In­vest­ing in the Youth is In­vest­ing in the Fu­ture

Mmileng - - Contents -

The man tasked by the Lim­popo Depart­ment of Pro­vin­cial Trea­sury to play ad­vi­sory role on boards and au­dit com­mit­tees of five pro­vin­cial State-Owned Com­pa­nies (SOCs) is highly rated as one of the coun­try’s fu­ture lead­ers.

The 33-year-old Xit­shem­b­hiso Rus­sel Mu­la­mula is the Pro­vin­cial Trea­sury rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the Roads Agency Lim­popo (RAL) Board of Di­rec­tors, where he serves on the So­cial and Ethics, and Con­tracts and Plan­ning Com­mit­tees. He also serves on the au­dit com­mit­tees for the rest of the pro­vin­cial pub­lic en­ti­ties, namely Lim­popo Tourism Agency, Lim­popo Gam­bling Board, Lim­popo Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Agency and Gate­way Air­port Au­thor­ity Lim­ited. In his day job as the Deputy Direc­tor at the Lim­popo Depart­ment of Pro­vin­cial Trea­sury, he is re­spon­si­ble for gover­nance and over­sight of pub­lic en­ti­ties (SOCs). He mon­i­tors waste­ful and ir­reg­u­lar ex­pen­di­ture, analysing del­e­ga­tion of au­thor­ity and mon­i­tor­ing legislative com­pli­ance by pub­lic en­ti­ties to rel­e­vant pre­scripts, such as the Com­pa­nies Act and King IV Re­port.

Ex­pound­ing on his role as a board mem­ber on SOCs, Mr Mu­la­mula says he mon­i­tors com­pli­ance and gover­nance, which en­tails the ap­pli­ca­tion of the Pub­lic Fi­nance Man­age­ment Act (PFMA), Trea­sury reg­u­la­tions, co­or­di­nate and en­force con­sis­tent im­ple­men­ta­tion of the

ac­tion plan re­lat­ing to un­re­solved find­ings raised by the Au­di­tor-Gen­eral in the an­nual au­dits.

And on the back­drop of youth month, Mmileng cel­e­brates one of the youngest mem­bers of the high­est struc­ture at Roads Agency Lim­popo. To­gether with women and peo­ple liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties, the youth are the most vul­ner­a­ble and dis­ad­van­taged group in so­ci­ety.

In all its pro­grammes, RAL pri­or­i­ties the em­pow­er­ment of the youth as it seeks to sup­port job cre­ation, ca­reer de­vel­op­ment and al­le­vi­a­tion of poverty amongst this vul­ner­a­ble group.

How­ever, the an­nual in­tern­ship in­take is not lim­ited to En­gi­neer­ing, as it also pro­vides grad­u­ates and un­der­grad­u­ates with prac­ti­cal work ex­pe­ri­ence across all its busi­ness units in the fields such as En­vi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment, Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Le­gal Ser­vices, Fi­nance, Hu­man Re­sources Man­age­ment etc.

RAL has in­vested con­sid­er­ably in the youth-owned Small Medium and Mi­cro En­ter­prises (SMMEs), on­the-job and Con­struc­tion Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing Au­thor­ity (CETA) ac­cred­ited train­ing and cre­at­ing job op­por­tu­ni­ties for the youth.

And just re­cently, the Agency has signed a Memorandum of Un­der­stand­ing (MoU) with the Trans­port Ed­u­ca­tion Train­ing Au­thor­ity (TETA). The ob­jec­tive of this MOU is to em­power the youth in the trans­port and con­struc­tion sec­tors, par­tic­u­larly in Small Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment and Sup­port. (Story on page 18).

Per­son­ally, Mr Mu­la­mula says the dew of youth has not dis­ad­van­taged him on the high­est struc­tures of or­gan­i­sa­tions, as ac­cord­ing to his ex­pe­ri­ence one is judged on the qual­ity of their con­tri­bu­tions rather than their age.

He says with the coun­try cur­rently fac­ing gover­nance chal­lenges, both in the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors, strate­gic re­po­si­tion­ing is es­sen­tial to in­ject ver­nal ex­u­ber­ance whilst also em­pow­er­ing young peo­ple.

Youth is al­ways as­so­ci­ated with in­ex­pe­ri­ence, but Mr Mu­la­mula says this is an un­for­tu­nate Catch-22.

“The fu­ture of South Africa is in the hands of young peo­ple, that is why young peo­ple must be given tasks and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in strate­gic po­si­tions, such as on boards, to ef­fec­tively re­spond to new chal­lenges and re­al­i­ties such as Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence (AI), cy­ber se­cu­rity, cod­ing and so­cial me­dia,” says Mr Mu­la­mula.

Mr Mu­la­mula is mar­ried and has a young daugh­ter. He was born and bred in Mala­mulele – a town­ship in the Collins Cha­bane Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity. He is pas­sion­ate about youth em­pow­er­ment.

He has been a stu­dent ac­tivist and was re­cently listed as one of the top 200 Young South Africans of 2018 un­der the age of 35 ‘who have shown them­selves to be lead­ers’ in the Pol­i­tics and Gov­ern­ment cat­e­gory, by an au­thor­i­ta­tive na­tional weekly news­pa­per.

He is the in­au­gu­ral Man­dela Wash­ing­ton Fel­low in the Pub­lic Man­age­ment stream, the flag­ship pro­gramme of the Young African Lead­ers Ini­tia­tive (YALI) – an ini­tia­tive that “is look­ing for the next gen­er­a­tion of lead­ers in Africa”. The YALI was ini­ti­ated un­der for­mer US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama. Its first in­take was in 2014, and has civic lead­er­ship, and busi­ness and en­trepreneur­ship as other two streams.

Of course, at Mmileng we are not all about ask­ing an­o­dyne


ques­tions. We put it to Mr Mu­la­mula that the na­tion is ap­a­thetic and cyn­i­cal amidst per­ceived im­punity against cor­rup­tion in the past decade, par­tic­u­larly within state-owned com­pa­nies. When asked what his ap­proach and phi­los­o­phy is in work­ing with pub­lic en­ti­ties, he con­fi­dently said his ap­proach to lead­er­ship is built on the phi­los­o­phy of eth­i­cal and ser­vant lead­er­ship.

This phi­los­o­phy, he says, is grounded on prin­ci­ples of trans­parency, hon­esty, fair­ness, trust and loy­alty to self and the world.

“Ethics re­flect so­ci­etal val­ues and the Con­sti­tu­tion of South Africa es­pouses ad­her­ence to trans­parency, ac­count­abil­ity and fair­ness,” says Mr Mu­la­mula, who is also a mem­ber of In­sti­tute of Di­rec­tors of South Africa, and a sup­porter (mem­ber) of The Ethics In­sti­tute.

“I be­lieve that cor­rup­tion is not only pro­hib­ited by the law, but it is morally wrong as well.”

The stu­dious yet ex­tro­verted Mu­la­mula has sev­eral qual­i­fi­ca­tions in Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion, Gover­nance and Ad­min­is­tra­tion, and Pub­lic Man­age­ment and Lead­er­ship. He is com­plet­ing a Mas­ter of Busi­ness Lead­er­ship pro­gramme with Univer­sity of South Africa’s Grad­u­ate School of Busi­ness Lead­er­ship.

But he says there is noth­ing as grat­i­fy­ing as what he con­sid­ers a ca­reer high­light in the pub­lic sec­tor, which in­ci­den­tally bagged him sec­ond po­si­tion in the 2015 Best Per­former in the In­no­va­tion cat­e­gory by the Lim­popo Depart­ment of Pro­vin­cial Trea­sury when he ini­ti­ated and or­gan­ised the first Lim­popo Pro­vin­cial Cor­po­rate Gover­nance Sum­mit in 2014.

“The ob­jec­tive of the three-day sum­mit was to dis­cuss gover­nance and ethics in the prov­ince,” he says.

The event was or­gan­ised dur­ing the low­est point of gover­nance in the prov­ince when var­i­ous de­part­ments were placed un­der ad­min­is­tra­tion by the na­tional gov­ern­ment.

He says due to the suc­cess of the in­au­gu­ral sum­mit, he was asked to or­gan­ise the sec­ond sum­mit the fol­low­ing year, which was at­tended by 350 top gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials across na­tional, pro­vin­cial and lo­cal gov­ern­ment lev­els.

At the RAL Board level, Mr Mu­la­mula says his pas­sion is to en­sure that the youth have a voice, and that organisational poli­cies cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment for lo­cal SMMEs to flour­ish, par­tic­u­larly those owned by the youth, women and peo­ple liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties.

The Board Mem­ber of Roads Agency Lim­popo, and Mem­ber of its So­cial and Ethics, and Con­tracts and Plan­ning Com­mit­tees, Xit­shem­b­hiso Rus­sel Mu­la­mula.

Mu­la­mula says it is the pri­or­ity of the cur­rent Board of Roads Agency Lim­popo to em­power the youth of Lim­popo Prov­ince through the Agency’s projects and pro­grammes.

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