Imagine a South Africa where every person has the opportunity to fulfil their potential. This is our vision for the country.
The DG Murray Trust (DGMT) has identified 10 opportunities to escape the inequality trap in South Africa, trying to change the trajectory of a child’s life through age-specific programmes while confronting key structural factors that hold people back.
DGMT is a public innovator through strategic investment. Innovation is achieved through behavioural change (influencing individual and societal mindsets and actions) and through technological change. For us, public innovation is simply the process of making the world a better place for all people, in synergy with nature.
We are committed to developing South Africa’s potential by helping to create an ethical and enabling environment where human needs and aspirations are met; and where every person is given the opportunity to fulfil their potential, for both personal benefit and for that of the wider community. We commission projects that can seize the opportunities for success; communicate those opportunities in ways that inspire leadership and action; and connect people of like and unlike mind, who are committed to the same goal.
We want to be a team that values each person for who they are and what they can contribute to fulfilling our mission. We recognise that the injustices of the past still affect us – psychologically, financially, and socially. We can’t just wish them away and must be able to engage with each other in an honest, respectful and mutually affirming way, particularly on matters of equity. Our Board and our management must always strive to ensure that everyone in the team feels respected and affirmed, and able to raise even difficult and uncomfortable issues regarding race, equity and diversity within DGMT and its interactions with other groups and organisations.
DGMT is a South African philanthropic foundation built on endowments from Douglas George Murray and his wife, Eleanor. Murray was the son of, and successor to John Murray, the founder of the Cape-based construction company, Murray and Stewart, which was established in 1902. This company merged in 1967 with Roberts Construction to become Murray & Roberts, with the parent Trusts as the main shareholders. In 1979, the Trusts combined to form the DG Murray Trust, which over the years has diversified its investments.
We recognise that the very endowment of DGMT is derived from an economic system that marginalised and excluded black people. Racism continues to be a significant driver of inequality of socio-economic outcomes in South Africa – through the historical legacies of economic marginalisation, unequal access to opportunity, and overt and subtle forms of exclusion.
DG Murray and his wife Eleanor were known to treat with respect every person with whom they interacted, and their clear direction was that their endowment be available to people ‘of all races’. Still, the management structure of the firm he ran was all white, and all male. These are the realities of our past, and some of the discomforts that we must be able to acknowledge, expose, challenge and actively seek to transform.
Today, our Board of Trustees and staff come from different backgrounds and different life experiences. As a whole, the DGMT team demonstrates a strong emergent leadership of people who are black and women. And, our Board is now able to celebrate its true diversity of skills, experience and perspective – united in a common mission to develop South Africa’s potential. Specific mechanisms for dealing with prejudice – overt or subtle – have been put in place, as well as bypass systems that enable any staff member to engage directly with the Chairperson of the Board and other Board members when they feel unheard or are uncomfortable with engaging with the organisation’s executive.
DGMT has been deliberate in recognising and nurturing the talent of young black professionals. Still, the CEO and CFO are both male and white, and in time, as succession is considered there must be a pathway to transformation of leadership.
Mvuyo Tom is a former university administrator and well-known academic. He holds a MBChB degree, a Master of Family Medicine, and a Master of Science in Public Policy and management. He served as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Fort Hare (UFH) until retiring in 2016.
John Volmink is an education expert. He has a PhD in Mathematics Education and has held various teaching and management positions at southern African and international universities. He served as Chairperson of the Umalusi Council for six years.
Ameen Amod is a governance expert. He has a BComm degree and an MBA from the University of Cape Town. He is also a Chartered Director and a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), Certified Risk Management Assurer (CRMA) and Certified Government Auditing Professional Auditor (CGAP).
Shirley Mabusela is a children’s rights specialist. She has a BA Social Work degree and a Higher Diploma in Advanced Social Work Practice. She served as Deputy Director at the Johannesburg Child Welfare Society, as CEO at the Children’s Foundation and as National CEO at the National Children’s Rights Committee.
Murphy Morobe has a long career spanning the worlds of student activism, trade unionism, work in the non-governmental sector, politics, public sector, conservation and private sector. He has served on several boards including the Council for Higher Education.
Hugo Nelson is a finance specialist. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst and Medical Doctor with an MBA from Oxford University. He joined the Coronation group as an Equity Analyst in 1999 and later served as CEO and Executive Director in a number of its companies.
Maria Mabetoa is a social welfare specialist. She has a PhD in the social sciences and spent most of her career working for the Department of Social Development as a Director, Chief Director and later Deputy Director General. During this period, she was responsible for the development and management of major policies, legislation, and programmes for welfare services.
Diane Radley is a finance specialist. She is a CA (SA) with an MBA from Wits Business School and completed an Advanced Management Programme at Harvard Business School. She served as Old Mutual South Africa’s Group Finance Director and later as CEO of the Old Mutual Investment Group until the end of 2016.
Michael Kahn is a policy analyst and evaluator of research and innovation. He served as advisor to the Ministers of Education, and Science and Technology; was Chief Director (Informatics) in the Gauteng Government; Acting Director of the Centre for Education Policy Development; Professor of Science Education in Botswana and South Africa; and an Executive Director of the Human Sciences Research Council.