Hon. Minister Neal Rijkenberg Profile

Minister for Finance Honourable Neal Herman Rijkenberg (MP) is an accomplished businessman, having founded Montigny Investments Limited in 1997, and, as CEO, grew it into the largest private, integrated timber company in Southern Africa.

Minister Rijkenberg was born and raised at Madulini in the Shiselweni region. His passion for business was kindled at an early age, with the Minister establishing a bee keeping business while in high school. In 1997, he established Montigny.

In 2018, Honourable Rijkenberg was appointed by His Majesty King Mswati III into Parliament and later as Minister for Finance. Among his achievements in his first term as Minister of Finance was a reduction of the country’s fiscal deficit from 7.5% to 0.3% of GDP, bringing stock of debt to sustainable levels. During this time, Honourable Rijkenberg also pioneered the establishment of the SACU stabilisation fund to cushion the country against the volatility of SACU receipts. In November 2023, His Majesty reappointed Honourable Rijkenberg into both positions

The Honourable Minister, who studied and has a passion for agriculture, used to sit as director on the following boards; ESWADE, Montigny Investments, Minerals Board, and Silulu and currently sits in the Royal Trustees and Tibiyo TakaNgwane. Additionally, he has chaired a number of boards, including Bulembu Ministries, which he co-founded; Challenge Ministries and Usuthu Forest Primary School.


I have learnt the importance of soft skills - Nkosinathi

31 October 2023

Among his many duties, Nkosinathi Mavimbela contributes to the development of the annual national budget. In the third instalment of our civil servants’ blog, Nkosinathi talks about his journey and the lessons he has drawn as an economist in government.

Government Communications (GC): “When did you join the Civil Service?”

Nkosinathi Mavimbela (NM): “I first joined the civil service as an extra clerical officer (contract) end of 2015 and as a permanent employee in 2016.”

GC: “What is your current job now and what does it entail?”

NM: “I am currently a Senior Finance Officer/Economist in the Budget and Economic Affairs department under the Ministry of Finance. My work entails development of macro-fiscal policy briefs underpinning the annual national budget; providing budget formulation and execution technical support for government ministries to ensure fiscal prudence and service delivery; producing budget execution reports to inform government policy; and coordination of departmental initiatives aimed at improving national budget transparency. I also represent the Ministry in various working groups and during international and local stakeholder engagements.”

GC: “Before this role, what other positions did you occupy in the Service?”

NM: “Between October 2015 and February 2017, I occupied the Finance Officer position under the Financial Policy Unit (previously a unit under the Fiscal and Monetary Affairs department) at the Ministry of Finance. In this role, I was involved in the formulation and implementation of financial sector policies and regulations for the non-bank and banking sectors through liaison with the regulatory authorities and implementing agencies. I then moved to the Budget and Economic Affairs department whereby I held the Finance Officer post until 2020.”

GC: “So far, what would you say the biggest highlight/achievement of your Civil Service journey has been?”

NM: “When I started working at the Ministry, the Financial Policy Unit was in the process of formulating a first-of-its-kind Consumer Credit Act of 2016 and reviewing numerous other policies and acts. This meant a lot of parliamentary consultations, stakeholder engagements, and reporting. The department was short-staffed and as a result, I found myself involved in the processes more than I had initially expected. The exposure I got through this experience allowed me to learn about both the financial sector and public sector quicker than I would have otherwise. It also helped me to develop the interpersonal, communication, and problem-solving skills necessary for public sector work.”

GC: “What is the biggest project that you have been involved in working for Government?”

NM: “I am part of the working group that developed the country’s first Debt Sustainability Analysis report, and continues to produce these annual reports. The Public Debt Unit produces this analysis to ensure sustainable debt levels through informing the country’s Medium Term Debt Strategy by considering the sustainability of the country’s debt profile and risk factors.”

GC: “What do you love the most about working in Government?”

NM: “Knowing that the work we are doing as Civil Servants has an impact on the overall economy and the ordinary liSwati is something that I appreciate most. I also appreciate the local and international networks and exposure that comes with working in Government. I have learnt a lot through working with various stakeholders from different sectors of the economy, which has given me an understanding of all the multi-sector interlinkages that I would not have understood otherwise.”

GC: “What would you say are some of the challenges that come with your job?”

NM: “Limited innovation and digitalisation is currently limiting Government’s ability to improve efficiency and administration transparency. There is room for government to increase the involvement and role of young people in policy decision making, which would lead to a more agile and innovative public sector. There have been positive strides made in recent years; however, there is still significant room for improvement.”

GC: “What lessons have you learnt working for Government?”

NM: “Public sector work, regardless of your job title, is primarily stakeholder engagements and I have learnt the importance of soft skills during these interactions. The interlinkages between various sectors are central to government’s efficiency in service delivery. As such, it is important to consider all implications of a policy during policy decision-making.”

GC: “What advice would you have for someone who wants to work for Government?”

NM: “There is a lot to learn from working Government and there are plenty of opportunities for personal and career development. It is on you as an individual to take up these opportunities and make the best of them. It is also imperative to remember that at the end of the day you are there to serve emaSwati.”

GC: “What are your aspirations for the future in Government?”

NM: “Government’s resource envelope is limited and there is an opportunity for increased coordination across government and the private sector. I aspire to see a Government that focuses on a multi-sectoral approach to policy decision making and hope to play a significant role in ensuring the implementation of these reforms.”


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