Press Release from the NECT in respect to Sizwe Nxasana’s retirement as CEO of First Rand Ltd

The announcement of Sizwe Nxasana’s retirement from the CEO position of First Rand bodes well for the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT) of which he is chairman.

In an interview given earlier this year Sizwe said, “I have three things I need to concentrate my time on. As CEO of First Rand I need to ensure that the group performs to its potential. That goes without saying. The second is that I want to spend more time with my family, and the third is that I want to help fix the South African education system. It’s the one thing we can do that will have the biggest effect on all of South Africa’s challenges. It’s central to our ability to deliver on the vision of the NDP”.

The first of these tasks will now pass onto the next generation of leadership at FirstRand. And Sizwe has already indicated that he wants to concentrate more on the family businesses and the work of his foundation. That leaves his work in education.

Sizwe is intimately involved in many important educational renewal and transformation projects though his role as a trustee in various public benefit organisations and trusts.   The most far reaching and important is his chairmanship of the NECT. The NECT which is aligned to the National Development Programme (NDP) is a collaboration between the government, labour unions, civil society and business. It has many work-streams, some of which are project based and will bring systemic improvement to the education system which will mean improved service to some 12 million learners and others focused on 4362 schools in eight districts. Examples of these are the optimal use of digital technology to aid education, the professionalisation of teachers, and a number innovation projects focused on learning the workings of the education system. Sizwe, his counterparts in the academics and government, Professor Ihron Rensburg and Deputy Minister Enver Surty have spearheaded a national dialogue on education whose intention is to promote constructive, action-oriented conversations among business, academics, labour, government, civil society organisation. The dialogue taps into the insights of senior and actively involved stakeholders about education improvement. In the words Prof Rensburg, the dialogue is meant to make sure that the NDP remains a live plan that involves every sector of the South African society to improve our country. The district improvement work is already engaged directly with 18% of South African schools and 2million learners in its first phase.

The NECT has a lofty ideal:

 To ensure that 90% of learners pass Maths, Science and Language at the 50% level by 2030.

Angie Motshekga – Minister of Basic Education – who is also a trustee of the NECT commented, “Sizwe’s role in helping to conceive the NECT and his leadership of the Trust are crucial. The project is less than two years old and already we are operational in 18% of the educational system, reaching over two million learners. Sizwe’s role in encouraging his fellow business leaders to contribute time and money to this project has created a unique partnership and funding model and has given government the confidence to match private sector donations Rand for Rand. We have built real and growing trust between the stakeholders, and his upcoming opportunity to work even harder for the ideals of this project is welcomed”.

Godwin Khosa, CEO of the NECT agrees, “Sizwe will in many ways be free to spend more time helping us to raise the level of contributions and support from the private sector and the state owned companies. His strategic role and his influence is important to our sustainability”. One of Sizwe’s roles on the NECT was to represent the interests of Business Leadership SA (BLSA), as the Education Champion in BLSA. The BLSA link will remain strong as another of the trustees, Mark Lamberti, a senior businessman and CEO of Imperial Holdings, remains an active member of the BLSA and Mr Bobby Godsell, one of the four patrons of the NECT, is the chairman of BLSA. 

© 2019 National Education Collaboration Trust