By Sizwe Dlamini

The Public Service Pensions Fund (PSPF) is one of the leading entities in the country, not just by its size of assets but also its human capital, in particular, women’s empowerment.

The Fund, which turns 30 this year, has gender parity regarding its current human resources and a woman on its executive committee. 35 women professionals are working at PSPF out of the total of 73 staff. This accounts for 48 percent being women, which is only 2 percent off parity with a difference of just three male staff members.

Ten years of research by McKinsey and offers key statistics demonstrating a clear correlation between organizational diversity and financial performance, making a good case for investing in women to accelerate growth. It is within the Fund’s strategic focus to create an environment that attracts, develops, and retains talent that fits into the organization’s vision. Each department has a fair representation of women within its staff complement.

United Nations Women states that gender equality remains the most significant human rights challenge. Therefore, it is notable that investing in women is a human rights imperative and cornerstone for building inclusive societies. Progress for women benefits us all, hence the investments by PSPF into this drive are crucial.

The call for this year’s International Women’s Day is to unite and transform challenges into opportunities and shape a better future for all.

The Fund’s Chief Executive Officer, Masotja Vilakati, attests that PSPF invests in women in many ways.

“We are an organization alive to serve our members fairly and without discrimination, including gender. We support making the lives of our members better, including both genders. That is our external commitment. Internally, we offer equal opportunities to both genders, a testament to that is our fair representation of women in our staff complement,” he said.

Vilakati noted that the organization remains committed to serving its members and investing in its human capital to the best of its ability within the discipline of good corporate governance.

Some of the women leaders at PSPF share their experiences with us regarding what this year’s theme means and also unpack just how much the investment by the Fund into their lives is. One of these women is Gabsile Dlamini, who joined the Public Service Pensions Fund on 1st November 2019, as Information Security Administrator. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Mathematics from the University of Eswatini.

She is also a Certified Information Systems Auditor and holds an Honours in Engineering and Technology Management from the University of Pretoria. In addition, Ms Dlamini recently completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration with the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS).  This is just one example of the diversity of fields that the 35 women professionals participate in as well as the impact they make at the Fund.


The Director of Internal Audit & Risk, Pauline Dlamini, is a business leader with attention to detail. She has been with the Fund since 2003 and has witnessed great investments by the Fund in its human capital and women professionals. Dlamini has several qualifications, a BCom- Accounting Major (awarded by the University of Eswatini), Certification in Control Self-Assessment (awarded by Institute of Internal Auditors Inc.), Professional Internal Auditor (awarded by Institute of Internal Auditors Inc.), Fellow Member of Institute of Internal Auditors South Africa & Global, Member of the Institute of Internal Auditors Eswatini and MSc Risk Management (awarded by De Montfort University, Leicester, UK). She believes in excellence. In this interview, she unpacks what investing in women means to her and the role the Fund has played over the years.

The theme for International Women’s Day is ‘Invest in women: Accelerate progress’ Please share with us how PSPF has contributed to your professional and personal development, highlighting training, upskilling, and equal access to promotions.

I was engaged to head the Internal Audit and Risk function in August 2003.  Having been with the Fund for 20 years, it is an organization that consistently epitomizes this year’s theme of ‘Invest in women: Accelerate progress.’ 

I am part of Executive Management, which shows that it is a merit-driven entity. The Fund has significantly invested in the professional development of its human capital through short-term training and professional qualifications. To date, the number of women employees at the Fund is slightly above that of men at 52% of total employees. I applaud that, and it makes the Fund a wonderful professional organization to work for. 

I acquired various short-term training mainly with the Institute of Internal Auditors South Africa and the University of Cape Town, some of which are: Tools and Techniques for the Internal Auditor (Block 1 to 4); Internal Auditors Leadership; Advanced Business Risk Management; Strategic Business Management; Fraud Risk Management; Governance and Ethics; and Retirement Funds. I was greatly supported in acquiring my MSc in Risk Management.

Your message to young women entering the corporate space, what can they do to succeed despite gender?

To young women entering the corporate space: Embrace your uniqueness, seek mentorship, and continually invest in your skills. Be assertive in pursuing opportunities, and don’t be afraid to challenge stereotypes. Confidence, competence, and networking are powerful tools for success. 

What book had a positive investment in your life, and what is your go-to quote that keeps you moving?

A book that shaped my ambition and gave me the courage to be a woman in a male-dominated industry is “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg, addressing women in the workplace. A motivating quote: “She believed she could, so she did.” – R.S. Grey. This encourages perseverance and self-belief in the face of challenges, regardless of gender. 


The position of Company Secretary in any organization is one of the most important. At PSPF, the Company Secretary is a lady—Philile Dlamini. She has been at the Fund for several years and has held the position with great competency and excellence. She holds a BA & LLB from UNESWA (then UNISWA) and other important qualifications, such as an MBA, Management Development Programme, and Executive Development Programme.

She is a fully admitted attorney of the High Court of Eswatini and worked at the Law Society of Eswatini, Currie & Sibandze Attorneys. At the Public Service Pensions Fund, she held the positions of Senior Legal Officer, Compliance Manager, and now Company Secretary. Here, she shares her view of the impact of the investments PSPF has had on women to accelerate progress.

The theme for International Women’s Day is ‘Invest in women: Accelerate progress’, please share with us how PSPF has contributed to your professional and personal development.

It is critical to continuously improve or work toward improving one’s personal and professional growth to avoid stagnation. The Fund has nurtured my professional growth by encouraging me (and all employees) to undertake continuous learning to increase my knowledge, understanding, and experiences. 

  • It has been a continuous journey of self-improvement, constant learning, and development to improve my career and performance at the workplace. The Fund has supported me through this entire journey and has gone further to safeguard my (colleagues’) physical, mental, and emotional well-being. The learning and development plan constantly changes as each milestone is achieved. Once the primary goal is met, the professional development process starts again so that one never loses sight of one’s professional progress. I have missed some but grabbed others and actively sought opportunities to enhance my career and, more importantly, contribute effectively to goals set by the Fund.
  • PSPF has, over the years, allowed and supported me financially and otherwise. Hence I have been able to attend seminars and short courses that helped me learn and grow in knowledge and skills. The Fund has further supported me by enrolling me in leadership and developmental programs such as the Management Development Program (MDP) and Executive Development Program (EDP), offered by the University of Stellenbosch, and financing other programs, including a Master’s in Business Administration.
  • These programs have been eye-opening and given me a different perspective on the workplace and leadership, they have helped me understand other ways of thinking, helped me make informed decisions, and be mindful and intentional about my purpose and the Fund’s goals. These programs have motivated and given me the confidence to handle higher-level management challenges. They have equipped me with a solid purpose to achieve organizational goals and to be a better person. 
  • Over and above all this, the Fund recognizes potential and encourages diversity. Transitioning from supervisor to a seat in management has not only increased my confidence but also demonstrated the Fund’s dedication to women’s active engagement and the inclusion of women’s perspectives at all decision-making levels. The Fund has created fairness by giving all employees, including women, an equal chance to succeed. What is evident is that when diverse backgrounds and experiences work together, they bring new and unique perspectives to the table, leading to more creative and effective solutions. 

Your message to young women entering the corporate space, what can they do to succeed despite gender?

A-Recipes for success: Hard work, dedication, and commitment to excellence in all you do. Never give up on what you believe. There may be distractions on the way, but knowing that life does not end there, keep on moving and focus on where you want to get to. Be anchored in faith. Be who you are, and do not try to be someone you are not.

What book had a positive investment in your life, and what is your go-to quote that keeps you moving?

There are several books that I’ve read that have had an impact on my life. But a book given to me by a friend titled The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is a narrative about following your dreams and discovering your purpose in life. The moral of the story is to never give up on your dreams, no matter how challenging the road may seem, learn to listen to your heart, learn to embrace fear, and use it as a tool for personal growth. Most importantly persevere. 

Share With Friends