Two hours drive south of the South African capital city of Pretoria lies the tiny town of Klerksdorp. Until today, it was unknown to most of us in SCEA.
That all changes today.
Lize (pronounced LEE-za) Janse Van Rensburg, SCEA’s newest employee (TASS Application Support Officer) hails from this remote part of South Africa, and she studied Economics at the nearby town of Potchefstroom – not exactly the household name you were looking for to catch your bearings when thinking of our wonderful Commonwealth neighbour with whom we share cricket and rugby union rivalries with.
This small-town girl’s world changed when she graduated from her university as one of the top ten economists in the country and was offered a job in the capital city with the Reserve Bank of South Africa.
She shared lifts each weekend back to her small town with a Christian chap who was doing the weekly commute from the capital, and, in the words of Lize, ‘it only took four hours driving in the car to work out that we were meant to be!’
The happy couple married and had two children in Pretoria before they turned their attention to Australia as an emigration destination after hearing fantastic stories of life on the other side of the Indian Ocean.
“We heard that it was like South Africa, but clean and safe. From the first thought of moving, it was six months to the day that we landed in Perth.”
Lize had to leave her job at the Reserve Bank, but picked up an equally prestigious job with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) making regular trips into various countries to look at their economic status and make expert recommendations. However, most of these countries selected by the IMF were in war-torn Africa and safety became a major concern for Lize, who had just settled and enrolled her children at Kingsway Christian College.
“There were stories of people being poorly treated in these countries and so I decided after a few years to focus on my family life and stop the fly-in-fly-out economics work.”
After taking an administration position back in Perth, a conversation with a work colleague put her in touch with the Business Manager at Kingsway (her children’s school) and the role of implementing TASS (The Alpha School System) into their school system became a reality. After seeing the system rolled out in neighbouring Christian schools, Kingsway became a TASS client and continue to utilize the system for their College’s organisational needs.
SCEA’s need for a TASS expert met with Lize’s desire to continue seeing the system fully utilized in a Christian educational environment, and this week marks Lize’s first days in the SCEA Office.
So, what should we expect from the TASS expert?
“Good relationships are the first step,” says Lize.
“I want people to know that I am available for them to contact me about their TASS needs.”
Wow! Be careful what you wish for!
I think we all realise that there is only one Lize and there are 600 of us with TASS needs, so we may need to form an orderly line – or call our line manager first!
But it is amazing to have someone who is so knowledgeable and eager to assist our schools with a product that she is familiar with. Lize and her family attend Kingsway Christian Church in Landsdale.
So, what’s it like to settle in a foreign land and be a stranger?
“Ha! The South African community here is large and we are very happy. It’s always tricky to be away from your parents – particularly during COVID – but the sacrifices have definitely been worth it,” says Lize.