that though education, 4IR, innovative thinking, strategic resourcing and partnerships, achieving development goals will go a long way in improving lives. Source: The Conversation| universityofjohannesburg| StatsSA

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Internet banking: Cybercriminal playground


7.8 million South Africans 78.7% of the population - used mobile devices to access the internet In 2022. This upward trend is expected to continue and by 2027 the anticipated trajectory of internet utilisation in South Africa and the ascendancy of mobile devices is expected to grow by 90%.

However, alongside this remarkable industry growth comes a concerning increase in cyber fraud. Identity theft, credit card fraud, online privacy, and scams like phishing are highlighted as major consumer concerns.

So far in 2023, South African companies have reported around 110 cyber security incidents every month. However, this problem is not unique to South Africa; many developing and developed nations share similar statistics regarding attacks on corporate IT systems. This dynamic risk environment rife with opportunistic fraudsters, underscores challenges both consumers and businesses face in ensuring security and positive online experiences.

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Phishing and vishing remained preferred methods for fraudsters to gain access to banking login details DIGITAL BANKING FRAUD SKYROCKETS In 2022, digital banking fraud in South Africa reached alarming levels, with cybercriminals syphoning off over millions, as reported by the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric). Gross losses escalated from R440-million in 2021 to R740.8-million

in 2022 — a staggering 68% rise in financial impact. This surge was particularly attributed to a rise in fraud cases associated with banking applications and internet banking. The report shed light on the prevalence of social engineering techniques and a notable increase in app-related fraud incidents, which saw a 36% rise in reported cases. CELL PHONE BANKING While mobile banking fraud experienced a 9% decrease between 2021 and 2022, accounting for 28% of reported digital banking crimes, manipulation of individuals, known as ‘mules,’ played a crucial role in digital banking fraud. Unsuspecting individuals were targeted as intermediaries, enticed with promises of easy money or job opportunities through online advertisements or phishing schemes. Cybercriminals used several methods, including spear phishing, whaling, smishing (SMS phishing), business email compromise, vishing, pretexting, and angler phishing, often combining them in broader fraudulent schemes. Once recruited, these ‘mules’ were instructed to open bank accounts under their own names. BANKING APP FRAUD Incidents of fraud on banking apps witnessed a significant 36% increase, with cases rising from 12 254 in 2021 to 16 638 in 2022. The associated gross losses surged by 68%, reaching R363-million from R219-million in the previous year. This segment accounted for 46% of digital banking crimes, making it the most targeted area. Sabric

attributed this surge to the growing number of banking application users. On average, the financial loss per incident rose from R17 647 in 2021 to R21 836 in 2022, reflecting a 24% increase.

information through deceptive calls or links. Similar to other digital banking fraud, mobile banking fraud may involve a SIM swap, although this decreased from 87% in 2021 to 76% in 2022.

Sabric highlighted that fraudsters employed various social engineering tactics, including vishing, where scammers posed as bank officials or service providers, manipulating victims into disclosing confidential information used for fraudulent activities. Their modus operandi involved intercepting transactional verification tokens, such as onetime PINs and transaction approval requests, achieved through manipulation during calls.

JOINING FORCES: UNVEILING DIGITAL FORENSIC HUB TO COMBAT FINANCIAL CRIME The greylisting of South Africa by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), due to shortcomings in the ability to combat financial crime, emphasised the critical need for banks to collaborate with regulators and law enforcement.

While incidents involving SIM swaps decreased significantly, Sabric noted a rise in cases involving the kidnapping or hijacking of individuals to gain unauthorised access to their banking applications under duress. Importantly, no confirmed compromise of banking applications has been reported to date in such cases. Online banking fraud, constituting 26% of reported incidents of digital banking crime, resulted in the second-highest proportion of gross losses, reaching 47%. Phishing and vishing remained preferred methods for fraudsters to gain access to banking login details. SILVER LINING On a positive note, reported mobile banking fraud decreased by 9% from 2021 to 2022, constituting 28% of reported digital banking crimes. It boasts the lowest proportion of gross losses at only 4%, thanks to enhanced detection measures by banks. Fraudsters mainly utilised smishing, deceiving victims into revealing confidential banking

In an effort to enhance investigating and prosecuting financial crime, the Banking Association South Africa (Basa) and the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) have collaborated with the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks). Together, they are establishing a Digital and Financial Forensic Analysis Centre for the directorate. This centre aims to offer advanced training to 40 senior investigators, equipping them with crucial financial forensic analysis skills. This training will enable investigators to more efficiently retrieve and analyse digital data in their pursuit of combating financial crime. This partnership is essential to reduce the risk of the financial system being exploited for criminal activities. In addition to meeting the immediate remedial needs outlined by the FATF, the resource and training aspects of this project will, in the long run, enhance South Africa’s capacity to effectively investigate and prosecute financial crimes. Source: ITWeb | fineksus | Engineering News | 4C Group of Companies

December 2023/ January 2024 | Public Sector Leaders | 51


Lawlessness will not be tolerated “One life lost is indeed one too many.”


he 2023/24 festive season road safety campaign was officially launched by the Minister of Transport, Sindisiwe Chikunga, along with other MECs and relevant stakeholders on Sunday, November 26, at the Tsakane stadium in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng.

The official launch came a week after World Day of Remembrance. Delivering her keynote address, Hon. Chikunga stated that this holiday season, like the Easter holidays, is one of the busiest traffic times on the

country’s roads as there are several movements between provinces. She said it is also a time when South Africa sees a large influx of tourists from nearby countries visiting the country. OUTLINING PLANS FOR THIS 2023/24 FESTIVE SEASON CAMPAIGN Hon. Chikunga vowed that the Department of Transport, in collaboration with provincial and municipal traffic departments and transport agencies such as the Road Traffic Management Corporation, the Road Traffic Infringement Agency, the

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Cross-Border Road Traffic Agency, and the South African Police Service, will once again go out to make the roads safer during this time. She said they start the festive season inspired by the achievement recorded last year, which showed that road traffic crashes decreased during the six weeks of the festive season. “Last year, crashes dropped by seven (7) percent from one thousand three hundred and ninety-five (1395) crashes to one thousand two

hundred and ninety-nine (1 299). On the other hand, fatalities decreased from one thousand eight hundred and eight (1 808) to one thousand five hundred and sixty (1 560). “However, these figures will always remain a tip of the iceberg, as our intentions are to halve this number of car crashes and fatalities by 2030, as is the global target set by the United Nations. We will therefore not lower our guard this holiday season. Hon. Chikunga added that support from the private sector, the interfaith community, and committed motorists will inspire and “guide law enforcers to protect and serve our travelling communities during the forthcoming festive season.” She said they will be deploying personnel and technologies across the country to prevent incidents and accidents, especially in high-risk accident-prone locations. She said every province has been given a target to achieve to ensure that they can move the country on a solid trajectory towards the attainment of the 2030 target of halving road fatalities. “Therefore, everyone is called upon to put their shoulders to the wheel to ensure a better outcome this season and throughout our 365-Day Road Safety Campaign. “It is against this backdrop that we will be intensifying our efforts and interventions in the five provinces that contribute more than 80% of road crashes and fatalities. The following provinces, which are Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal, the Eastern Cape, the Western Cape, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga, will

We are here to commit to being safety ambassadors and to strictlyfollow all road safety rules.

receive focused attention this year with nighttime deployment of traffic officers and road safety activations that are intended to improve pedestrian safety. She added that their interventions will be based on a six-point approach that will drive the activities of all provinces this year. The strategy asks for actions to address pedestrian safety, vehicle roadworthiness, public transport overload, drunk driving, speeding, and warrant execution. “Special instructions have been issued for all provincial authorities to conduct public transport inspections of buses and taxis at ranks before they join the freeways, weighbridges to remain open, and malayshas to be guided to weighbridges to ensure height and load compliance. “Heightened operations are to be undertaken on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Corridor operations will be undertaken during peak travel periods, linking provinces that share borders. Twenty-four routes which have recorded a high number of crashes and fatalities in the past will be prioritised.” Touching on the issue of criminal activity conducted on national roads, Hon. Chikunga condemned the lawlessness happening on the country’s roads.

“I must indicate that our national roads are critical strategic economic assets for this country. We cannot allow lawlessness to be the order of the day. The criminality that have been conducted on our national roads are treasonous. In the short to medium term, we are deploying our law enforcement on national roads. In the long term, we are currently looking at making all our national road network smart roads,” she said. THE WORLD DAY OF REMEMBRANCE Speaking about the importance of the World Day of Remembrance, Hon. Chikunga said they have convened with leaders and members of the interfaith community, as well as representatives from many transport stakeholders, to pray for divine healing and strength for the families of road traffic casualties. “We are here as a nation to say enough is enough. One life lost is indeed one too many. We are here to say, remember, support, and act. We are here to commit to being safety ambassadors and to strictly follow all road safety rules. “Let us always pray that over this festive season we should not experience the carnage that has come to so shamefully define our roads. “It is for that reason that for this year our theme is FIKA USAPHILA; let’s all ensure that we Arrive Alive by leaving no one behind.” - Hon. Sindisiwe Chikunga. Sources: SA Gov| DoT|

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How you can give back this festive season


hristmas and the New Year are around the corner and while for many it has been a year of recovery, there are many who will need a helping hand. Throughout the year, there are opportunities to offer up your time to help those in need, and if you have not done so already, the festive season is a perfect time for you to start making a difference. Here are some organisations you can donate your time or money to and bring some cheer to others.

NATIONAL SEA RESCUE INSTITUTE (NSRI) The South African festive season falls right at the beginning of summer which will see tens of thousands of people flocking to the country’s beautiful beaches, as well as rivers and dams. A key feature of safety programmes during the festive season are drowning prevention programmes, with the NSRI leading the way with its three core programmes.

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One of those programmes is the award-winning Pink Rescue Buoy initiative, which began In 2017. “Placed strategically on signs at selected inland rivers, dams and at beaches, these bright pink buoys act as a reminder to take care if there are no lifeguards on duty, and that in the event of someone getting into difficulty in the water, they can be used as emergency flotation until help arrives. Their bright pink colour allows them to be easily seen,” says the NSRI.

KHULISA SOCIAL SOLUTIONS With a national footprint - including over 180 staff members, working in ~150 communities - Khulisa Social Solutions is a non-profit organisation focused on vulnerable young people and communities at large. In the beginning, they were geared towards helping young offenders by establishing the country’s first official rehabilitation programme specific to the youth. They have since broadened their focus incorporating “peace-making and restorative approaches, to holistic community development, tackling a wide range of issues countering social andeconomic inclusion”. Khulisa Social Solutions does not view social issues in isolation, instead, they take a unique approach to community development which seeks to align policy, service delivery and support systems.

Throughout the year, there are opportunities to offer up your time to help those in need

In 2018 the initiative was recognised with the International Maritime Rescue Federation’s award for innovation and technology. Last month, the rescue of a young man by beachgoers in Port Edward highlighted the effectiveness of the Pink Buoys. You can sponsor one for R1 500 on the NSRI’s online store, or become a custodian. For more information, visit

For more information on Khulisa Social Solutions, and information on how you can play your part, visit THE HAVEN NIGHT SHELTER Cape Town is a popular tourist destination, not only for international travellers but for locals as well. If you find yourself in Cape Town this festive season, offering your time at the Haven Night Shelter is a great way to give back. The shelter’s history goes back to the late 70s. “Our method is to make temporary shelter, rehabilitation opportunities, social welfare services, family reunification services, physical care and support available to adult people living on the streets who are committed to reintegration,” says the shelter.

With 15 shelters across the city, their reach allows them to help as many people as are willing to be helped. Social workers assist in helping the people who come to the shelter with forming a personal development plan. For more information on how you can get involved, visit TLC CHILDREN’S HOME For almost three decades, TLC Children’s Home has been providing “attachment-based, trauma-informed” care to children and babies. The home runs on a family-orientated approach, rescuing abandoned children. “Since 1993, we have helped over 900 abandoned babies find forever homes. Building on our legacy, we recently moved to a new property that is better suited to the excellent services we provide our babies,” says TLC Children’s Home. A team of 40 cares for the children full-time, and the annual cost of running the facility is R9-million. Over the years, almost a thousand babies have been cared for at the home. They have a close relationship with social workers at the Department of Social Development, who bring children from different backgrounds to TLC. “We also help to support about 30 other TLC children who, over the years, have been placed into the care of the TLC founding family. As they reach adulthood we work hard to support and encourage their independence as they gradually phase out of their dependency on the organisation,” says TLC. For more information on how you can volunteer your time or make a donation, visit Sources: HPSA | Khulisa Social Solutions | Haven Night Shelter | TLC | Daily Maverick | NSRI

December 2023/ January 2024 | Public Sector Leaders | 55


Treat your family to a culinary adventure! Dive into kid-friendly flapjack delights and fingerlicking sticky wings.

honey soy sticky wings This recipe is a symphony of honey’s golden sweetness, the umami richness of soy sauce, and a medley of aromatic spices, creating a finger-licking experience that will leave you craving more. Get ready to indulge in a sticky, glazed sensation that will make these wings the star of any gathering!



2kg chicken wings


1 ½ tsp white sesame seeds

1 ½ green onion stem , finely sliced

Honey Soy Marinde •

7 tbsp honey

1tsp Mrs Ball's Chutney

7 ½ tbsp light soy sauce

1 ½ large garlic clove, finely chopped or minced

1 tbsp canola oil

2 ½ tbsp dark soy sauce

4 ½ tbsp apple cider vinegar (or any white vinegar)

½tsp MSG (optional)

2. 3.

4. 5. 6.

Prep: 5min Cook: 1 Hour Serves: 6

Mix marinade ingredients in a bowl until combined & the

honey is dissolved. Pour over the wings in a ziplock bag, and leave to marinade for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan). Line a large baking tray with foil and spread your wings out evenly, skin side up.

Reserve the leftover marinade and bake for 30 minutes.

Drain off juices on the tray and discard. Doing this will ensure your sweet sauce thickens.

Pour the leftover marinade over the wings making sure all of them are covered and spread out again, skin side up.

Turn oven down to 180°C (160°C fan). Bake wings for another

30 minutes, basting with tray juices every 10 minutes (3 times). Rearrange wings as needed if cooking unevenly, you can even turn them upside down if they brown too quickly. The Sauce


should be syrupy by the end so you can glaze well.

Transfer wings into a serving bowl. Pour over syrup on tray, sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onion and serve! n

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the fluffiest flapjacks These flapjacks are not just a breakfast item; they’re a fluffy symphony of wholesome ingredients, expertly combined to achieve the ultimate pillow-soft texture. Prep: 15min

Cook: +-30min

Serves: 12

Ingredients •

2 cups self rising flour

½ cup of white sugar

2 table spoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup full cream milk

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla essence

¼ Cup canola oil

The Fluffiest Flapjacks

Method: 1.

Sieve and then mix together the dry


Mix together the milk and oil and set aside as well.


4. 5. 6. 7.

8. 9.

ingredients and set aside.

Beat the eggs and sugar until frothy.

Add in the vanilla and continue mixing until all the sugar has dissolved.

Add half of your dry ingredients to the egg and mix

for a few seconds, then add half of the milk mixture.

Repeat this step with the rest of the dry ingredients and

milk, mixing just until the batter is combined and smooth.

Lightly oil a non-stick pan and set to a medium-low heat. Drop your desired amount of batter into the pan, and fry until you see bubbles rise to the surface, then flip

Garnish your glorious heap of flapjacks with any topping

of your choice. (We recommend fresh berries, honey and vanilla ice cream!) n

Topco Tip

Chop up a slab of your favorite chocolate and add to your batter for a delicious choc-chip flapjack!

Save it for later

Click or Scan the QR code to download our recipes for keeps.

Honey Soy Sticky Wings

December 2023/ January 2024 | Public Sector Leaders | 57


Bonuses, leave, overtime and tax 5 misconceptions and myths – what you should be aware of


s the year-end and holidays approach, many workers look forward not only to a well-deserved rest but also to the possibility of receiving a bonus. For those fortunate enough to receive some extra payment, you may be wondering about the tax implications and how much of it you can actually enjoy and spend. And what about those unlucky not to receive a bonus, are they entitled to any type of bonus?

South Africa’s payroll tax is plagued by persistent misconceptions and myths about variable remuneration—bonuses, overtime pay, commission, and leave pay. It is essential to exercise caution and be informed, as not everything you believe or have heard about tax deductions is true. We look at some of the most common misconceptions and myths, providing clarification based on what the tax and labour laws actually state.

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THE MISUNDERSTANDING ABOUT BONUSES A discretionary bonus is an additional payment given at the management’s discretion, typically as a gesture of appreciation for an employee’s efforts. It is usually not guaranteed and can vary widely. In contrast, a performance bonus is typically awarded to employees based on predetermined criteria or the overall performance of the company. These bonuses, linked to factors like meeting production

A discretionary bonus is an additional payment given at the management’s discretion

contracts or company policies, with various factors such as work hours, performance, and company achievements influencing whether a bonus is paid.

or sales targets and performance appraisal scores, are commonly known as performance bonuses or production bonuses. The ‘13th cheque’ misconceptions It is important to understand that employers are not obligated to provide any type of bonus. Receiving any extra payment or ‘bonus’ is entirely at the discretion of the company and is not mandated by labour laws. Bonuses are determined by

MYTH 1: BONUSES DO NOT GET TAXED Whether you receive a 13th cheque or a performance bonus, it is taxed at the same rate as other forms of remuneration. To determine the tax rate on the payroll for the year, the bonus is added to your annual salary. This calculation helps determine the total tax owed for the full tax year. Sometimes, a bonus can push you into a higher tax bracket, resulting in a higher tax rate for that portion of your income. Keep in mind that these calculations are typically automated by your employer’s payroll software. MYTH 2: THE EMPLOYER MUST PAY OUT ALL LEAVE DUE According to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act employees are entitled to either 21 consecutive days or 15 working days of paid annual leave, however it does not specify how excess leave is treated. If you accrue more than 15 working days in a year, your employer is not obligated to pay the extra leave, unless your employment contract says otherwise. Leave must be

taken within six months after the annual leave cycle ends and you cannot sell days of your minimum leave to your employer. And outstanding leave is only paid when you leave the company. MYTH 3: SALARY IS TAXED DIFFERENTLY FROM OVERTIME OR COMMISSION Regardless of whether your employer labels your payment as a salary, overtime, or commission, it is taxed at the same rate on the payroll, as per the standard PAYE tax tables. While there may be a different code on the tax certificate to specify the payment type, there are no distinct tax rates for different forms of remuneration. MYTH 4: A TRAVEL ALLOWANCE (COMPANY OR PRIVATE VEHICLE) IS TREATED THE SAME A travel allowance, designed to cover business travel expenses, may be provided for an employee using their private vehicle. If the allowance is for an employerprovided vehicle (company car), it is treated as a taxable allowance rather than a travel allowance on the payroll. MYTH 5: AN EMPLOYEE PETROL CARD IS TAXED DIFFERENTLY FROM A TRAVEL ALLOWANCE If an employee uses a companyowned petrol or garage card for a private vehicle, the tax treatment on the payroll is the same as for a travel allowance. The only difference lies in the varying allowance and taxable amount each month. Source: Sage/ Labour Guide/ SAIT

December 2023/ January 2024 | Public Sector Leaders | 59


Tips to help you achieve financial success in 2024 A month-to-month

planning guide


ith rising costs for essentials like food, fuel, and electricity, the new year presents an ideal opportunity to add financial fitness to our resolutions.

In simple terms, financial fitness means possessing the skills, knowledge, and tools to make wise money decisions. Basics like saving, debt management and contemplating retirement form the core of a financially fit lifestyle.And achieving financial fitness is very similar to developing a fitness routine - it demands planning, discipline, and perseverance. It involves an understanding of proven principles for a healthy life.

Much like adopting a fitness regimen brings benefits and confidence, being financially fit means skillfully managing money for present and future needs. Having, and sticking, to a financial plan helps save for emergencies, avoid debt, and build good credit, all crucial for financial security. To kickstart your journey to managing your money, here’s a monthly breakdown of practical tips to help you achieve financial fitness. TOP TIPS FOR FINANCIAL FITNESS 1. The 50-30-20 rule Allocate 50% of your money toward needs, 30% toward wants, and 20% toward savings, which includes money needed for future goals.

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20% Savings 20% Wants


20% Needs

Automate your bank accounts Automate your bank accounts – a key practice of financially wise individuals. Set up automated transfers from your checking account to savings, bill payments, and contributions to retirement funds. This ensures a clear understanding of your spending, eliminates late fees, and designates leftover money

for discretionary spending. Keep track of your spending to avoid overdraft fees and refrain from transferring money back from savings to checking if you run out. January is Financial Wellness Month Time for financial S.M.A.R.T. goals: • Specific: Set clear financial goals and determine savings needed for your dreams, including an emergency fund. • Budget for special celebrations like Valentines, Easter, and weekend breaks.Consider expenses like car servicing and licence fees, haircuts and birthday presents. • Measurable: Compare incoming vs outgoing monies. • Actionable: Develop actions to achieve your goals, track and adjust spending regularly. • Realistic: Ensure goals are achievable. • Track: Evaluate daily expenses, especially on take-outs and quick fixes. February – Financial wish list • Establish short-, medium-, and long-term financial goals, such as saving for a holiday, a house deposit, studying and retirement. • Clearly define timelines, monitor progress, and set requirements to achieve each goal. • Use income growth, bonuses, and windfalls to boost savings and investments. March – Expand that Rand • Examine your budget for expense reduction or revision. • Optimise life, home, auto, and other insurance policies. • Negotiate premiums with current service providers or shop around for better deals. • Terminate unused subscriptions and monitor in-app purchases to control spending.

• Avoid high-cost cash withdrawals from non-affiliated banks or using credit cards. April – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle • Reduce expenses by reusing and recycling. • Explore lift clubs or public transport options to cut fuel costs. • Sell unwanted items and consider swapping or sharing items. • Explore energy options to reduce reliance on coal-based electricity May – Manage your debt • Control spending growth, keeping it proportionate to income. • Develop a strategy to eliminate high-interest debt. • Address potential issues with loan repayments and allocate available cash to repayments to reduce debt faster. • Begin by targeting high-interest debt, such as credit card or store credit. June – Financial check-up • Schedule a mid-year meeting with your adviser or personal banker. • Review your will, investments, and insurance. • Assess if changes in your circumstances warrant adjustments to your insurance for financial protection. July – Year-end planning • Start holiday preparations early. • Book holidays in advance, buy gifts on sale, and save store rewards points for year-end expenses. • Planning ahead avoids last-minute stress and expensive purchases. August – Automate and consolidate • Combine or consolidate investments and loans to reduce costs. • Explore redirecting retirement annuity contributions towards your employer’s fund.

Sticking to a financial plan helps save for emergencies, avoid debt, and build good credit • Utilise direct deposit for savings accounts to prevent unnecessary spending. • Use autopay for recurring bills like mortgages and student loans. • Employ money management apps to track payments and expenses. September – Build a contingency stash • Invest in a tax-free savings account (TFSA) with high yields for emergency funds to avoid dipping into long-term savings for emergencies. October – Tax return • Prepare and submit your personal tax returns on time to avoid penalties. • If working from home, get a letter from your employer to claim qualifying expenses. • Comply with home office requirements and understand potential impacts on capital gains tax. November – Tax refund • Use a tax refund constructively, whether contributing to a TFSA, making a significant purchase, or allocating it towards debt repayments. December – Planning and Budgeting • Review your budget and cash flow • Allocate money for additional expenses during the festive season • Be strict with spending stick to your budget

December 2023/ January 2024 | Public Sector Leaders | 61


December/January is about


2023 marks the 75th anniversary of the groundbreaking Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Aligned with this milestone, this year’s theme, ‘Consolidating and Sustaining Human Rights Culture into the Future,’ emphasises the ongoing commitment to nurture a culture upholding and preserving human rights for generations to come. This pivotal document recognises the inherent rights entitled to every human being— regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status. The UDHR, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on December 10, 1948, established fundamental human rights to be universally protected. A year-long initiative focusing on universality, progress and engagement, will culminate in a high-level event in December 2023, which will announce global pledges and ideas for a vision for the future of human rights.


Observed annually on December 16th, this day underscores the importance of acknowledging the country’s complex history while actively working towards a more harmonious and integrated future.

The Day of Reconciliation commemorates the end of the Battle of Blood River in 1838 and the establishment of the Day of the Vow. Following the apartheid era, the government redefined this day as a symbol of national unity and reconciliation.

As part of ongoing efforts to foster healing and understanding among South Africa’s diverse population— transcending historical racial and cultural divisions—it serves as a poignant reminder of the country’s commitment to building a united and inclusive nation.

Various events, ceremonies, and activities take place to encourage reflection on the past, promote open dialogue, and celebrate the progress made in overcoming historical challenges.

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2023 marks the annual global observance of the plight of migrants with the theme “Free To Choose Whether To Migrate Or To Stay.”

The right to decide on migration should always be a free choice, yet millions of individuals are compelled to leave their homelands each year due to conflicts, persecution, natural disasters, or simply because of challenges in leading a dignified life in their own country.

Addressing and eliminating such root causes of forced migration require collective efforts from everyone, each shouldering their responsibilities. International Migrants Day is an annual observance that spotlights the valuable contributions migrants make to societies worldwide and advocates for the protection of their rights. It acknowledges the hurdles and opportunities associated with international migration, striving to raise awareness about the experiences of migrants and their profound impact on global communities.


This day underscores the importance of solidarity in 21stcentury international relations, emphasising the duty of those who benefit the most to assist those who suffer or benefit the least, especially amid global challenges and inequalities.

The Sustainable Development Agenda is dedicated to people and the planet, grounded in human rights and supported by a global partnership committed to alleviating poverty, hunger, and disease. It is intricately woven with threads of global cooperation and solidarity. On this day, as we remind governments to honour commitments to international agreements, the aim is to raise public awareness of the pivotal role that solidarity plays and encourage debates on strategies to promote solidarity for the Sustainable Development Goals, with a specific focus on eradicating poverty. It’s a day of action, inspiring fresh initiatives to combat and eliminate poverty.


World Braille Day globally honours the contributions of Louis Braille, a Frenchman who, in response to his own blindness, developed Braille as a vital tactile writing method for the blind and visually impaired. It emphasises the essential role of Braille in literacy, communication, and independence. This day raises awareness to foster inclusive environments, aligning with broader efforts to respect the rights and potential of individuals with disabilities.

In South Africa, World Braille Day involves various activities promoting Braille use and understanding. Urban-rural literacy disparities, especially among the visually impaired, underscore the urgent need for solutions. Governmental and non-profit organisations have an opportunity to advocate for measures promoting Braille literacy. This can bridge gaps, ensuring equal access to information, education, and empowerment for all South Africans, regardless of visual ability.


Globally celebrated annually, the International Day of Education is a worldwide initiative dedicated to championing the pivotal role of education in fostering global peace and sustainable development. Instituted by the United Nations (UN), this event highlights the significance of inclusive and equitable education for all. It serves as a clarion call to governments, institutions, and individuals, urging them to prioritise education as a fundamental human right deserving of respect and protection. In South Africa, the observance extends throughout the month, contributing to a broader focus on education at both governmental and grassroots levels. Government departments, academic institutions, non-governmental organisations, and community groups engage in diverse activities to mark the occasion. Aligned with the UN theme of ‘Learning for people, planet, prosperity, and peace,’ these activities focus on policy dialogues, community workshops, and public awareness campaigns.

Source: WinCalendar/ Safer South Africa/ Dirco/

December 2023/ January 2024 | Public Sector Leaders | 63


Africa’s fastest-growing top 100 companies in 2023 Sensational seventeen: South Africa dominates the top 50


outh Africa shines with 17 entities in the top 50 of Africa’s 100 fastestgrowing companies for 2023, as revealed by The Financial Times and Statista’s annual ranking. In its second year, the ranking underscores the remarkable expansion of companies in fintech, renewable energy, healthcare, commodities, and agriculture. This growth occurred at a time when much of the world was grappling with the impacts of the pandemic, highlighting the resilience and growth of businesses across diverse sectors despite challenges stemming from the global lockdown in 2021.

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The diverse rankings highlight the dynamic and varied nature of Africa’s fastest-growing companies.

Nigeria takes the lead with the top two fastest-growing companies. Afex, specialising in brokerage and trade finance services for commodities such as maize, sorghum, cocoa, and rice, secures the 1st position with an impressive compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) exceeding 500% over three years. Following closely in 2nd place is Lagos-based Moniepoint, providing banking services tailored for small businesses.

A Kenyan e-commerce company, previously ranked #1, has secured the 3rd position this year. The company aids small traders in accessing inventory through enhanced supply chains across seven African countries, boosting efficiency. While start-ups dominate the list, there is a significant representation of Energy & Utilities companies. Established companies in metals and mining, telecoms, and construction also feature prominently in the top 100. In the top 100 fastest-growing companies, Achill, a Namibian winery, holds the 14th position with a CAGR of 89.327%. Following closely, Victory Farms, a Kenyan fish farm, secures the 15th spot with a GACR of 87.864%. Additionally, Vertice Medtech, a South African company specialising in remote hearing tests, ranks 28th with a CAGR of 53.643%. The diverse rankings highlight the dynamic and varied nature of Africa’s fastest-growing companies. This demonstrates their ability to flourish across different sectors, making significant contributions to the continent’s economic development. #1. AFEX Commodities Exchange Ltd. Brand: AFEX Country:Nigeria Industry: Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing CAGR: 505. % Revenue: $102-million Number of employees: 278 #2. Moniepoint, Inc. (formerly TeamApt, Inc.) Brand: Moniepoint Country: Nigeria

Industry: Fintech, Financial Services & Insurance CAGR: 321% Revenue: $62.6-million Number of employees: 538 #3. Sokowatch Ltd. Brand: Wasoko Country: Kenya Industry: E-commerce CAGR: 242% Revenue: $136.9-million Number of employees: 1 490 #4. Altech Brand: Altech Country: DRC Industry: Energy & Utilities CAGR: 214% Revenue: $17-million Number of employees: 4 000 #5. The Africaworks Group of Companies Brand: Africaworks Country: Mauritius Industry: Real estate CAGR: 190% Revenue: $6.8-million Number of employees: 105 #6. Deimos Cloud Pty Ltd. Brand: Deimos Country: South Africa Industry: IT & Software CAGR: 178% Revenue: $6.8-million Number of employees: 68 With an impressive 33 nominations in the top 100 fastest growing companies in Africa, 17 of those feature in the top 50! #6 Deimos Cloud Pty Ltd. #12 Bluesky Digital Solutions Pty Ltd. #23 Northam Platinum Holdings Ltd. #28 Vertice Medtech Holdings Pty Ltd. #29 Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. #31 Routed Hosting Pty Ltd.

#33 Sibanye Stillwater Ltd. #36 Herholdt’S Group Pty Ltd. #37 Luxity Pty Ltd. #38 Linkfields Innovations Pty Ltd. #40 Leatt Corp. #41 Nclose Pty Ltd. #42 Purple Group Ltd. #45 Entelect Software Pty Ltd. #47 Iser Pty Ltd. #48 Hearx Group #49 Pan African Resources Plc The latest ranking highlights significant changes and opportunities for African businesses due to the pandemic-driven boost in digitalisation. Sectors like digital finance, payments, trade facilitation, and healthcare have reaped substantial benefits. According to San Franciscobased tech and digital investment platform Partech, African tech start-ups raised $5.2-billion in 2021, three times more than the previous year, indicating the growing interest and investment in the African start-up ecosystem. The report also shows that African companies are gaining attention from international investors, leading to increased valuations. *As many fast-growing companies, often private, do not share detailed financial data, this ranking is an approximation. However, it maintains credibility through a strict screening process where senior executives validate figures, offering valuable insights into companies navigating a complex business landscape. Source: Financial Ttimes| Statista | Business Insider Africa Full article here Top 100 fastest growing companies in Africa:2023 South Africa’s fastest growing companies:2023

December 2023/ January 2024 | Public Sector Leaders | 65



Top to bottom: Folorunsho Alakija; Ngina Kenyatta; Hajia Bola Shagaya; Wendy Ackerman; Wendy Appelbaum

Looking at the list of the richest women in Africa, what is striking is that acquiring billionaire status does not happen overnight. Everyone featured here has spent a lifetime investing in, and growing, their entrepreneurial empires. Silver hair and gold in the bank!

TOPPING THE LIST OF WEALTHY POWERHOUSES IN AFRICA IS: Folorunsho Alakija - a Nigerian billionaire Fifty years ago Folorunsho started out in the fashion industry and today her business interests include real estate, oil and gas and printing. She is the owner of several groups of companies including Dayspring Property Development Company Limited, a real estate company which owns properties around the globe, as well as Rose of Sharon Prints and Promotions. Folorunsho is also Executive Director of FAMFA Oil, her familyowned oil production company. NEXT IS: Ngina Kenyatta - the mother of current Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta Nearing her ninth decade Ngina Kenyatta is a billionaire with a portfolio which includes investments, banking, media and the dairy industry. “Mama Kenyatta” has a 24.91% share in the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) – she also owns shares in Media Max, a media company that owns K24 TV, Kameme Radio, and The People newspaper.

THIRD PLACE GOES TO: Hajia Bola Shagaya who also hails from Nigeria With a current net worth of almost a billion US, Hajia Bola started out as an auditor for the Central Bank of Nigeria and then her entrepreneurial verve kicked in! She started an empire by importing Konica photographic equipment for resale. Nearly 40 years later she is CEO of Bolmus Group International with interests in oil, real estate, banking, and photography. Hajia founded Practoil Limited, and in 2005 became its managing director. Today Practoil is one of the largest importer and distributors of base oil in Nigeria today. 4TH AND 5TH PLACES ARE HELD BY SOUTH AFRICAN POWERHOUSES: Wendy Appelbaum is the richest woman in South Africa and the 4th wealthiest on the continent Wendy Appelbaum is the daughter of Liberty Group founder Donald Gordon and the owner and Chair of De Morgenzon Wine Estate. Previously, Wendy also served as the Deputy-Chairman of the Women’s Investment Portfolio Limited (Wiphold Limited), which is a renowned women’s investment holding company that is listed on JSE. Overall, Wendy is also a director of Sphere Holdings (Pty) Ltd, which is a black empowerment company

addressing financial services in mining sectors. In 2015, she was awarded both the Forbes Woman Businesswoman of the Year, and the Forbes Africa Woman of the Year. Wendy Ackerman – FMCG powerhouse Wendy Ackerman is one of the founders and an Executive Director of Pick ‘n Pay Stores. Along with her husband Raymond Ackerman, Wendy has been a tremendous force in building up one of South Africa’s leading FMCG retailers, which, to date, consists of over 450 stores, with the inclusion of 121 supermarkets and 14 hypermarkets. The company extends its food and retail services across South Africa, southern Africa and even Australia, and has employed an estimated 49,000 people over the years. Wendy received an Inyathelo Award for her family’s philanthropic efforts in 2007. A CAUTIONARY TALE For many years Isabel Dos Santos, daughter of Angolan President, José Eduardo dos Santos, topped the list as the richest woman in Africa. Currently in self-imposed exile in Dubai she is embroiled in legal battles while watching her empire implode.

December 2023/ January 2024 | Public Sector Leaders | 67 186 Loop St, Cape Town City, Centre, Cape Town, 8001, 0860009590

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