Alumnus: Dr Victor Ngobeni

Posted on May 11, 2020

Being involved in public policy and the shaping of the everyday lives of poor people, is the most rewarding aspect of his current position as Director: Water and Sanitation and COGTA (Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs), says Dr Victor Ngobeni. Along with 15 other PhD students, he was awarded his doctorate in Tax Policy at the virtual graduation ceremony in April 2020.  Read more about his career, the lessons he learnt at UP and his future plans...
Q: What was the topic of your PhD thesis and why did you specifically select it?
A: It was titled: Assessing Technical Efficiency of Provincial Health and Education Sectors in South Africa. It was selected owing to the wastage of funds allocated to these sectors amid poor outcomes and overall fiscal constraints. It was basically to quantify the extent of the wastage in monetary terms to inform fiscal policy reforms.
Q: In your opinion, to what extent does a PhD ensure/boost business/career success?
A: A PhD enhances one’s ability to ask deeper questions and provide responses based on well-researched data. So, it helps personal and business development greatly by making informed decisions.
Q: Are you happy with the way your career has evolved?
A: I am very happy, but it is early days as my PhD was achieved recently. However, it has enhanced my personal capacity.
Q: What are the most compelling/rewarding aspects of your current job?
A: Being involved in public policy and in shaping the everyday lives of poor people.
Q: To what extent did your studies at UP benefit you in your career and contribute to your success?
A: Personal development and enhanced knowledge in economics, which are central to a part of my routine job.
Q: What are some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learnt from your studies/lecturers at the University of Pretoria?
A: Ask tough questions and provide informed answers. The lecturers demanded high-quality work and on time. So, quality, time and pressure management have been the high learning points.
Q: What is your “golden guideline” in life, in other words what keeps you on track?
A: Discipline.
Q: Going forward, what are your career and personal goals?
A: I am planning to write more academic articles, but I am also tempted to enrol for a law degree with UP.  
Q: How is the SA economy, and business in general, likely to be reshaped post COVID-19?
A: The ‘new normal’ has been set by the pandemic. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the economy will decline sharply by about 6% in 2020, but it is expected to grow at levels of 4%. This is more than before the pandemic. Business will suffer the same trends but with the announced stimulus of R500 billion, I am positive the negative impact will be buffered.
- Author Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences

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