Meet Dumisani Dlamini (NAC), Young CFO of the Year 2016

“To god be the glory. I don’t even have a speech, this is so unexpected,” said Dumisani Dlamini, CFO of the National Arts Council (NAC) of South Africa, and winner of two awards at the recent CFO Awards 2016, Young CFO of the Year (for finance leaders aged 40 or below) and Public Sector CFO of the Year. “This is to say to every black child, girl or boy, you can make it! This goes to all CFOS in government who are under political pressure or who are in a difficult environment – this is for you!"

Watch Dumisani's acceptance speech on winning the Young CFO of the Year Award.

When interviewed by judges for the awards, many of Dumisani's answers started with, "When I joined", as the NAC's CFO listed a number of drastic improvements he had lead. He took the entity from a qualified audit with 56 findings to a clean audit, assisted in correcting faulty administrative processes, rewrote and simplified documents, and improved the skills and confidence of his finance team. Dumisani is proudest of his contribution to the operations, which ultimately help South African artists: he has assisted in streamlining the application and grants process, devised a manual to help artists deal with regulations, and is working with the Technical University of Tshwane on developing a business programme for artists.

KPMG's public sector lead, Edson Magondo, when presenting the award for Public Sector CFO of the Year to Dumisani, whom he called the "most courageous", spoke some very powerful words on the role of the CFO in the public sector:

"I stand here to appreciate and underscore the important role that public sector CFOs play in all of our lives. Public sector CFOs are giants with no accolades to their credit. They stand between social stability and chaos. They are unseen and unheard and all they do is grind away so that there are viable, budgetable solutions to the many challenges facing our democracy. KPMG chose to partner with CFO South Africa, and in particular I chose to support the public sector CFO programme, because I've spent a significant part of my life working alongside this corps of CFOs and DGs. We did this in the knowledge that through your interventions and sharing of insights and experience you will together move towards best practice in areas of common challenge. Public sector CFOs: I stand here to say to you, stand tall. Through these awards we just want to say you are important to all of us. Stand tall because DGs, CEOs, city managers, they all stand on your shoulders. Without you, their work will become near-impossible. Today we say: stand tall and, as professor Nkuhlu said, have courage, because you are a key pillar of our democracy. You work under the full glare of public scrutiny to make our lives better. Thank you, public sector CFOs."

Watch Dumisani's acceptance speech on winning the Public Sector CFO of the Year Award.

  • Next year's CFO Awards will take place on 11 May 2017, once again at Summer Place in Johannesburg. If you would like to buy a table, join the panel of judges or become a partner, visit CFOawards.co.za. Attendance is free for members.
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