Trans­for­ma­tion in her blood

Show me what you’re do­ing for the coun­try and then we can talk

Finweek English Edition - - PEOPLE - CHANTYL MUL­DER POLOKO MO­FO­KENG polokom@fin­

CHANTYL MUL­DER be­gan 2010 with a R10,5m headache. As the head of the Thuthuka Ed­u­ca­tion, Up­lift­ment and Bur­sary Fund, she was sit­ting with ma­tric­u­lants she’d taken on to put through uni­ver­sity but no funds. Mul­der has made trans­for­ma­tion in the fi­nance sec­tor her life mis­sion. Her role at Thuthuka and at the South African In­sti­tute of Char­tered Ac­coun­tants (Saica) as se­nior ex­ec­u­tive: pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment, trans­for­ma­tion and growth, mean her days are spent look­ing for ways to give un­der­priv­i­leged stu­dents a chance for a bet­ter fu­ture.

Most of the bur­sary re­cip­i­ents are from ru­ral ar­eas, which Mul­der says are of­ten over­looked. On av­er­age young­sters who make it through the pro­gramme touch the lives of seven peo­ple – of­ten ed­u­cat­ing sib­lings and even build­ing homes for the fam­i­lies.

With this un­tapped tal­ent – with the need far out­strip­ping funds go­ing into 2010 – turn­ing away chil­dren wasn’t seen as an op­tion. In that in­stance Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Blade Nz­i­mande came to the party and cov­ered the short­fall, which led him to ask for a five-year plan from Mul­der and her team to se­cure fund­ing for un­der­grad­u­ates.

The SA Rev­enue Ser­vice and Au­di­tor Gen­eral have also been cred­ited with com­ing on board. The Se­tas play more of a role with post­grad­u­ate stu­dents. “Govern­ment re­ally plays its part but there’s still so much money that lies un­spent in Se­tas – which is a tragedy,” says Mul­der.

It seems the sec­ond tragedy is the amount of money tied up in ad­min­is­tra­tion costs, with only a trickle reach­ing the peo­ple who need it most. Mul­der is con­vinced Thuthuka has hit on a win­ning for­mula. Saica mem­bers con­trib­ute R4 000/year each through their mem­ber­ship fees, which cov­ers ad­min costs. All the funds raised go to bur­sary win­ners.

Now Mul­der’s on a mis­sion to con­vince Saica’s mem­bers to pledge an ad­di­tional R500/year each, which will to­tal around R15m if ev­ery mem­ber does. It sounds too much ask­ing more from peo­ple who are al­ready giv­ing. Mul­der ar­gues it isn’t so much about how much is be­ing given but how much some­one still has in his pocket af­ter­wards.

Since es­tab­lish­ing Thuthuka in 1992 and grow­ing it into the biggest con­sol­i­da­tion of busi­ness, uni­ver­si­ties and em­ploy­ers, Mul­der has learnt it’s more than just fund­ing stu­dents. Cre­at­ing an en­vi­ron­ment where there’s ac­com­mo­da­tion, food and study ma­te­rial makes all the dif­fer­ence be­tween pulling stu­dents through and hav­ing some fall by the way­side. Thuthuka also as­sists in­sti­tu­tions to be­come ac­cred­ited.

Thuthuka also seems to have com­pletely taken over Mul­der’s life and she ad­mits some peo­ple can’t un­der­stand her com­mit­ment to trans­for­ma­tion as a white woman. She de­scribes it as her most sig­nif­i­cant ac­com­plish­ment, apart from hav­ing her daugh­ter. As she heads off on hol­i­day, she takes her lap­top with her be­cause that’s when she gets her best ideas.

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