In conversation with the CFO

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“Now that all top management vacancies have been filled, this gives impetus to our executives to move the institution forward, academically and financially.”  These are the reassuring words of our Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Mr Nielesh Ravgee.

This Week @Fort Hare was very fortunate to be able to squeeze in a slot in the CFO’s busy diary to hear his perspective on what the future holds for this 103-year-old institution. 

The CFO has faith in the capabilities of his newly appointed colleagues, Prof Renuka Vithal (DVC-Academic Affairs); Prof Nokwethemba Ndlazi (DVC-Institutional Support) and the Registrar, Mr Njabulo Zuma. He believes their knowledge and drive are sufficient to take the institution forward.

“This is already evident in some of the decisions we have taken, and our vision about how we plan to improve governance to make sure things are done properly to improve the image of the university.”

 Mr Ravgee said the executive is now motivated to look at the longer term implementation of projects. 

Turning to the Finance Department which he leads, Ravgee said the aim is “to improve governance; generate funding; improve and change policies as well as paint a positive image of the university”. 

 He mapped out four areas of focus:

Firstly:  Getting around or over the period of administration and having a turnaround plan crafted by MANCO for the smooth operation of the institution.

Secondly: Obtaining an unqualified audit.  We have already developed an action plan to achieve that outcome.

Thirdly:  Developing a list of policies and benchmarking with other universities to serve as a measurement and improvement tool to improve budget planning, revenue management, debt collection and the investment policy.

Lastly:  Focus on staff performance.

The CFO concluded our chat by saying: “If we continue on this current trajectory, I believe our institution will be viewed differently by the public, parents and potential students. Our achievements will speak for the university and our stakeholders.  The Department of Higher Education and Training is very interested in ensuring we achieve our goals. Our aim is to become a top university in the province and to be competitive with other universities in the country. We are determined to move away from the Historically Disadvantaged Institutional status”, he pointed out.

This Week @Fort Hare is confident that the CFO’s dreams will be realized soon.

Mr Nielesh Ravgee, a Chartered Accountant, was appointed in August 2016. In his short tenure he has managed to steer the university away from financial instabilities of the past such as negative cash flow as well as fraud and corruption claims.