The newly appointed Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Ms Loraine Rossouw is a demonstration by the department that it is fully committed to women empowerment. Such appointments are not only made on the basis of gender, but also on the wealth of expertise and experience, and Ms Rossouw embodies such qualities. Justice Voice caught up with the new CFO to introduce her to the justice family and to understand her role in the department towards the realisation of “Access to Justice for All.”
BN: Briefly tell us about yourself, your background and your career
LR: I am a Chartered Accountant and Certified Internal Auditor holding a Master’s Degree in Taxation. I have been involved at an executive level in education for most of my career after completing my internship/articles at one of the big four auditing firms. I have held positions such as Head of Department: Accounting; Director at the School for Entrepreneurship and Business Development of the Central University of Technology and the Chief Financial Officer of the Free State Department of Education.
Before joining the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development I was the Chief Financial and Operating Officer of Christel House South Africa, a Non-Profit Organisation with the objective of breaking the cycle of poverty through education.
BN: When did you join the department?
LR: 1 October 2013
BN: Briefly share with us the highlight of your career?
LR: My philosophy is that you should focus on the journey of life and not the end destination. I have experienced events during my career that I am grateful for. Mostly, these highlights are associated with learning and growing experiences. Therefore I believe that I will also still experience various highlights at this organisation. Most recently, the highlight for me was the privilege of working for a world renowned business leader, Christel De Haan (she was the founder of a charity organisation RCI,) and making a difference in the lives of our poorest communities in SA.
BN: What personal attributes have contributed to your career growth?
LR: I am passionate about my work and my contribution towards the achievement of organisational goals. This is an attribute that normally translates into an energetic environment where I welcome contributions from all my colleagues and support everybody to achieve their goals. I am also passionate about giving credit where it’s due and strives to ensure that everybody that I work with develops to their full potential and contribute fully to the organisation. Leaders should leave a legacy of passion, energy and competence wherever they go. The focus should always be on service delivery.
BN: Are there any specific areas you have already identified within the department that you would like to improve on?
LR: In the current economic climate and the limitations on our budget, I believe I need to play a role in assisting the department to align the budget with the strategy and to review our business model. With the increase in demand for services and the limitation in funding, we will not be able to conduct business in the same manner as we did in the past. We will have to find new and innovative ways to do more with less.
BN: What are your thoughts on empowering women into senior positions?
LR: I believe that all leaders have the same attributes and that it does not depend on whether you are a male or female. I support initiatives that ensure equal opportunities for all. Women in general, however, do not give themselves enough credit for their abilities and therefore mostly limit themselves by thinking and acting small. Great strides have been made in SA to empower women and we should use these opportunities wisely, taking responsibility for ourselves and our own development and remembering that opportunity never knocks at an opportune time.
We should be prepared and ready when an opportunity presents itself. We should also remember what it took for us to be in these positions and take the time to share our knowledge and experience with others. This is probably also relevant for men in senior positions. In fact, my biggest mentor was Dr Charles Nwaila, the current Director-General responsible for Traditional Affairs in the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
BN: How do you find a balance between your work and family responsibilities?
LR: I find it difficult as I am sure all executive managers do. It takes effort to ensure that it does not seem as if you take the people you love for granted. My husband and I have made a commitment that weekends are family time. Sundays specifically are times we spend with the children and nobody is allowed to make other plans. It does not always work out but making the effort does mostly bear fruit.
BN: How do you spend your leisure time?
LR: We love hiking and the outdoors lifestyle. I look forward to discovering all the trails in Gauteng.
BN: Any special message to the entire Justice family?
LR: An efficient and effective justice system is one of the core foundations of our democracy. I look forward to working with all stakeholders to maintain this legacy for the future generations of South Africa.
By Benson Ntlatleng