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Protecting and enhancing the role of the public sector CFO

The effectiveness and efficiency of a country’s public sector is vital to its success. Furthermore, sound financial management is a critical element in ensuring good delivery of public servic

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14 September 2017


According to a recent report released by the Auditor-General SA (AGSA), irregular expenditure has more than doubled since 2010-11 to R14.75 billion. Fruitless and wasteful expenditure in 2014-15 was more than R1 billion higher than in 2010-11 at R1.34 billion. Unauthorised expenditure also increased threefold from 2010-11 to R15.32 billion. In 2014-15, the AGSA rated the financial health of 92% of the municipalities as either concerning or requiring intervention.

Appropriately qualified and experienced public sector CFOs and financial managers are clearly a key ingredient in turning the fortunes of South African municipalities around. In some respects, public sector CFOs have a much harder time than their counter parts in the private sector, as not only do they have to meet the AGSA’s requirements, they are also have to demonstrate value to the public and develop an environment of trust and excellence.

In this next CFO Talks session, we will examine how to elevate the role of the public sector CFO in improving service quality and delivery and what can be done to protect his/her integrity and independence. Our keynote speaker and panelists will explore themes such as how to:

Join us on 14 September from 8 a.m. – 10.30 a.m. and take part is what will undoubtedly be a fascinating, open and frank conversation about promoting excellence within the public sector finance function.

08h00 Registration and refreshments
08h30 Welcome address
  Dr Renosi Mokate, Executive Director & CEO, UNISA Graduate School of Business Leadership
08h35 Opening remarks from the Chair
08h40 Keynote address
  Tsakani Ratsela, Deputy Auditor General of South Africa
09h20 Panel discussion: Protecting and enhancing the role of the public sector CFO
  Moderator: Michael Sass, Independent Consultant (former Accountant General SA)
  Dumisani Dlamini, CFO, National Arts Council
  Ntina Themba, Accountant General, Gauteng Provincial Government
  Trishantanie Pillay, Former CFO, SAFCOL
  Other panelists to be confirmed
10h10 Brunch and networking
10h45 Close
Venue: UNISA Graduate School of Business Leadership, Midrand
Date: 14 September 2017
Time: 08:00 for 08:30 – 10:45
CFO Talks - Tsakani Ratsela

Tsakani Ratsela, Deputy Auditor General, South Africa

Tsakani Ratsela is a qualified chartered account (CA) with nearly two decades of experience in the private and public sectors, spanning diverse areas that include Auditing, Corporate Advisory, Development Finance, Investment Management and Skills Development.

She has a wealth of governance experience gained through participation on numerous corporate boards and strategic committees including: Aberdare Cables (Africa’s largest cable manufacturer), Onelogix Limited (a listed logistics company), Public Investments Corporation (Africa’s largest asset manager), South African Institute of Chartered Accountants, Independent Regulatory Board of Auditors, FAIS Ombud, Alt-X Advisory Committee and Fasset, which she chaired.

Tsakani is a passionate advocate and active contributor to the growth and transformation of the accountancy profession, through her work with various organisations including Business Unity South Africa, Presidential Advisory Council on Black Economic Empowerment, African Women Chartered Accountants, the Association for the Advancement of Black Accountants of Southern Africa (where she is a Past President), as well as the CA Charter Council (where she serves as Chairman). She is currently the deputy auditor-general (DAG) of South Africa, the first South African woman to be appointed to this executive leadership position in the organisation’s 103-year history.

CFO Talks - Dumisani Dlamini

Dumisani Dlamini, CFO, National Arts Council


Dumisani Dlamini is a living example of dedication and commitment to his cause. An alumnus of the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, Dlamini is a qualified professional accountant, member of SAIPA with a Masters of Commerce Degree, Certificate in International Financial Reporting Standards, Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management and Bachelor of Technology in Taxation and a Diploma in Accounting.

Recognised for his hard work and dedication, Dlamini was involved with various municipalities as a Chairperson of the Audit Committee, assisting them to apply effective financial management and good governance.

Currently employed as the Chief Financial Officer of the National Arts Council, Dlamini continues to evolve the accounting profession. As CFO, Dlamini believes in improving the quality of governmental accounting standards. He has assisted the NAC to move from qualified audit opinion into achieving clean audit from the Auditor General for two consecutive years. He has received two awards: firstly for 2016 young CFO of the year and secondly public CFO of the year. He strongly believes in assembling great teams to do great things by professionalising the finance team and ensuring continued professional development.

CFO Talks - Michael Sass

Michael Sass, Independent Consultant, (former Accountant General SA)

Michael Sass is an independent contractor and board member. He has more than 28 years’ experience in the private and public sectors. He previously held senior positions with National Treasury, Morvest, Business Innovations Group, Grant Thornton, Gauteng Provincial Government, Johannesburg Consolidated Investments (JCI) and the South African Revenue Services (SARS).

Michael is the immediate past Accountant General of the Republic of South Africa. He previously served as the National Treasury representatives on various boards, including the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) and the Accounting Standards Board (ASB). He is also a past Chairperson of ESAAG (Eastern and Southern African Association of Accountants-General)

Academic background: Mr. Sass holds various qualifications, including a Master’s degree in Commerce as well as being a chartered accountant and certified internal auditor.

Michael has published numerous articles in technical publications and is an accomplished speaker at conferences. He also lectures by invitation at various tertiary institutions.

CFO Talks - Trishantanie Pillay

Trishantanie Pillay, Former CFO, SAFCOL

Trish has over 10 years of experience in both the private and public sectors. She became a CA (SA) at the age of 24 after completing her articles with PwC. Trish became familiar with the public sector as a Consultant with the Morvest Group. She was later promoted to an Associate Director - Consulting and ICT, giving her the perfect platform to learn and develop with public sector clients. Trish became the Acting CFO of the NRCS and later led the financial improvement team on the Limpopo Intervention Project. Trish is well known for her strong technical knowledge of PFMA, IFRS, GRAP and Treasury Regulations. She is also a frequent speaker on improving governance in the public sector. Trish joined a state-owned entity in August 2016 as the Group CFO and turned the entity from a projected loss to profit. Trish recently resigned to pursue her own career goals. She is passionate about empowering women in business and also supports Women against Abuse.

CFO Talks - Ntina Themba

Ntina Themba, Accountant General, Gauteng Provincial Government

Ntina Themba, Gauteng’s Provincial Accountant-General, loves numbers and this resulted in her becoming a professional accountant and occupying senior positions in the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG). She first qualified as a physiotherapist and worked at various hospitals for a number of years. But it was when she worked at Natalspruit Hospital that the “numbers’ bug” caught her. She registered at an adult centre for an introduction into basic accounting. She subsequently registered for a BCom degree with the University of South Africa (UNISA).

Halfway through her studies she took up a teaching post at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, previously known as Medunsa, dropped out of her BCom studies and did a BEd to enhance her skills and competency in the teaching field. But in 1997 she “felt the pull for numbers” again and decided to study on a part-time basis for Internal Auditing which she completed in 2001. She completed her Bcom Honours degree in Financial Management in 2014.

“The rest is history,” because she went on to become the General Manager: Finance Services at the then Gauteng Shared Services Centre (GSSC) now called Gauteng Department of e-Government (e-Gov) and subsequently the Accountant-General at Gauteng Provincial Treasury (GPT). Her career highlights include, amongst others, spearheading the process that resulted in the department being the first provincial treasury to be certified as an Accredited Training Centre for the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA). This has allowed GPT to train BCom graduates and contribute to increasing the pool of professional accountants in the province and the country.

Other career highlights include:

  • Ensuring that all provincial departments and entities achieve unqualified audit opinions in 2015/2016 and maintaining a positive outcome in 2016/17;
  • Increasing efficiency and reducing processing costs by sponsoring automation services in the provincial government, including e-journals, e-receipting, e-invoicing and using biometrics to verify both GPG employees and patients.