CityPress - - News - By Xolani Mban­jwa Pre­to­ria Jo­han­nesPurg

Ra­masela Ganda passed up the op­por­tu­nity to be the chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer for JSE-listed com­pany Ton­gaat Hulett and chose the civil ser­vice in­stead, a move that has led to Ekurhu­leni Metropoli­tan’s first clean au­dit.

Ganda (40) cred­its her man­age­ment team at Ekurhu­leni for the coun­cil’s first clean bill of fi­nan­cial health in 14 years. But Ganda is be­ing hum­ble.

The soft-spo­ken mother of four said the past eight years in gov­ern­ment have been the tough­est of her life. She at­tributes her suc­cess to the fi­nan­cial man­age­ment men­tor­ing she re­ceived while work­ing for Deloitte and An­glo Amer­i­can.

Born in At­teridgeville, west of Pre­to­ria, Ganda ma­tric­u­lated from Rei­tumetse High School. She al­ways wanted to be­come a po­lice of­fi­cer, but took the ad­vice of a teacher who in­stead sug­gested she reg­is­ter for char­tered ac­count­ing at the Uni­ver­sity of Pre­to­ria.

Af­ter do­ing her ar­ti­cles at Deloitte and spend­ing a few years in the pri­vate sec­tor, the daugh­ter of a home af­fairs of­fi­cial worked at the Na­tional En­ergy Reg­u­la­tor of SA.

“Gov­ern­ment is re­ally a tough place. But I chose gov­ern­ment and I knew very well the chal­lenges from a ca­reer point of view. I knew how eas­ily one’s ca­reer could be de­stroyed and that things that have noth­ing to do with you can de­stroy your ca­reer,” she said, adding that many of her friends had ques­tioned her de­ci­sion to join the civil ser­vice. The past 18 months have not been easy. “Lo­cal gov­ern­ment has it worse be­cause we’re the en­try point. For peo­ple to start talk­ing about the na­tional

1. Deal with what the Au­di­tor-Gen­eral has raised as short­com­ings, and look at the root cause and not the symptoms. 2. What­ever you do, treat state money with

re­spect and as if it was yours. 3. Have the high­est re­spect for the

law in ev­ery­thing you do. 4. Hire and sur­round your­self with com­pe­tent peo­ple.

5. Be a team player. 6. Be­have like a res­i­dent by

hold­ing regular meet­ings, and do walk-abouts to find out what the is­sues are for your res­i­dents and stake­hold­ers. 7. Ev­ery de­ci­sion counts and there is noth­ing too small or too big for a lo­cal

gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial. 8. Re­spond to all queries. 9. Check the en­tire value chain of each de­ci­sion. Ac­count for ev­ery­thing and en­sure all con­trols are in place,

from doc­u­ment man­age­ment to au­dit ac­tion plans.



10. gov­ern­ment, it is be­cause we have messed up big time some­where,” she said.

For her to make the fi­nan­cial changes she wanted at Ekurhu­leni hap­pen, Ganda said she “tough­ened up” and en­sured that the buck stopped with her. “One thing that gives you com­fort is when you en­ter the public ser­vice on your own merit be­cause you’re able to tell any­body what to do and what not to do, and you’re able to stand your ground,” she said.

Ganda said she wouldn’t change her ex­pe­ri­ence at Ekurhu­leni, or her team, for any­thing.

At­tend­ing com­mu­nity gath­er­ings, and re­spond­ing to late-night com­plaints about bro­ken street lights and long grass has taught her to ap­pre­ci­ate how her de­ci­sions af­fect ser­vice de­liv­ery.

She has told mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cials to get out of their of­fices and get to know the peo­ple and their is­sues.

Ganda, who plans to write a hand­book for chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cers, is clear that the politi­cians pro­vide the poli­cies, and from there it’s “hands off” as she im­ple­ments them.

“If you look at how many times of­fi­cials take the fall for politi­cians, it’s a lot. You have to ask your­self, do I want to be a sac­ri­fi­cial lamb? I don’t think any­body wants that,” she said.

“There are threats and all kinds of things that come with this job. If you don’t grant some­body a ten­der, you’re a tar­get. If you check if some­thing is il­le­gal, you’re a tar­get. We need, as ad­min­is­tra­tors, to rise up for what we be­lieve is right and not to suc­cumb to un­nec­es­sary pres­sures.”

Ra­masela Ganda

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