Honouring Leadership Excellence

The Black Management Forum bestowed the 2018 BMF Black Excellence Leadership Awards on three South Africans whom it recognised “for their outstanding business acumen and outstanding leadership and professionalism in their respective industries”.

The recipients of the 2018 awards were Justice Dikgang Moseneke, retired Deputy Chief Justice; Advocate Dali Mpofu; and Tsakani Ratsela, Deputy Auditor-General.

Justice Dikgang Moseneke

Dikgang Moseneke joined the Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC) at the age of 14, in 1961, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison for opposing apartheid at the age of 15.

During his time on Robben Island, Moseneke studied towards his matric and obtained a BA in English and political science, as well as a B Juris degree. He later completed an LLB, with all three degrees being conferred by the University of South Africa.

It was the start of an education and a career that would eventually see him being appointed as a judge in the Constitutional Court in 2002 and as Deputy Chief Justice in June 2005 until his retirement in May 2016.

Moseneke’s remarkable career, his “towering legal mind” and his “commitment to fairness and justice” made him a worthy recipient of the BMF’s highest honour, the BMF Presidential Award.

The BMF said it honoured Justice Moseneke “for his accomplished and impeccable career. His professional conduct, thorough execution of his responsibilities and his dedication to serving South Africa’s democracy in a variety of ways have been a source of inspiration to the BMF, many black professionals and the rest of society”.

Born in Pretoria, Moseneke started his professional career as an attorney’s clerk at Klagbruns Inc in Pretoria in 1976. He joined the Pretoria Bar in 1983. In 1993, Justice Moseneke served on the technical committee that drafted the Interim Constitution and in 1994 he was appointed Deputy Chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission, which conducted the first democratic elections in South Africa.

Moseneke was appointed a judge of the High Court in Pretoria in November 2001, before being appointed to the Constitutional Court the following year.

He is a founding member of the Black Lawyers’ Association and of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers of South Africa. He also served in various corporate roles before joining the Constitutional Court.

In 1991, Moseneke was part of the defence team for Winnie Mandela when she was tried for the kidnapping of four young boys, of which she was eventually acquitted. After she passed away earlier this year, Moseneke described her as an “absolute heroine” who was “near to fearless”. He said she had suffered “pain that is not immediately describable”.

He recently donated his earnings from chairing the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings to well-performing students at three South African universities. At least 144 mental health patients lost their lives in what has become known as the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

Moseneke published his autobiography, My Own Liberator, in 2016.

Advocate Dali Mpofu

Dali Mpofu, 55, balances his high-profile position as national chairperson of the Economic Freedom Fighters with his equally high-profile position as a sought-after advocate of the High Court. Among his recent clients have been Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille, South African cricketer Kagiso Rabada and controversial broadcast personality Gareth Cliff.

Born Daluxolo Christopher Mpofu in East London in September 1962, he went to Mzomhle High School in Mdantsane township before completing a B Proc and LLB from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1988 and 1992, respectively.

Mpofu was a prominent member of the ruling ANC since the 1980s until he resigned to join the EFF in 2013. According to the BMF, he received the 2018 BMF Black Excellence Leadership Award because “his excellence matches the BMF’s expectations of black leaders”.

“He was recognised for being a consistent professional and for the embodiment of excellence in the legal fraternity,” said the BMF.

Mpofu worked very closely with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in the 1980s and 1990s, serving as her deputy at the ANC’s Social Development Department before the 1994 general elections.

One of Mpofu’s most prominent appearances was as representative at the Farlam Inquiry for the miners injured in the August 2012 Marikana massacre.

Among his many private sector appointments, Mpofu served as CEO of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) from 2005 to 2009. He also served as non-executive director at Thebe Securities, ABB Powertech, Battery Technologies (Pty) Ltd, Rentech, Altron, Altech and as chairman of Utaiiri Investments.

He became chairman of the National Anti-Corruption Forum in 2001 and President of the Electronic Industries Federation from 2002 until 2006. He was also, at one time, chairman of the board of Boxing South Africa.

Mpofu represented Julius Malema in the 2011 – 2012 ANC disciplinary hearing that resulted in the then ANC Youth League President’s expulsion from the ANC. This move eventually led to the formation of the EFF.

Mpofu recently represented Patricia de Lille in her fight against the Democratic Alliance, which had expelled her. In 2016, he represented Gareth Cliff when the broadcast judge was fired from the Idols reality music show for what appeared to be a controversial tweet about free speech. Earlier this year, he represented Kagiso Rabada and convinced the International Cricket Council to overturn a match ban on the young South African fast bowler.

Mpofu has also been appointed as Counsel for suspended controversial South African Revenue Services Commissioner Tom Moyane in his battle to keep his job.

Tsakani Ratsela

When Tsakani Ratsela was appointed as Deputy Auditor-General in April 2014 – the first woman to be appointed to this position in the organisation’s more than 100-year history – not much was known about the then 38-year-old chartered accountant.

But in the past four years, she has quietly made her mark on one of South Africa’s most important public accountability institutions, resulting in her being honoured as one of the 2018 BMF Black Excellence Leadership Award winners.

The AGSA’s office was founded in 1911, but  had never had a woman in such a senior position.

Until she was appointed to her position by then newly-appointed Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu, Ratsela had been the national leader: Audit Services, a strategic position that directs all audit work at the AGSA.

Ratsela was born in Soshanguve, Pretoria, she completed school at St Andrew’s School for Girls in Senderwood, Johannesburg and studied at the University of Cape Town where she graduated with a BCom (Accounting) in 1996 and a post-graduate diploma in Accountancy (1997). She completed articles at PriceWaterhouseCoopers and, in a distinguished career, worked at, among others, the Eastern Cape Development Corporation and Izingwe Holdings.

Ratsela remains committed to the transformation of the auditing and accounting professions. She previously served as president of the Association for the Advancement of Black Accountants in Southern Africa.

At the time of her appointment, the AG Makwetu said that Ratsela had “ably led our office’s efforts in building our national audit capabilities” which had “provided her with a solid foundation to assume the overall executive leadership of our organisation”.

Makwetu said her role entailed “working with the Auditor-General and a team of executives to ensure that audits are done and that all matters of accountability are elevated for leadership action.”

In an interview at the time of her appointment, Ratsela spoke about the influence of her parents who were retailers. She had worked the till in her parents’ shop when she was nine years old. This is where she learnt the value of money for the first time and her initial leadership skills.

Ratsela believes that her colleagues in the AGSA office have a passion for making sure that government runs better. “This keeps them going in the face of the long struggle to improve government accounting behaviour.”

Excellence runs in Ratsela’s family. Her younger sister Basani Maluleke, was appointed as the CEO of African Bank earlier this year, becoming the first black woman to lead a South African bank.

The BMF said: “Ms Ratsela received the award for being a visionary leader, a transformation agent and personifying excellence. Her commitment to ethics and good governance resonates with the BMF’s position on corporate governance and ethics. She is a shining example of a BMF type of leader”.

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