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14/07/2017

She has spent many years holding leadership positions, both in the public and higher education sectors, in spaces that require one to use evidence in decision making and in managing complexity within organisations.

This experience forms the basis of the contribution that Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Institutional Support, Dr Sibongile Muthwa, will make to the country through her new role as deputy chairperson of the Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC).

Dr Muthwa, who has served on the FFC as a commissioner for three years, was appointed deputy chairperson by President Jacob Zuma last week.

In announcing the appointment, the Presidency said her institutional knowledge as well as her experience as a serving member of the FFC would be of enormous value to the Commission.

The Commission's primary objective is to make recommendations to Parliament, the provincial legislatures, local government and other organs of state on financial and fiscal matters as envisaged in the Constitution and other national legislation.

In making these important recommendations, the Commission engages with, and uses evidence-based research to advise different entities of the state and government, primarily on matters of division of revenue and appropriation of the budget for the different priorities of the country.

On her appointment, Dr Muthwa said while any of the other long-standing commissioners would have been excellent choices for the position; she felt she could not decline a call to national service – in a small way.

Having served on the Commission since July 2014, Dr Muthwa said their responsibility as commissioners was to give an independent view on the pressing issues in the country now and into the future, and make revenue division recommendations towards these.

She said the major challenges that the country faced were those of unemployment, stunted economic growth, uneven access to opportunities including, for example, higher education, and “just the very stubborn persistent problem of poverty and deprivation”.

“Despite a lot of investment in various sectors, there is still a lot of discontent, especially among the working class and unemployed people. I feel that as a country we could do better in entrenching popular democracy and participation in determining decisions that inform the distribution of resources,” she said.

 “I believe that the strength of my contribution flows from the fact that I have worked, at different times, in the state sector as well as in higher education, so I value evidence-based decision making. However, valuing the importance of evidence-based strategy and decision making are in themselves not enough,” she says.

“It is important to possess an advanced understanding of the context, contestations and trade-offs which influence decision making within government. she says. “Having served in government at the level that I did, I have a good sense of the potential and the limitations of government to deliver.

Dr Muthwa was the Director General of the Eastern Cape Provincial Government for six years until 2010 and, prior to that, served her alma mater as Director of the Fort Hare Institute of Government at the University’s Bhisho campus for five years.

Describing her leadership style, Dr Muthwa said she had disciplined herself to consider her contribution in any setting or organisation as just that – a contribution – because she is part of a collective.

“I think it’s important to allow yourself to listen and to understand and to come to a place of leadership with very few assumptions, if any,” she said.

“I also grew up in a home where we were taught that there is strength in humility irrespective of position.”

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777
Zandile.Mbabela@mandela.ac.za