The University of Pretoria (UP) will soon be bidding a fond farewell to Chairperson of the UP Council Ntombifuthi “Futhi” Mtoba, who is stepping down after serving four consecutive terms as a member.
Mtoba is a chartered accountant who has received several distinguished awards (including the 2008 Tuks Alumni Laureate Award) for her impactful work in the field and for her outstanding leadership as a businesswoman. She became a UP Council member in 2005, before being elected as Chairperson three years later, in 2008. As Chairperson, she was an ex-officio member of the Council’s Human Resources Committee, Standing Committee and Investment Committee. Her term ends on 31 March 2021.
The 30-member Council is responsible for governance, policymaking and monitoring. This includes setting down guidelines relating to strategic and financial governance, and disciplinary matters; fostering a positive academic atmosphere; and formulating the University’s admission and language policies. It also focuses on three core activities – teaching, research and community engagement – and in doing so, furthers the pursuit of establishing UP as the premier university in South Africa.
“It has been a privilege to serve on the UP Council and to have been part of the University’s journey as it has flourished into a research-intensive university that has taken its place as one of the top higher education institutions in Africa,” says Mtoba, who was Chair when the University conceived, constructed and launched the Future Africa institute and campus, the Javett-UP Art Centre and UP’s Engineering 4.0 complex.
Along with the many high-ranking and influential positions she has held in both local and international organisations, Mtoba has continued to show an unwavering commitment to the academic advancement and skills development of society’s younger members. In fact, it is what initially prompted her to join the UP Council.
“Ms Mtoba’s commitment to academic excellence and to effecting significant change in the community at large through the many positions she has held exemplifies all the qualities that we value at UP,” says Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Tawana Kupe. “The input and insight that she has brought to the UP Council through the years cannot be overstated. I would like to thank Ms Mtoba for her years of dedicated service, and wish her every success in her continued efforts to play her part in the betterment of society.”
Influence beyond South Africa’s borders
Mtoba’s professional career started in Mthatha at WL Nkuhlu & Co in association with Hoek & Wiehelm. In 1988, she joined what was then known as Deloitte & Touche and rose up the ranks to become the firm’s first black female partner and, subsequently, Chairperson at Deloitte Southern Africa.
Her contribution to the field of chartered accounting was perhaps best expressed in her role as President of the Association for the Advancement of Black Accountants of Southern Africa, a body dedicated to nurturing emerging black accountants. During her term, she initiated the launch of the Nkuhlu Subvention Fund, which subsidised the salaries of black chartered accountants who committed to lecturing at historically disadvantaged universities, thereby encouraging them to pursue a profession in academia.
In 2009, not only was Mtoba appointed as a Trustee on the Board of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, she was also chosen as Chairperson of the National Anti-Corruption Forum. Additionally, she held the positions of Chairperson and Trustee of WDB Trust, a development programme that empowers women by giving them access to financial services, business skills, and information and communication technology training.
As a founding member of TEACH South Africa, which recruits young graduates to teach maths, science, technology and English, at schools in historically disadvantaged communities for at least two years, she focused her efforts on contributing to building a prosperous, equitable and competitive South Africa through education.
But Mtoba’s influence extends beyond South Africa’s borders. She served on Kofi Annan’s inaugural board of the United Nation’s Global Compact – a voluntary initiative that promotes responsible corporate citizenship, ensuring that business plays its part in achieving the UN’s vision of a more sustainable and inclusive global economy – and was a member of the International Monetary Fund Advisory Group of Sub-Saharan Africa, the World Economic Forum Global Advisory Council, the African Union Foundation and the B20 Financing Growth and Infrastructure Task Force, among others.
The University thanks Ms Mtoba for her years of service, during which she brought her values of educational excellence and community engagement to the UP Council and the greater UP community.
Kuseni Dlamini, Chair of Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd, will take up the position of UP Council Chairperson, while Ben Kruger, former Standard Bank CEO, has been appointed Deputy Chairperson.