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National School of Government announces inaugural senior fellows

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National School of Government announces inaugural senior fellows

Minister for the Public Service and Administration Senzo Mchunu

27th October 2020


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The Minister for the Public Service and Administration, Mr Senzo Mchunu, has endorsed the appointment of three eminent and former senior public servants as Inaugural Senior Fellows of the National School of Government (NSG).

The Fellowship Programme aims to leverage on the experience and insights of distinguished former public servants, implementation and leadership experts as well as from scholars in pursuit of an ethical, capable and developmental state characterised by high levels of professionalism. 


The Inaugural NSG Senior Fellows are: 

  • Dr Cassius Lubisi: An accomplished academic, advisor, educationist and public sector executive. Dr Lubisi served as Director-General and Secretary of the Cabinet in The Presidency for nearly a decade until his retirement earlier this year.

In addition to providing strategic leadership and direction in the Presidency during his tenure, Dr Lubisi provided sterling support to the President, Deputy President and various Ministers, inclusive of former Presidents and former Deputy Presidents. Dr Lubisi also served as Chairperson of the Forum of South African Directors-General (FOSAD), where he gave strategic support and leadership to all DG’s in the country, and served as a link between Cabinet and FOSAD on policy and implementation matters – thus helping to translate the political mandate into government programmes. Dr Lubisi previously served as Superintendent-General of the Department of Education in KwaZulu-Natal, as Deputy Director-General for General Education and Training and as Special Advisor to the late Prof Kader Asmal. Prior to joining government as a senior bureaucrat, the mathematician and educationist was an academic at the now University of KwaZulu-Natal. 

  • Ms Nosipho Ngcaba: Ms Ngcaba, the second longest serving female Director-General since 1994, led the Department of Environmental Affairs for 12 years during which time she also ably chaired the Directors-General Cluster on International Cooperation, Trade and Security (ICTS). The Department of Environmental Affairs was recognised for stable leadership and exemplary performance in the public service, based on automated business processes and sound corporate governance. Ms Ngcaba successfully set up public private partnerships as exemplified with the building of Environment House, the headquarters of the now Department of Environmental Affairs, Forestry and Fisheries, which was certified in 2013 as the best green building in South Africa, with a six-star rating.

Ms Ngcaba has extensive experience in the development of environmental legislation. She has played a formative role in the domestication and implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and represented South Africa on a number of multilateral environmental conventions and bilateral forums. She is also widely acknowledged  onaglobal level for her role in the implementation of multilateral environmental agreements, which include the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Convention to combat desertification and land degradation (UNCCD), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD). During her tenure as Director-General, South Africa signed the Paris Agreement to Combat Climate Change at COP-21, adopted the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and listed additional world heritage sites under UNESCO.

  • Dr Sam Gulube: A US-trained surgeon, Dr Gulube served as Secretary for Defence from 2011 until August 2020. As Secretary for Defence, he was the accounting officer of the Department of Defence and principal advisor to Minister of Defence and Military Veterans on defence policy matters. He previously served as Advisor to the Minister of State Security, CEO of the Universal Service Agency of South Africa and as Director of the National Telemedicine Research Centre at the Medical Research Council of South Africa. Dr Gulube was part of the nerve centre of the country’s national COVID-19 response in his capacity as co-chair (with Dr Cassius Lubisi) of the National Joint Command Centre which provided technical support to the National Command Council on the COVID-19.

The Fellowship is a voluntary, non-remunerated appointment. The Fellows have agreed to undertake this responsibility as a service to the country to contribute towards building a virtuous, capable and development orientated public administration. 

The Fellows will support the NSG through programmes, such as participating in thought leadership conversations, the mentorship of new Heads of Department and as advisors, in the pursuit of research and innovation necessary to design and deploy high impact training programmes targeting public sector employees. They will also participate in international Master Classes and participate in peer learning exchanges. Where they serve as mentors, priority will be given to women, youth and people living with disabilities as part of the NSG’s drive to accelerate leadership advancement among designated groups.  

The Minister has expressed appreciation to the Fellows for availing themselves to support the work of the ‘reimagined’ NSG. He acknowledged that there are people who have retired from the public sector with vast experience and knowledge which is critical for the project of shaping the new cadre of public servants. “In addition to distinguished former public servants and leaders, experts in academia and other sectors of society are keen to make a contribution to the revival of the public service by sharing their expertise. In order to facilitate a process for actively drawing on these individuals, it has become imperative for the NSG to establish this Fellowship Programme,” concluded Minister Mchunu. 

The Minister congratulated the Fellows and wished them and the NSG well on this new journey, taking the NSG forward towards meeting its mandate to professionalise the public service.

Issued by National School of Government


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