Statement by Minister Barbara Creecy and Deputy Minister Makhotso Sotyu on the departure of the director-general

19 May 2020

The President approved the request of the Director-General (DG), Ms Nosipho Ngcaba, to advance her career outside of the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, two months ago.

Her last day in the department will be 31 May 2020.

With dedicated and selfless service in the public sector since 1997, Ms Ngcaba has been a constant feature in DEFF for 19 years. Through internal promotions, she advanced her career from being a director, chief director, chief operating officer to director-general.

Ms Ngcaba was appointed as the Director-General in 2008. In this position, she drove the department’s mission to provide leadership in environmental management, conservation and protection towards sustainability for the benefit of South Africans and the global community

During her tenure, the department has evolved as a meaningful contributor to the sustainable development agenda, and achieved several progressive milestones towards implementation of the National Development Plan.

She led through a conscientious value system founded on strengths of individuals and integrity, whilst advancing performance with continuous learning adopted by majority of staff, and labour representatives, as the guiding practice in the department over the years.

Her commitment to the public service was validated by her receipt of the gold award as the top performing head of department, at the inaugural Batho Pele Excellence Awards in 2013. She subsequently won this award again in 2015.

Widely valued by her peers in government, respected by all in the private sector, NGOs, CBOs, labour movement and the public, and held in high esteem in successive Portfolio Committees in Parliament and the National Council of Provinces, the DG has brought credibility to the work of the Department.

Ms Ngcaba has led the department successfully through three major transitions in administrations, with macro-reorganisation of government (from Environmental Affairs and Tourism, to Water and Environment, to Environmental Affairs, and recently to Environment, Forestry and Fisheries). She was given awards for good governance with a record of nine successive years of unqualified audits by the Auditor General of South Africa (AGSA).

Her low point in her experience was caused by a qualified audit, which arose from changes in accounting to modified cash standards (MCS).  The department has finally embraced MCS, with a turnaround strategy that has been implemented over a three-year period.

Ms Ngcaba has contributed positively in setting up business continuity systems, managing the interface between political offices and administration, investing in development of staff, coaching the next layer of public sector leaders, giving recognition where it is due, correcting where it is necessary, whilst ensuring that the Department is well-functioning.

Under her stewardship, the department went through several positive changes that continue to ensure that we protect and advance sustainability, as we build and grow South Africa. She has led with dedication a sector alignment and integration in the work of government, through clusters. 

This has included programmes of action implementation through outcomes, various initiatives (i.e. the Oceans, Biodiversity and Waste Phakisas), and chairpersonship of clusters and other inter-governmental structures involving provinces and local government.

We want to sincerely express our gratitude to the DG for her dedication, commitment and passion for the environment sector throughout the years.

Furthermore, we want to thank her for a sterling leadership of the department during the transition from the fifth to the sixth administration and also for all she has taught us regarding the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries.

We wish her well in the next chapter of her life and career.

We are confident that wherever she serves, she will continue to be a good friend to the environmental sector in general and our department in particular.


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