From dreaming about being a gangster to Revenue Assurance
I was born to a teenage mother at the age of 17, as a result both my mother and I were raised by my grandmother. I grew up in gang-infested community in Soweto, the first time I saw someone get killed I was only 7 years old in grade 1. I never received counselling from that experience because my grandmother could not really understand the need. As a boy you were just expected to toughen up and move on. By the age of 10 my dream was to become a gangster because that was the only life I had known. Growing up most people in my family never expected me to make anything good of my life. After I completed my matric I took myself to the University of Pretoria (UP -it was my first time in Pretoria) my mother didn’t even know I had applied at a University. I dropped out in 2nd year due to financial constraints because NSFAS did not have enough funds to pay and my family were in no position to help. I had debt of over R40 000 and could not go back to school for 2 years, that period was one of the lowest points in my life.
Where is Sizwe today?
I hold a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Mathematical Statistics where I majored in Actuarial Studies from UP. I hold a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) from Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) which is based in the United States of America.
I’m currently employed as a Senior Consultant in Measurement & Reporting within the Revenue Assurance Department by the MTN Group. Telecoms operate in a “Risk Seeking” environment, for example MTN is in Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen where the is war. Also, the telecoms industry is currently saturated, and margins are under pressure. Our mandate is to mitigate the risk related to Revenue Leakage, Cost leakage and Opportunity Loss. We have to ensure all billable events are complete and billed and have to independently assure that Finance does not overstate or understate revenues. I deal with setting targets for the MTN Operating companies (OPCOS) where I measure performance against these targets and measure the effectiveness of our mitigating factors against the identified risks.
Sizwe in the Nka’Thuto EduPropeller Young Professionals Network
It was a great experience to have participated as a judge in one of the expos organised by Nka’Thuto in 2017. I mentored two brilliant young men (Emmanuel Dube and Ntokozo Maphanga) from Leondale High School whose project was called “Save H2O” after they qualified for the Final expo. The title of the project and wording clearly demonstrated these young men’s thoughts about the effects of the problem thoroughly.
As we all are aware South Africa has always been a water scarce country and this problem was compounded by the recent droughts. Municipalities are owed billions in water bills, one of the major issues municipalities face is Water Leakage.
Applying the STEM principles they looked at detection measures like creating a low cost device that would detect water leakages quickly. The collected data would then be sent via the internet to the municipalities central command for a speedy resolution in order to minimize the leakage. Therefore this would save municipalities millions of Rands and over time the collected data would assist with developing preventative measures.
It is comforting to know that young men and women already have STEM principles in their minds when tackling some of the problems our communities face.
Written by: Sizwe Zwane