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Winners' Edition




MONTE CASINO BALLROOM, 14 MARCH 2019 WHY TAKE PART? Measure your performance • Gain highly valuable media and PR Exposure Impress potential new clients • Raise your profile and create awareness Network with fellow professionals • Recognise the professionals in your firm Attract top talent • Promote your profession and its values Firms of engineers, accountants, architects, project managers, quantity surveyors, management consultants and lawyers are invited to participate. Visit www.saproawards.co.za for further information or contact us on 067 044 5225.





Professional of the Year - Sally Hutton


PWC and Shirley Machaba

12 Nexia SAB&T and Ndumi Medupe 16 Paragon and Henning Rasmuss 18 Nyeleti's Dr. Pine Pienaar 20 Law Firm of the Year - Bowmans 22 Built Environment Young Professional - Aurecon's Dr. 2

Wojtowitz 25 Construction Firm of the Year - PD Consulting 28 Econometrix Dr. Azar Jammine 30 Nico Van Der Meulen 32 Engineering Awards 33 Construction Professional of the Year 34 Management Consulting Firm of the Year - ABG 36 Accounting & Big 4 Awards 37 CLM Awards 38 Lifetime Achievement Awards 42 Special Commendations www.theafricanpro.com




rofessionals from various organisations gathered at a gala dinner in Montecasino Ball Room on the evening of 1 February 2018 to honour the best amongst them. The South African Professional Services Awards sponsored by Sanlam were being hosted for the third time after a rigorous process of determining winners through strict criteria. In this edition, we feature all the winners from the various categories. Sally Hutton of Webber Wentzel was crowned SA’s Best Professional while Paragon Architects took home the Best Professional Services Firm Award. There were winners in different fields drawn from two main categories namely the built environment and commerce law and management. The full list of winners is as follows: Engineering firm of the year – Bigen Construction sector firm of the year – PD Consulting Architecture firm of the year – Paragon Engineering professional of the year – Welekazi Cele (Hatch) Construction sector professional of the year – Anthony Afordofe (Akweni) Architecture professional of the year –

Henning Rasmuss (Paragon) Built environment young professional of the year – Gabrielle Wojtowitz (Aurecon) Law firm of the year – Bowmans Big 4 firm of the year – EY Accounting firm of the year – Sekela Xabiso Consulting firm of the year – Africa Business Group Consulting professional of the year – Tapiwa Njikizana (W Consulting) Law professional of the year – Sally Hutton (Webber Wentzel) Big 4 professional of the year – Shirley Machaba (PWC) Accounting professional of the year – Ndumi Medupe (Nexia SAB&T) Woman professional of the year – Shirley Machaba (PWC) Commerce, Law and Management young professional of the year – Ayanda Kanana (City of Joburg) Lifetime Achievement Awards Prof. Edward Kieswetter (Alexander Forbes/Da Vinci Institute), Philip Hourquebie (EY/Investec), Dr. Azar Jammine (Econometrix), Mzi Nkonki (Nkonki Inc.), Dr Peter Day (Jones & Wagener), Dr. Pine Pienaar (Nyeleti), Dr. Snowy Khoza (Bigen), Pierre Lombart (GLH Architects) and Nico Van Der Meulen (Nico Van Der Meulen Architects) Special commendations SNA Civil and Structural Engineers, Mathieu Du Plooy (WSP), Nonku Ntshona (NNAQS), Lynne Pretorius (ITS Engineers), Louis De Waal (Bosch), Elene’ Olwagen (Boogertman + Partners), Tommy Strydom (Inyatsi), Paul Badrick (Grant Thornton), Nexia SAB&T, Luyanda Mngadi (PWC), Riza Moosa (Norton Rose Fulbright) and Peter Goss (SNG). KC ROTTOK www.theafricanpro.com

Publisher: The Proud African Professional (Pty) Limited Reg. Number: 2010/012428/07 P.O. BOX 4935, Randburg, 2125 Republic of South Africa Tel: 067 044 5225 www.theafricanpro.com Director: Carol Malonza – carol@africanpro.co.za Twitter: @mueni8 Managing Editor: KC Rottok – kc@africanpro.co.za Twitter: @africankc Publishing Executive: Mzukona Mantshontsho Photography: Mzu Nhlabati www.creativenation.co.za Design: O'Brien Design Website: Drutech Media www.drutechmedia.co.za Advertising Enquiries: info@africanpro.co.za To subscribe or contribute an article, email us at info@africanpro.co.za All rights reserved. Excerpts may be used as long as this magazine is credited as the source. Longer versions of our content may only be used with the written permission of the Publisher. Neither the publisher nor the editor accept responsibility for any information from edition writers or contributors. Whilst we have taken care in preparing this publication, the publisher/ editor does not warrant its completeness or accuracy. The editor retains the right to edit all contributions. Advertisers are responsible for their material.

© The African Professional / The Expatriate SA: ISSN 2218 – 757X.




SALLY HUTTON recognised by various international research organisations including Chambers Global (Corporate/ M&A, Banking, Finance, Capital Markets), IFLR1000(Capital Markets), Legal 500 (Private Equity), The International Who’s Who (M&A, Private Equity) and Best Lawyers (Corporate Law, Derivatives, Finance Law, Private Equity Law). Sally has BA and LLB degrees, both with distinction, from the University of Cape Town and an LLM degree, with distinction, from the University of the Witwatersrand.

people that question! I would like to think I am collaborative, open-minded honest and fair. After 21 years with Webber Wentzel I am fiercely protective of the culture and values that underpin the success of a firm that has produced some of the greatest legal minds South Africa has to offer. Having said that, I believe that ‘what got us here, won’t necessarily get us there’ so as leaders we have to manage the balance between preserving all the good that got us to this point whilst remaining flexible and nimble enough to change where necessary to stay ahead.



ally Hutton is the managing partner of Webber Wentzel and is a partner in the Corporate/ M&A Practice. Sally Hutton has experience in all aspects of private equity transactional work, but specialises in mergers and acquisitions (M&A), especially leveraged buy-out and exit transactions (both public and private) for private equity funds. Her work includes structuring the consortium and shareholders arrangements, the management participation arrangements, broadbased black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) structures and funding arrangements, as well as reorganisations. She has acted in many of the largest and most high profile private equity transactions done in South Africa in recent years. Her expertise has been

She also has a Masters of Studies from the University of Oxford. She attended an executive education programme on Leading Professional Services Firms at Harvard Business School in 2012. What does it mean to you that your colleagues have entrusted you with the position of Managing Partner? I have spent my entire career at Webber Wentzel, so it was a great honour to me that my fellow partners entrusted me, alongside Christo Els as our Senior Partner, to lead our firm for a five-year term from 1 March 2015 and to continue the legacy of all those that have gone before us. For me, the real value of being in a leadership position is that it gives you the opportunity to effect change and the platform to make a difference. How would you describe your management and leadership styles? You’ll have to ask my partners and our www.theafricanpro.com

My leadership philosophy is always to harness the benefits of diversity around a common goal. We are operating in a rapidly changing legal and economic landscape and to compete effectively we have to learn from our successes and failures and adapt accordingly. I don’t believe we can do this effectively unless we have a transformed and diverse workplace, otherwise we will simply do what we have always done. Collaboration is key. Our leadership team is made up of a combination of lawyers and other professionals with a diverse range of skills and experience, including chartered accountants, management consultants, engineers and even a psychologist. This allows for a broad range of views which prevents ‘group think’, fosters ‘positive disruption’ and allows us to develop innovative solutions for our clients and people alike.


Are there any particular challenges you have experienced as a woman in a leadership position? I don’t think the challenges I have faced in building my career are particularly different from those faced by any man or woman juggling the demands of work and family.

What makes you tick or keeps you awake at night with respect to your position as Managing Partner? Staying ahead of the pack in an intensely competitive environment. I am constantly looking for ways to improve our service offering to our clients and the proposition we offer our people.

I have never felt explicitly disadvantaged because I am a woman, although I have experienced the far more subtle effects of gender stereotyping and unconscious bias.

Leading a law firm is very different from leading a corporate – as a partnership, there are over 100 individual owners of the business – they are highly intelligent, autonomous individuals with a deep vested interest in the success of our business. The challenge as a leadership team is to persuade all of them to move in the same direction for the greater good. Christo and I are leaders, but we are elected leaders and also our partners’ peers. It is our role to provide a clear and compelling vision, set out the plan to achieve it and then contextualise how everything fits together. In our busy day-t- day work world it is also critical for us to make the time to have

I think though that women in senior positions have a responsibility to be role models, to be more visible, to be more vocal. We can help dispel stereotypes and demonstrate what is possible – especially by providing working examples for young women and girls who want successful corporate careers after children.


individual conversations, because although we are a big business, we are still ultimately a partnership, which is dependent on personal relationships and we have to work at keeping the bonds between partners strong. Our challenge is always managing the tension between the need to run our large business in a business-like fashion and the need to keep the collegiality that attracts partners to private practice. I recognise the weight of responsibility my generation of leadership carries in preserving the legacy of one of South Africa’s greatest law firms and I feel compelled to leave it better and stronger for the next generation of lawyers. How do you take part in mentoring others? In my view, there is no better way to learn than to do the job, so I provide exposure and access to clients and quality work. I am always accessible – by email if not always in person as I


“I believe that ‘what got us here, won’t necessarily get us there’ so as leaders we have to manage the balance between preserving all the good that got us to this point whilst remaining flexible and nimble enough to change where necessary to stay ahead….” travel weekly between both offices, and also have an open door policy so people can pop in to bounce ideas around or brainstorm solutions. I believe mentoring should happen in ‘real time’ when the discussion is focused on something relevant to that moment, so I prefer a more informal approach to formal scheduled engagements. As a firm we do though have formal mentoring programmes and Christo and I meet regularly with representatives from our junior staff to ensure we are in

touch with their thinking – they are after all the future of our firm. If you had to relate a couple of experiences, what would be the highs and what would be the lows of your working career? The high of my career would probably be my election by my partners as their managing partner. My low was probably the six-month period immediately preceding that election where I had to stand down from the board for a year as I had served the maximum permitted term of four successive years. As a result, I spent six months feeling completely www.theafricanpro.com

disconnected from what was going on in the firm. I realised then, as much as I love my practice, how important it was to me to have a seat at the table setting the direction of the firm. The fact that we have split the senior partner role into two roles – the senior partner and managing partner role, allows Christo and I to continue to practice in addition to our leadership roles, which for me is the best of both worlds.



Founded in 1868, Webber Wentzel was around before the telephone, the modern car and penicillin. As market leading legal and tax advisers with a deep understanding of our clients’ businesses and many long held relationships, there is a lot of history to celebrate.

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- B I G 4 A N D WO M A N




wC in Africa is the largest provider of professional services with close to 400 partners and over 9000 people in 34 countries. The organisation is able to provide their clients with seamless and consistent service, wherever they are located on the continent. The South African Professional Services Academy spoke to Shirley Machaba, Chairperson of the Board and Partner in Charge (PIC) of the Pretoria Office at PwC South Africa about her personal and entrepreneurial journey. Tell us about your early life and your role today I’m a Chartered Accountant with over 24 years’ experience in internal,

external audit and risk management and governance in the public and private sector. I’m the first Head of Internal Audit to be appointed at the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development where I built the internal audit function to over 100 internal auditors nationally. I’m an author and renowned speaker having presented locally, in the African continent and internationally. I was priviledged to be named Internal Auditor of the Year by the Institute of Internal Auditors in 2003. I was appointed PIC of the Pretoria Office in July 2013 and serve as a member in the PwC Global Board since July 2015 www.theafricanpro.com

– representing the emerging market including Africa. What was your training like? I am fortunate in that I was exposed to various industries in my traineeship days including the financial services sector - it was for PDI’s back then – my training was intense, but looking back, I truly appreciate! What does the role of being Chairperson of PwC South Africa mean to you? I must lead the Board in monitoring the implementation of the firm’s strategy by management. With PwC being the largest international professional services firm and considering the ever

“Success is a journey and not a destination. There will be stumbling blocks along the way, find the necessary support to realize your dreams. When we fall, we wake up, dust ourselves and move on because we can’t give up. There’s a dire need to address the skills’ shortage crisis we have, dedication, hard work and focus will guarantee the sky will not be the limit!” changing risk landscape across the globe, my role is to embrace PwC’s vision 2020 which is the network strategy and the network leadership strategy priorities: • Our Competitive Advantage through the brand, our Talent, Quality and Culture • Being chosen Number 1 in business, • Our Effectiveness and Efficiency, • Being Technology Enabled, and • Being Agile and Ready. Have you ever had any particular challenges as a Woman Professional? Yes, the unconscious bias from both men and women will always be a challenge. My attitude is ‘no one will

determine my destiny except myself’. So, I shy away from distractions, I stay focused and determined to exceed set expectations. What advice do you have for younger professionals who are looking at joining the Profession? Success is a journey and not a destination. There will be stumbling blocks along the way, find the necessary support to realize your dreams. When we fall, we wake up, dust ourselves and move on because we can’t give up. There’s a dire need to address the skills’ shortage crisis we have, dedication, hard work and focus will guarantee the sky will not be the limit!


What are you currently working on and what can we expect from you going forward As Chairperson of the Board and the Social & Ethics Committee, my task is to advocate and position the firm, so I am working closely with the Integrated Reporting task team for the 2017 reporting. I am preparing to be a Chartered Director through the Institute of Directors (IoDSA). What initiative (if implemented) would leave the greatest impact for you or Africa as a whole? The achievement of the government’s National Development Plan 2030 of education, health, food security, the creation of decent and sustainable jobs,


the fight against crime and corruption. That would go a long way in alleviating poverty, the high unemployment rates and inequality. What would you change if you had all the powers that be? I would change the way certain leaders feel they are indispensable – let us stop thinking of ‘me’ and start saying ‘we’.


What would you say are the most critical resources for your successful leadership? How would people describe you as a Leader? Emotional intelligence, being consultative and inclusive, allowing collaboration, authenticity, being a servant leader, trusting the team I work with, and exercising integrity throughout. I am a transformational leader, I’m authentic, I’m democratic and empowering. Sharing and collaboration are my strengths. I have an open door policy! What legacy would you want to leave when you retire? I want to have paved the way for others, particularly the young and upcoming leaders to believe that the sky is not the limit. How do you strike the balance of career, business and interpersonal skills? Through time management, dealing with peer pressure and managing family and friends’ expectations. How has PwC done in terms of business growth objectives? PwC is doing pretty well considering

the unfavourable economic conditions across the Globe! How do you maintain Ethics, Integrity and Professionalism? I personally shy away from unnecessary distractions. I advocate for all professionals to regularly update themselves through latest developments in the profession. I always stand by the ethical leadership principles to remain firm so my integrity is not compromised. www.theafricanpro.com

How do you participate in Mentorship, if you do? I participate in formal and informal mentorship programmes within the firm and outside. It is voluntary and on request. I have mentees all over the world with the majority in South Africa and some in the rest of the African continent. MZUKONA MANTSHONTSHO

Africa’s a continent of contrasts, unique challenges and amazing opportunities. Succeeding here depends on having a deep understanding of local issues, a global perspective, and the ability to use these to build tailored solutions. We’ve been doing business in Africa for almost a century, and over 9000 professionals in 34 countries are working with our clients to add value to their businesses. It’s what we do. At PwC in Africa, we see opportunities where others see challenges. www.pwc.com/africa

©2018. PricewaterhouseCoopers (“PwC”). All rights reserved. (18-21843)


S A B & T ’ S




dumi Medupe was elected Chairperson of Nexia SAB&T in April 2017. Her election followed on from the merger of her practice, Indyebo, with Nexia SAB&T on March 1, 2017. Ndumi hails from Bizana in the Eastern Cape, she has more than 20 years of professional experience, having started her path to becoming a chartered accountant at Deloitte in 1994. Ndumi qualified as a chartered accountant in 2002 completing her studies at the University of Natal. Ndumi has both private and public sector experience, having served in senior positions at the Gauteng Department of Finance, MTN and Joburg City Parks. In 2003, she was one of the founding partners of Xabiso Chartered Accountants, where after she decided to go it alone in 2007, when she founded Indyebo. During her 10 years at the helm of Indyebo, Ndumi grew the firm into a brand with an outstanding reputation for quality, excellence and integrity. The merger with Nexia SAB&T came about as a natural development out of several projects undertaken by Nexia SAB&T and Indyebo jointly. Indyebo has long benefitted from Nexia SAB&T’s enterprise development initiatives and as such shared a long and mutually beneficial relationship. With the other Black owned assurance provider firms in the market having experienced growth in the past years, this merger sees Nexia SAB&T solidifying its position among South Africa’s top ten audit firms as well as, as one of the premier Black empowerment firms. “The benefits for myself and the staff that joined Nexia SAB&T include: JSE accreditation for the conduct of audits of listed entities, a national

footprint with offices in each of South Africa’s nine provinces and experience in the private and public sector at all levels.” commented Ndumi when asked about the merger. “Gender discrimination and stereotyping, juggling the pressures of a career and family and coping with failure are the biggest challenges women in business face,” says Ndumi. “Women should be confident in their abilities and skills in order to excel in their roles. Creating a strong support and network base is key to success.” “In my role as chairperson of Nexia SAB&T I will look to ensure the firm executes its approved long-term strategy which means protecting and enhancing the firm’s brand while cementing ourselves as a top 10 professional services practice in South Africa.” ” Our focus will be on increasing service quality by developing and retaining key talent and expanding our capabilities across all areas of the business.” When asked what gets her up in the morning Ndumi replied: “I have a strong sense of purpose and set myself goals, I’m excited to execute, implement, correct and fine tune.” “I’m excited for the future; each client brings a unique dynamic that stretches our service excellence ambitions. The diversity of the Nexia SAB&T team and our clients makes my life fascinating as a business advisor.” Ndumi won the Accounting Professional of the Year award for 2017 based on the interview below. www.theafricanpro.com

What does it mean to you that your colleagues have entrusted you with the position of chairperson of Nexia SAB&T? I view my responsibility as steering the growth of the business, client development, client retention as well as transformation. I am also responsible for customer experience and employee satisfaction. I make sure that the right people are put in the right place. How has the merger been so far? Well it has been about six months and so far so good. The industry is the same so the only difference here is the size. We were an organization of about 34 staff at Indyebo. This is a bigger organization fo 400 people and 38 directors but the challenges are the same – quality service, quality people, staff retention etc. The difference is that it is an organization at a bigger scale and I am glad to have access to greater expertise. What would you like to achieve in your role as chair of the company? We are now in the top 10 firms by fees nationally. Our intention is to move the organization to the top 5 within the next five years. With Mandatory Audit Firm Rotation coming up we need to position ourselves appropriately to the opportunities that I believe will come our way. We see ourselves as one of the biggest players in internal audit, consulting and external audit. When rotation does happen as we are already a Level 1 BBBEE company with our name in the market, we think we are positioned to benefit from firm rotation


at some blue chip companies to whom we have provided certain services. What would you say is your leadership and management style? I believe I am a transformational or servant leader. I am the kind of person who is interested in being surrounded by people who are better than me. I think I have a good eye for spotting talent and as I am self-actualised, it is easy for me to grow people. I want the people around me to be better than me and I subscribe to the notion that great teams go that much further.

What are you passionate about professionally? I am passionate about being in the advising space and I find it fulfilling to solve client problems and make sure clients can sleep easy. I enjoy enabling clients to get positive feedback from their stakeholders be it their employees, their shareholders or their customers. I take an interest in being knowledgeable of my client’s industries; for instance, I keep up to date with insurance as we have key clients who are in that space and I would like to participate in ensuring that they are at the innovative end of what is happening there and get www.theafricanpro.com

ahead of their competitors with cutting edge solutions. Do you take part in mentorship? Yes, I mentor a number of junior directors and managers. I have identified about 5 of them who I mentor, taking them to clients with me and allowing them to lead the presentations. What would you identify as the highs and lows of your working career? The highs would be our appointment to do work for Discovery and Liberty. We were appointed to do part of the external audit of Discovery about 3

years ago and to handle internal audit work at Liberty about 18 months ago Furthermore our appointment by Sasol was also very big for our business. The low as losing Telkom as a client about 5 years ago which really dented our bottom-line.


How would you describe the growth of Indyebo over the years? The growth trajectory was phenomenal since commencement 10 years ago. Initially it was fueled by a lot of government work but around 2015 this started to change as they began to tighten their belts with consultants being one of the first casualties. Thankfully we had already made inroads to the private sector which enabled us to handle the risk.

Have you participated in community service as an organization? Yes, we have taken on the welfare of three orphans in Thembisa and also support a home in KZN. We are also contributors to the Thuthuka bursary fund, a SAICA initiative to sponsor previously disadvantaged students in their quest to qualify as chartered accountants. How do you ensure that ethical business practices and professionalism is maintained in your business? I always do things that are above board. Integrity and respect are some of my core personal values. I believe if you lie, you always get caught out eventually. If you give bad advice, it will eventually backfire and ruin your reputation. If

Bashir Adam, CEO of Nexia SAB&T who was also a finalist for the Accounting professional of the year award


I don’t know something, I back off. I am honest about my capabilities. If I promise, then I ensure I deliver. Such behavior builds trust and you want to be trusted in the professional services space. What do you do when you are not working? Travelling, reading and writing are my first love. I read a lot particularly biographies. At the moment I have stuff like the 7 Habits for Billionaires on my kindle and I am also going through Dr. Judy Dlamini’s Equal but Different. I also like outdoor activities including mountain biking, picnics and game drives with my family.










and it means that I have an obligation towards others, not just to me. It means that people around me are entitled to demand that I lead and direct. It means that they have a right to be able to rely on me. Not for everything, but for things that I am particularly good at. It means also that I have to inspire and motivate. I can be inspired and motivated by people around me, but in 90% of all situations, I believe that directors have to inspire and motivate first. And direct: show direction, movement, and create momentum. That is what directors do. Managers do other things. 16


he PARAGON GROUP scooped the Architectural firm of the Year and Professional Services Firm of the Year Awards at the SAPSA Awards. In addition, co-founder Henning Rasmuss won the Architecture Professional of the Year. Paragon was founded in October 1997 and is now an internationally active African grouping of design companies. The group includes Paragon Architects, delivering commercial architecture for all property industry sectors; Paragon Interface Architects, offering interior design and strategic space planning services, and due diligence studies; and Paragon Architects South Africa, the South African business unit. All the businesses have a generalist ethos, and actively promote and build a broad skill

base for all team members. The firm works with local design businesses in every location where they have projects. Since 2012, the Paragon Group has completed projects in 18 countries on the African continent. The company is currently in the construction phase of projects in South Africa, Swaziland, Kenya, Ghana, Senegal and CongoBrazzaville. The South African Professional Services Academy spoke to Founding Director at Paragon Group Henning Rasmuss about his personal and entrepreneurial journey thus far. What does it mean to you being Founding Director at Paragon? I guess being a director has 'come naturally', but as the business grows and evolves, I have had to ensure that I am seen to be leading and in fact 'directing'. It makes me aware and self-aware, www.theafricanpro.com

How would you describe your management and leadership styles? I am not a micro-manager, and I believe in team autonomy. I create spaces for inspired design and inspired project work by making people feel excited about the projects they are working on. I love sharing knowledge through anecdotes and stories. I love honesty – sometimes too much of it – and I do not shield people from the real flux behind, around, under and over projects. I overshare, and I immerse myself and people in the full reality. I like building a full picture in people's minds, so that we are all washed by all the waters of a project. That is my working style. Sometimes a bit corrosive, and too honest. I do not believe in taking prisoners. I lead neither from the front, nor from the back. We are in one line, and we take on the projects. And we make the steps up as we go along. What keeps you awake at night with respect to your position? PASSION is my driver, and I love my work and I love the responsibility.FEAR

keeps me awake at night, and is a big driver of my life as a director. If you can face your fear, you can act strategically and you can intervene to protect your company and your teams. PLEASURE is what I get out of working with both my fear and my passion. Pleasure for its own sake. That is the payback. Simple hedonist pleasure. Moments of it, days or it, slices of it. How do you take part in mentoring others? I teach and lecture by invitation at various South African universities, from time to time. This also includes external

examinations, which are in a remote way 'mentoring'. Mentoring is more personal. In the office, I share and tell storiesall the time. I transmit my personal insight and knowledge and passion through stories and anecdotes. I am a storyteller. And there is never a short answer to a question. What accolades have you and your organisation received recently? In 2017, the African Property Awards voted our project for Crystal Rivers Mall in Mavoko, Kenya as 'Highly Recommended' for Retail Architecture in Kenya. In 2016, my partner Anthony

was awarded 'Architect of the Year' in the 2016 SAPSA Awards, and our practice was voted 'Architectural Practice of the Year' at the same event. Also in 2016, the practice won the 3rd prize in the Casagrande Grande Prix in Venice, Italy for our project at 115 West Street. In 2015, we won the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) Award for 'Commercial Office Developments – Merit Award' for Alice Lane Phase 2. We were also the Overall Winners at the 2017 SAPOA Awards for the design of Sasol Place. MZUKONA MANTSHONTSHO


Mullple winners at the SAPSA awards



What was your training like? I completed by degree in civil engineering in 1981, and an honours degree in structural engineering in 1981, both at the University of Pretoria. In 1987, I obtained my Master’s degree in the design of low volume roads – under the leadership of Prof Archie Rohde, also in Pretoria. In 1993, I obtained a PhD degree with the title: The management of tertiary road networks in rural areas, again at the University of Pretoria. A further highlight was obtaining my professional registration in 1986. Looking back after all these years one is grateful for the opportunities you have had, and all the engineers who contributed to your training and development. What does the role of being Executive Director at Nyeleti mean to you? Colleague Stanford Mkhacane and myself started Nyeleti Consulting, in 1999. People often ask what our previous name was, but in this case, there was

no previous company! We started as two engineers and a secretary and grew to approximately 120 staff currently. We have offices in Pretoria, Alberton, Polokwane, Durban and Mozambique. The focus from the beginning was to establish an empowerment company, and we felt at that stage that we could better do it by starting a new company. We adopted the slogan, “Engineered to Excel”, as high quality work forms the cornerstone of our business. A former mentor said: “Good enough is not good enough” and this is true in the very competitive consulting engineering industry. Our approach at Nyeleti is on teamwork, each manager and staff member accepting responsibility for his or her part of the business. It has been a privilege to lead a group of very talented and devoted people over the years. What are you currently working on and what can we expect from you going forward?

We are busy with some very exciting projects, including: • A number of freeway upgrading projects for SANRAL • Design and construction at the Medupi and Kusile Power Stations • Construction of a filter-block for Rand Water • Design of a low volume access road for the Maputo Special Reserve • We recently completed the design and construction of a new roof structure for a BMW manufacturing plant, while manufacturing was continuing underneath us! This was a particularly challenging project but was successfully completed. What initiative(s) (if implemented) would leave the greatest impact for you and for Africa as a whole? Effective implementation of the National Development Plan 2030 will certainly have a positive impact on the South African economy, and indirectly on myself as a citizen and participant in the economy. I believe that it will also benefit Africa as a whole: Job creation, strong new infrastructure, clean renewable energy, inclusive planning, quality education, quality healthcare, fighting of corruption, a capable state serving its people and unity as a nation – wonderful! What would you say are the most critical resources for your successful leadership? How would people describe you as a Leader? David McQueen, business leader with the Westpac group in Australia, recently said: Leadership isn’t about being great, it about enabling others to be great. At the end, it is about unlocking the potential


of the people in your organisation, creating an enabling work environment, consistency but also flexibility when required, humility as leader and integrity. What is the legacy that you would want to leave by the time you retire? I would like to leave behind a company continuing to live our statement of excellence: • Integrity: Do what we said we will do, acting in good faith • Equality: Acknowledging the rights of others and providing equal opportunity to all • Quality: Providing services of the highest professional standards • Responsibility: Taking ownership and being accountable. How do you participate in mentorship, if you do? Mentorships form an important element of the Nyeleti culture. We have a formal mentorship system in place, with mentors

guiding and assisting younger staff to gain the experience required, to grow in their understanding of the technical principles underpinning our work and eventually, to register professionally. What makes you tick or keeps you awake at night? I enjoy my work and get great pleasure from working with the Nyeleti colleagues. What have been the highs and lows in your working career? The lows? A stage during 1997/98 when we had to retrench staff. And the high: Receiving an honorary fellowship from the SA Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE). How does the organisation take part in developing the profession you belong to? One of our most prominent contributions is to encourage our staff to take up

leadership positions within the industry. So, for example, we have in recent times made available Abe Thela as president of Consulting Engineering SA (CESA), and Stanford Mkhacane and Sundran Naicker as presidents of SAICE. A number of other staff members serve on the boards and committees of industry organisations. When you not at work, what do you get up to, including family life? I enjoy my sport – used to run the Comrades and now do plenty of cycling. Holidays with the family are always enjoyable, and we love to travel. Where can people follow you online? LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ pine-pienaar-60735a12/




international pro bono clearing houses,” says Fatima Laher, of counsel and head of Pro Bono at Bowmans. “Pro bono is an integral part of our firm as a whole and also in all of the jurisdictions in which we have offices.”

OWMANS is a leading PanAfrican law firm with a track record of providing specialist legal services, both domestic and crossborder, in the fields of corporate law, banking and finance law and dispute resolution, spans over a century.


Bowmans has six offices in four African countries and over 400 specialised lawyers, differentiated by their geographical reach, independence and quality of legal services they provide. Bowmans had several significant developments during the period under review that lead to winning the award including the following: Named Leading Legal Adviser in Africa According to Dealmakers On 16 February 2017, the firm was named DealMakers leading legal adviser in Africa (in relation to both deal value and deal flow) for the third year in a row at a gala event held in Johannesburg. The Dealmakers league tables show that the deals attributed to Bowmans in Africa were collectively valued at USD 4 640 million, constituting 13.4 % market share by deal value and 25.8% market share by deal flow. Chairman of Bowmans Corporate/ M&A Department, Ezra Davids, said, “A combination of African-led and international cross-border acquisitions are fuelling regional M&A activity as African businesses grow in selfconfidence. While the global volume of African M&A has slowed, we are expecting inbound and outbound M&A to increase in the years ahead

as regulatory uncertainty and global political events stabilise. Extended Pro Bono Work Across Africa Bowmans’ Pan-African reach extends further than the legal aspects of some of the continent’s most complex business transactions; it also encompasses pro bono projects in Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. Bowmans’ 2017/ 18 Pro Bono and Corporate Social Responsibility Report shows that it is successfully crossing borders to assist social enterprises in an array of fields, from rule-of-law research and human rights monitoring to community energy and small-scale farming projects and services for people with disabilities. “Some exciting work was done by our lawyers in all the countries in which our offices are located. This not only benefited the social enterprises operating in these regions but also saw us receiving recognition from various www.theafricanpro.com

Recognised at the 2017 Africa Legal Awards On 11 September 2017 Bowmans narrowly missed the title of African Law Firm of the Year – Large Practice at the 2017 African Legal Awards held in Johannesburg. The firm was the only firm to be ‘highly commended’ in this category. It also received two other accolades. Bowmans’ chairman and senior partner, Robert Legh, said: “These awards are hotly contested and the standard of entries is high. We believe that we stood out because of the depth of our teams’ sector knowledge, gained on the ground in the African jurisdictions that are critical to our clients’ growth strategies”. The event was hosted by Legal Week and the Corporate Lawyers Association of South Africa. The firm won the Technology, Media and Telecommunications Team of the Year Award for advising Wireless Business Solutions Pty Ltd (now known as Rain) on its multi-billion Rand investment in a new national high-speed LTE-A network. This included concluding roaming and facilities leasing agreements. Bowmans was also the only firm that was ‘highly commended’ in the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Team of the Year category. This was for representing the South African Human

Rights Commission, on a pro bono basis, against Mr Jon Qwelane in the Equality Court. This was in response to an article that he published which found to be hate speech in terms of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act read together with the Constitution. Legh concluded, “These awards are a vote of confidence in our ability to advise on complex legal matters in the best interests of clients. They also affirm that of our ‘one firm’ approach to doing business in Africa is paying off.”

Celebration of new offices in Dar es Salaam Bowmans officially opened its new permanent office in Dar es Salaam on Thursday, 31 August 2017. The keynote speaker for the occasion was the Honourable Palamagamba John Kabudi, Tanzania’s Minister of Constitutional and Legal Affairs, who said government welcomes African law firms such as Bowmans for their commitment to the country. “Such firms foster best practices for the benefit of their investor clients and the growth of the legal profession in Tanzania.”

The official office opening comes eight months after Bowmans began operating in Dar es Salaam under its own brand name in temporary offices in Kinondoni. “The past months have confirmed our analysis of the country’s importance as a hub for foreign investors, and the strength and growth potential of the Tanzanian economy,” said Robert Legh, chairman and senior partner at Bowmans.






lobal engineering and infrastructure advisory company, Aurecon, employs a global pool of talent to solve the critical and complex problems across a number of industries, including the built environment, mining, energy, infrastructure, digital advisory and asset management, among others. The South African Professional Services Academy spoke to Dr Gabrielle Wojtowitz, Consulting Engineer of South Africa (CESA) Aon Young Engineer of the Year Award winner in 2016 and South African Institution of Civil Engineers (SAICE) Young Engineer of the Year Award winner in 2016, and Geotechnical Engineer at Aurecon about her personal and professional journey thus far. She claimed the title of Young Professional of the Year in the Built Environment category at the SAPSA Awards for 2017.

Give us a brief history about yourself and your education? After matriculating from Pretoria High School for Girls, I completed my BEng (Civil Engineering) at the University of Pretoria (UP). Having been a bursary student with Ninham Shand, I joined their Transportation team in Centurion. After a few months of working in the engineering industry, I started working towards my post-graduate degree at UP in Geotechnical Engineering on a part-time basis. The following year, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime and moved to the United Kingdom to undertake my PhD in Geotechnical Engineering at the University of Southampton. This was an amazing life experience. A PhD is not only about research, one also learns valuable life skills such as networking and how to build the right level of confidence, motivation, and determination. I also learnt how to understand and tackle complex problems. After completing my PhD, I worked for Buro Happold in their Ground Engineering team based in the beautiful city of Bath. After having spent over five years in the UK, my husband and I decided to move back home. I joined Aurecon’s Ground Engineering team in 2012. I serve on the SAICE (South African Institution of Civil Engineering) Geotechnical Division committee and am the geotechnical division member for South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) Technical Committee TC60 (SANS 10400). I am an external examiner for the UP and the University of Cape Town (UCT) and an invited lecturer for a part of the UCT Masters course. I have been mentored by some amazing engineers and professors who helped me become the engineer I am today. The www.theafricanpro.com

engineers I have been privileged to work under have played a pivotal role in my training. I have also taken ownership and driven my career development and training, which is an approach that all young aspiring engineers should adopt. At Aurecon, I head the Modelling Forum which I use as a platform for knowledge transfer and development of junior engineers. I have also published several papers. I believe that we open ourselves up to opportunities by being passionate in what we do and being involved. I love what I do and I think that’s key. Tell us about your role TODAY as Principal Geotechnical Engineer at Aurecon, what does the role mean to you? I am senior member of the Ground Engineering team which comprises of a complement of geotechnical engineers and engineering geologists. My day to day work involves design, analyses, checking and reviewing designs, report writing, mentoring and training junior engineers, tendering for projects, managing projects within the team with regards to resourcing, budget and time. I lead the Modelling Forum in the Ground Engineering team, which I use as a platform to develop numerical modelling skills within the team and train junior engineers, as well as for knowledge transfer. I also sit on our global ground engineering group in the teams which focus on advocacy as well as work sharing across our global offices. I am passionate about Geotechnical and Civil Engineering and this comes through in my role at work. This passion has driven me to be a part of the wider industry by getting involved in SAICE Geotechnical

Division, university involvement and CESA Young Professionals Forum. I have worked hard to get to where I am and have enjoyed the journey thus far. I find the work and involvement I do outside of my day job hugely rewarding thanks to the people I meet and the experiences I am exposed to. It has been fun! I am proud of my role and am driven to give of my best. The projects I work on introduce me to new challenges frequently and this keeps me growing and developing my technical and professional capability. I don’t think I would enjoy my role if I wasn’t continuously challenged. You have had several academic and professional achievements, which one stands out for you and why? I would have to say winning the “CESA Aon Young Engineer of the Year Award” and the “SAICE Young Engineer of the Year Award” in the same year (2016) would be the two that stand out. This is because my academic and professional achievements up to that point all contributed to me receiving the two prestigious awards. In addition, the awards have helped me elevate my “personal brand” within Aurecon and the industry, which brought on more opportunities and experiences. I have met some very interesting people and learnt a lot and have really enjoyed this past year. Obtaining my PhD in Geotechnical Engineering at the University of Southampton has also been a defining achievement as it has opened many doors for me globally. It was an amazing experience and taught me valuable life and professional skills. Dedicating three and a half years to post-

graduate studies is also an achievement. I was also incredibly fortunate to have been supervised by two renowned Professors.

to work with a multi-disciplinary team comprised of professionals from around the world.

What advice do you have for students who are looking forward to joining the profession? You are the master of your own destiny. Find a career or field that you are passionate about, that interests you and will continually challenge you so that you never stop growing. I believe you open yourself up to opportunities by being passionate about what you do, having a positive attitude and getting involved. Get involved in the wider industry outside of your day job, as this is hugely rewarding and creates opportunities and a personal network. Study further. Give back to the profession and your community. Seek to learn from senior people in your company. Find yourself a good mentor who is interested in you and your development. The profession is currently transforming and redefining itself. These are exciting times where creativity and innovation are drivers for change. You are young and a part of this change.

What principles and values do you think are important for a young professional? • Humility and honesty • Being approachable, happy and fun • Being driven and always striving to give of your best • Taking initiative and figuring things out for yourself • Thinking out of the box and aiming to develop oneself. Strive to develop a deep understanding of your field’s technical knowledge – this will serve you well as you progress technically. • Seek to build a good relationship with your manager, senior engineers and team members and colleagues • Being inquisitive and creative, and having a positive attitude

What has been the highlight of your career with your company? Being part of the Deep Foundations (Geotechnical team) for the Dubai Creek Harbour Tower project in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (the world’s next tallest building). This type of iconic project is what you dream about when you first start studying civil engineering. It’s one of those “once in a lifetime” projects and has been hugely rewarding in terms of developing and challenging my technical knowledge and problem-solving skills as well as giving me the opportunity www.theafricanpro.com

Explain what contribution you have made to the company since joining it? I have assisted in upskilling junior engineers, particularly in numerical modelling capability. Besides establishing and leading the Modelling Forum in the Ground Engineering team, I have also been a committee member of our young professional forum within the company where I served on the community work initiative. As mentioned, I also sit on our global ground engineering group in the teams which focus on advocacy as well as work sharing across our global offices. I have published several technical papers based on the work I have undertaken at the company. I am a member of Aurecon’s Perth-Tshwane initiative, which aims to


link our Perth and Tshwane offices. By being a team player and contributing to the collective good of our Ground Engineering team. Who stands out for you as a role model and why? It is difficult to single out one role model as generally there are several people whom you regard as a role model for different aspects of life and your career. The first would be my mother, for her approach and outlook to life, her incredible womanly strength and

how she has taught me to live my life, approach challenges and be a parent. In terms of career motivation and guidance, Dr Eduard Vorster (at Aurecon) for his incredible technical capability and geotechnical engineering knowledge; being a sense maker; a fair leader who strives to bring out the best in his employees and pushes them to discover their full potential. One of my PhD supervisors, Prof Chris Clayton for his humility and caring nature; his passion and his deep understanding of the science and mechanics of geotechnics


Aurecon is an engineering and infrastructure advisory company, but not as you know it. We’ve reimagined engineering. We see the opportunities, possibilities and potential that others don’t. Think engineering. Think again. Aurecon: Engineering, re-imagined.

Where do you want your career to be in 10 years’ time? This is also a difficult question to answer exactly as this vision has recently changed. I suppose as you develop and new opportunities present themselves this changes your outlook and vision. Your present personal life also influences your priorities and drivers at each stage. My current career 10-year vision would be that I build up eminence within the Geotechnical Engineering industry and become known for my technical capability. Continuing being involved in university work. I want to be involved in more amazing projects such as the Dubai Creek Harbour Tower. I want to be more involved in training and upskilling junior engineers and becoming a role model to future engineers entering and who wish to enter the industry. I want to lead teams on projects. When you are not at work, what do you get up to? I am a mother of two very busy little boys, aged 3 and 1 year’s old. I love running though I don’t get to do it as often as I would like. I also do yoga, which is when I can reconnect with myself. I used to cycle and mountain bike, though the bikes are dusty and full of cobwebs now since I became a mother. I love travelling, reading and am a novice gardener. We spend a lot of time with family. I love being outdoors in fresh air and sunshine. Where can people follow you online? LinkedIn: https://za.linkedin.com/in/ gabrielle-wojtowitz-a7a00146



P D C O N S U LT I N G “We have a formalised mentorship structure within the organisation – we have exposed university graduates to the work that we do and brought a number of them on board. We have taken a step further to help them join the professional councils and bodies in the built environment so that they can learn best practices and excel. We also have a bursary fund for postgraduate studies for those in our employment to encourage growth….’ PROCUREMENT DYNAMICS (PD) Consulting is a bouquet of Public Sector Consulting focussing on engineering design, economic development and delivery management. The South African Professional Services Academy recently spoke to Tjiamogale Eric Manchidi. He is the CEO of PD Consulting and MD at Diagonal Projects Africa (DPA). He is also the President of the South African Council for Project and Construction Management Professions (SACPCMP). He was appointed to the position by the Minister of Public Works in 2014 and he shared with the Academy his personal and professional journey thus far. Tell us your brief history and role TODAY! I have both Bachelors and Master’s degrees in Building from the University of the Witwatersrand. I founded PD Consulting in 2001 and other than being the CEO, I take responsibility

over elements of public sector reform, procurement, and infrastructure delivery. What does it mean to you that your colleagues have entrusted you with the position of CEO? In enhancing service delivery to people within the built environment, I am there to create a link between all the elements that make service delivery attainable and sustainable. What would you like to have achieved by the end of your term as CEO? Sustainability is very important to me – I want to see access to infrastructure funding being realised, an improvement in the quality of services we provide, and the education of beneficiaries to understand the building economics so that they can take care of the products we deliver. How would you describe your management and leadership styles? Mine is a laissez-faire approach in that I create a space where I am able to interact www.theafricanpro.com

with staff but also allow them to innovate and do what they do best and shine in the process. What makes you tick or keeps you awake at night with respect to your position as CEO? Providing the necessary strategic leadership – the challenge is always to be ahead of our competitors and we need to be always educating our clients of the integrated services we offer. How do you take part in mentoring others? We have a formalised mentorship structure within the organisation – we have exposed university graduates and interns to the work that we do and brought a number of them on board. We have taken a step further to help them join the professional councils and bodies in the built environment so that they can learn best practices and excel. We also have a bursary fund for postgraduate studies for those in our employment to encourage growth.



“In our efforts to take our young people out of drug and substance abuse, we sponsor a rural soccer tournament in one of the Sekhukhune villages to address social cohesion and develop team work skills with our youth. We believe that they are the future.� If you had to relate a couple of experiences, what would be the highs and what would be the lows of your working career? The highlight would the procurement policy that we have developed for the built environment, which was a proud moment. We have had to change direction to focus on the implementation support of the policies we have in place. The lows would be that with the 14 professionals in our employ, we are neither big enough nor small enough

to gain sympathy in the industry to get more business. What accolades have you and your organisation received recently? Nothing recently, but in 2003, we were part of the consortium that won an award at the Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI) awards working with the National Treasury. How has the firm fared in terms of achieving its business growth objectives? www.theafricanpro.com

We have managed to grow a staff complement of just three people when we started in 2001 to 14 professionals today. Through what means does the organisation ensure that the firm maintains high levels of ethics and integrity? The harsh reality is that we are in an industry that is known for unethical behaviour. We have created an environment where our staff members

are subscribers to ethical behaviour within the organisation and professional councils and bodies we belong to. You can’t have an ethical profession without ethical citizenry, so we need to go back to basics and lead by example in terms of ethics and integrity.

In our efforts to take our young people out of drug and substance abuse, we sponsor a rural soccer tournament in one of the Sekhukhune villages to address social cohesion and develop team work skills with our youth. We believe that they are the future.

environment. We are active participants in the professional associations and bodies to which we belong.

Is transformation considered a key objective at the firm, and if so, how is it attended to? We are a 100% black owned entity and transformation is an imperative. We are a Level 1 BBBEE contributor. We sponsor postgraduate studies at the organisation . Kindly highlight some recent contributions by the firm to the community and to the relevant professions your professionals are a part of.

How does the firm ensure that professionalism and good customer service are upheld? Professionalism is a moving target. At all times it becomes important to make our clientele know what we are doing so they can come back and give feedback on the service we provide.

When you not at work, what do you get up to, and where can people follow you online I enjoy spending time with family. I have bush activities now and again as I absolutely love spending time with nature.

Customer service for me is an ongoing process of quality assessment. We consistently write articles in thought leadership platforms in the built

We are also looking at a social media presence as well as a publication in the near future.


We offer: Planning • Infrastructure & Management • Delivery Management and Spatial • Regional Economic Development Industry and Enterprise • Development

GAUTENG 8 Pony Street, Silver Lakes Road, Tijger Valley Office Park, Pretoria East 0081 P.O. Box 1295 Menlyn Central, 0077 | Tel: (012) 460 9243 Fax (012) 460 9247 | manchidie@pdconsulting.co.za LIMPOPO 37A Voortrekker Street, Polokwane, 0699 | Tel: (015) 295 2494 Fax: 086 635 9722 | eric@pdconsulting.co.za

w w w. p d c o n s u l t i n g . c o . z a www.theafricanpro.com



LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD Tell us about your early life and your role Today I had originally wanted to be an Actuary, so I did a Bachelor of Sciences majoring in Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Witwatersrand (WITS) – coincidentally, in my first year I did Economics 100. I landed my first job as an Investment Analyst whilst pursuing and completing my Honours in Mathematics and Statistics on a parttime basis at WITS.



CONOMETRIX is South Africa’s most experienced leader in the independent economic consulting arena. With independent in-depth analysis of economic trends, accurate forecasts and direct access to the team of economists, the organization differs from a typical economic consultancy as they are totally independent of any official organisation or pressure group. Executive Director and Chief Economist on domestic and international affairs since 1985, Dr. Azar Jammine spoke to the South African Professional Services Academy about his personal and entrepreneurial journey at the consultancy. He received a lifetime achievement award at the gala dinner held in February 2018.

What was your training like? In my graduate economics studies at WITS, I was extremely privileged to be mentored by Professor Ludwick Lachmann who had been mentored by world renowned and famous economist Frederick van Hayek that is how my foundation years were grounded. What does the role of being Chief Economist at Econometrix mean to you? As an opinion former and the only independent voice in 1985 when I took over the reins, it has been very humbling to contribute to the basic understanding of economies to local and international audiences. What are you currently working on and what can we expect from you going forward? The flow of information to businesses has been increasing at an almost exponential rate with the proliferation of social media and the expansion of electronic media flow. Econometrix must provide a dependable single source of economic information, www.theafricanpro.com

thereby reducing time spent on numerous diverse inputs. One could become lost in this barrage of information, with an inability to discern underlying trends and what is important from that which is not. Econometrix analyses the economic and socio-political information flow more deeply than what is presented in the media, in an attempt to dig deeper into the underlying meaning of the information and promote thinking beyond convention. What would you say are the most critical resources for your successful leadership? How would people describe you as a Leader? My own brain as an Economist. I so wish I had more finance available to build up a bigger team of economists like the rest of the banks. My contribution to the country and the economy would be more meaningful. How has the company done in terms of business growth objectives? We were doing well as a company until the credit crunch that hit everyone in 2008 and unfortunately we had client cancellations that we had no control over as a small agency. As companies did whatever they could to reduce their cost structure. How do you participate in mentorship, if you do? I enjoy personal interaction with people during my talks and presentations. We have had quite a number of economists and much known voices in the country

that have come out of Econometrix over the years, I have thoroughly enjoyed having them here. How does the company contribute to the community? Econometrix provides economic research that focuses on macro-economic trend analysis from a South African and global perspective and in-depth economic forecasts. We also focus on the analysis of economic trends within the various sectors of the economy. In addition, we offer interactive economic consultations

with companies, presentations, as well as customised research reports. What makes you tick or keeps you awake at night? Keeping our employees at Econometrix employed keeps me awake at night! Things do get very difficult and stressful at times with our limited financial resources. What have been the highs and lows in your working career? The highs have been feeling useful to society; it has really been worth it when I look back. The lows have been not

having the financial muscle to achieve all the things we would have liked to and improving on our reach and influence, being a small organization competing against giant institutions. What awards has the company won? I personally do not need any awards, but the fact that quite a number of economists have been mentored through and use the Econometrix resource is a reward in itself – that is our contribution to society understanding economics - I regard that as a privilege to be giving back. MZUKONA MANTSHONTSHO

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NICO VAN DER MEULEN Santa, an artist in her own right, is behind most of the captivating paintings featured in the luxury residences designed by Nico van der Meulen Architects. To provide a complete design experience, Santa together with Rudolph started M Square Lifestyle Necessities, a décor and design showroom.



ico van der Meulen Architects, was established in 1984 by owner and founder Nico van der Meulen and his wife Santa. Nico grew up in a farm near the border between South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe and spent most of his childhood building bridges and structures using whatever material he could find on the farm. This was the first expression of Nico’s passion for architecture. He initially studied civil engineering, explored project management and finally registered as a professional architect. Under Nico’s guidance and with his two sons following in his footsteps and joining him, the firm has grown into a family legacy. Each member of the family has established their own reputations within the design industry for their talents in architecture, interior design and decor, painting as well as sculpting. Nico and Santa have three sons; Rudolph, Werner and Regardt. Rudolph and Werner are accomplished architects in the practice, whilst Rudolph’s wife, Phia, manages M Square Lifestyle Design, specialising in interior architecture and design.

Werner, the middle son is the lead designer and visionary, and his wife, Margot, also a qualified architect runs the administration and HR side of the business with Santa. The youngest son, Regardt studied Fine Arts at the University of Cape Town, majoring in sculpture, and together with his wife, Lisa, runs his own studio in Johannesburg. Together with a team of talented and enthusiastic architects, designers and experienced support staff, the family run business has grown into an internationally recognized quality brand. While creating unique homes for unique tastes, the firm strives to capture every client’s vision and express it through breathtaking bespoke designs. Nico was interviewed by SAProfessionals.com prior to him receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 Gala dinner. What inspired you to go into architecture and why did you start your own firm rather than working for an established organisation? Even as a kid I liked to build and design things. Unfortunately, I was given the wrong advice and told to pursue civil engineering which I found very boring. When I ventured into architecture, I had no formal training, it was only after a www.theafricanpro.com

few years that I eventually wrote the examinations in the early 90’s. The advantage of starting my own firm was that I was able to customize all the systems to work for me. I have always been a person who preferred to work for myself also rather than having a boss. Another advantage is that starting your own firm gives you the opportunity to define it rather than having to follow preestablished traditions. What would you say are the highlights for your firm? We worked on a project called the Glass House in Bedfordview which was completed in 2003 which in 2013 became one of the most viewed architectural projects on Google.It has been nominated for a number of awards. Three of our projects has been chosen by Archilovers as “Best of the Year”, an international award for 20 projects per year chosen out of a total of about 30 000 projects submitted. We have had the privilege of working in more than 30 countries and been nominated for a number of awards. We don’t enter our projects for awards because we do not believe in selfpromotion but we have been nominated for many by clients and others. What is your firm’s differentiator? The most important thing for us is functionality. It is all well and good for a building to look good but it is more important for it to work for the purpose for which it has been designed. Things like sun control and circulation are more important than aesthetics. We also make sure each project is unique, we do not want our work to have a recognizable style.

“The most important thing for us is functionality. It is all well and good for a building to look good but it is more important for it to work for the purpose for which it has been designed. Things like sun control are more important than aesthetics…” What is your leadership style? I believe I am fairly democratic. I listen and take advice. In this profession you are working with creatives and hence you need to let go and let them come up with their ideas. We employ fairly young people with new ideas. (Employ a teenager when they still know everything….) I like a variety of work and also empowering people to function within a good system that does not require my personal involvement in every decision. What would you like to see happen once you eventually leave the business? I will not leave the business to retire. Architects do not retire, they just fall off the scaffold at some point. But when I am gone, I believe my sons will carry on the business; architecture is what they do and they seem to be enjoying it. I expect they will carry on my legacy although they will probably find their own style and ideas.

How has your firm fared in terms of transformation? We have tried in terms of transformation but the profession doesn’t appear to have many black architects, and those that we employed moves on to greener pastures because companies doing BBBEE business can pay a premium for their talent. We have been more successful in the interior design space but generally the qualified black architectural labor pool is limited. This has not had an impact on us in terms of attracting new business seeing as we work mainly with private clients and don’t do government work. How has your firm contributed to the community? We do a lot of charity work including assisting disadvantaged schools and old age homes. KC ROTTOK

How important is ethics to your business? Ethics is very important. I have lost clients because I told them I was not prepared to do something that is unethical. In this regard, it is important to educate clients on why we design the way we do. I have instances of clients with crazy ideas which have made me walk away because I insist that I am not ready to put my name on the proverbial brown stuff. There are instances where clients want to build something that is different from what has been approved. We say no to such instances unless we know we can get it approved. We also believe in treating our staff properly. We have paid bonuses every year for the past 34 years and we have a culture of working decent hoursand holidays because family is important to us. How has your firm performed in terms of its business objectives? We have about 30 staff, 20 of whom are professional. That has been the staff component for the past 5 – 6 years. There are times when the business has struggled for instance the beginning of 2017, when we have to fall back on our reserves, but this was because of the state of the economy. Business confidence was very low and many people are in the process of shifting their investments outside of South Africa. It is quite sad.












igen was crowned Company of the Year in the Engineering class of the Built Environment category. A key highlight that impressed the judges was that the Bigen Group has robust governance structures and proper execution strategy of infrastructure development across the continent. The company profile is indicative of a broad range of capabilities and they continue to extend their African footprint becoming ambassadors for South African engineering excellence. Most impressive is their stated commitment to build a company on the basis of strong ethical values.












elekazi Cele from Hatch was crowned Professional of the Year in the Engineering class of the Built Environment category. A key highlight that impressed the judges was that she emerged from a very humble background and yet has managed to climb to the very top of a challenging sector within a highly technical iron ore industry. Her resilience is an inspiration to young professionals, particularly women and less privileged individuals within her field.












nthony Afordofe of Akweni was crowned Professional of the Year in the Construction class of the Built Environment category. The judges found him to be a sterling example for black professionals having built this company from humble beginnings to the name it is today. Sustaining such an entity for a decade in tough economic times while staying true to transformation with a predominantly female and black practice must not have been easy. The judges thought he is certainly worth recognising and hope to see many such entries in future.


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AFRICA BUSINESS GROUP In 2017 we continued our engagement with the Pan African Parliament in regards to showcasing renewable energy good practice in South Africa, but also are in discussions about organizing learning journeys for Parliamentarians to other African countries where good practice is developing in the areas of mini-grid development (Mali, Kenya, Rwanda) and off-grid home lighting systems (Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya).



frica Business Group was crowned the Management Consulting Firm of the Year 2017 at the SAPSA Awards. Here are a few highlights from their submission and the areas that won over the judges: In December 2016, we launched the Global African Agribusiness Accelerator Platform in Lusaka, Zambia under the patronage of H.E. Vice-President Inonge Wina at the AGCO Future Farm. The program aims to help young-ish agripreneurs across Africa to expand their business by 20% year on year through the provision of mentorship, learning journeys, distance learning and participation in workshops focused on a) Technology Adoption; b) Finance and Technical Resource Mobilization, and c) Trade and Partnership Development. In October, 2017 ABG signed an important strategic partnership with the Ghana headquartered African Agribusiness Incubation Network which will help ABG launch country programs of GAAAP in the more than 20 African nations where AAIN has a presence and see ABG become the Program Director of AAIN’s annual conference.

We have maintained our partnership with Lane Community College’s Northwest Energy and Water Education Institute to establish the African Water and Energy Skills Academy (incorporating the South African based PV Academy) to promote solar installation and renewable energy system development skills in a number of African countries – South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Rwanda and Ghana. We are currently in discussions with four academic institutions to extend our capacity to provide support in this area, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) in South Africa, the University of Zambia (UNZA) in Zambia, the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) in the United States and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland. ABG CEO, Michael Sudarkasa, became a doctoral candidate in the Management of Technology program of this later institution, a noted European engineering school, in September 2016 and was confirmed as a PhD student in October 2017. With the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, we have established an active Thematic Working Groups since to undergird the African Green Revolution www.theafricanpro.com

Forum, and have served as the Program Director for this continental forum since 2014. The TWGs are comprised of continental actors across the agriculture value chain and have been established to promote knowledge sharing, capacity development and resource identification and mobilization in the areas of: 1) Finance; 2) Inputs (seeds, chemicals and fertilizer); 3) Mechanization; 4) Markets and Trade; and 5) Women in Agriculture, and 6) Youth in Agriculture. ABG continues to be part of a group of 10 volunteer institutions brought together by the UNDP’s regional Africa bureau based African Facility for Inclusive Markets to establish a continent wide network of impact investment sector stakeholders, called Impact@Africa. In 2017 we continued our international internship program and hosted a young US college graduate who is interested in the economic development field, generally and in renewable energy specifically. High lights of his internship included supporting ABG at the 2017 AGRF in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, participating in a Renewable Energy Conference in Kigali, Rwanda and support ABG’s role as Program Director at the 3rd AFAAS Africa-Wide Agricultura Extension Week in Durban, South Africa. African Union Commission/ UN Food and Agriculture Organization - Over the past twenty-four months, we have undertaken three consecutive assignments for the African Union with financial support from the UN’s FAO, toward the development of a continental

Apex agribusiness body which is intended to be developed on the back of national and regional agribusiness apex bodies. This work has also led to the AUC/ FAO awarding us an additional contract to undertake an analysis of agriculture PPPs. Having served as Program Adviser of the 2nd AFAAS Africa-Wide Agricultural Extension Week (AEW) in 2015, we were pleased to again be requested to reprise that role in 2017 for the 3rd AEW in Durban, South Africa. We had not submitted a proposal for the assignment within the initial call for proposals period, but were asked to do so by the organization’s leadership based upon reflection of our work in 2015.

in Ibadan, Nigeria and CEO, Michael Sudarkasa was asked to present an overview of GAAAP, serve as a judge in the agri-pitch competition, give a presentation on intellectual property to the agripreneurs and facilitate a panel discussion on finance for agripreneurs.


AGRF – We were initially engaged to serve as the Program Director of the African Green Revolution Forum in 2014. We were told that the Forum, which attracted over 1000 delegates to the African Union Conference Centre, was one of the best to date at that point. We have supported the Forum every year since then, helping grow its numbers (2000 delegates in Nairobi, Kenya in 2016), and over 1000 in Abidjan (in alternating years there is supposed to be a smaller conference and during our tenure these have grown from an expected 350 in Zambia (700 came) in 2015 to an expected 600 in Abidjan (1000 came) in 2017. African Youth Agripreneurs Forum – in acknowledgment of our work with youth, the African Development Bank invited ABG’s CEO to participate in its inaugural AYAF Enable Youth program www.theafricanpro.com











Y was crowned Company of the Year in the Big 4 class of the Commerce, Law and Management category. A key highlight that impressed the judges was their transformation efforts that indicate that a majority of their Executive Committee consists of black people and their rating in Top Employer and Transfer Pricing awards.

Trophy received on behalf of the firm by Azim Omar (Partner) 36











ekela Xabiso was crowned Company of the Year in the Accounting class of the Commerce, Law and Management category. A key highlight that impressed the judges was their admirable growth trajectory that has seen them cruise past the R200 million turnover mark in just over a decade. They also liked their focus on transformation which is coupled with a strong female composition at all levels.

Trophy received on behalf of the firm by Lindani Dhlamini (CEO) www.theafricanpro.com


– C O N S U LT I N G P R O F E S S I O N A L O










apiwa Njikizana of W Consulting received the Consulting Professional of the Year Award. The judges had this to say: “Mr. Njikizana is a deserving recipient for a number of reasons including the fact that he is prepared to walk away from toxic opportunities, keeps everyone focused on a shared strategic objective and exhibits great charisma. He shows that he doesn’t rest on his laurels when he says that yesterday’s successes must be replaced by tomorrow’s challenges. That is a great attitude in leadership.”




Y E A R ,


hartered Accountant Ayanda Kanana was crowned the Young Professional of the Year in the Commerce, Law and Management category. The judges had this to say: “What sets Ayanda apart from other nominees is his diversity. His profile is indicative of an individual with varied talents which he has grounded in a professional qualification as a chartered accountant, deployed in the public sector and stretched into the world of farming which speaks to an interest in food security and sustainability. It is impressive that he managed to spearhead the creation of the #JoburgCA programme. It comes as no surprise that he received a SAICA award and his achievements and hard work make him a worthy recipient of this SAPSA Award” www.theafricanpro.com



F O R B E S )



ormer CEO of Alexander Forbes Prof. Edward Kieswetter received a Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in the field of Management. The judges had this to say: “Prof. Kieswetter has had a long glittering career in leadership and management. Most notable are his efforts in restoring the reputation of Alexander Forbes which he remarkably undertook without shedding jobs and risking livelihoods. That he has turned his endeavours to academia is heartwarming as it is indicative of a desire to educate future business leaders.”





ormer CEO of EY Philip Hourquebie received a Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in the field of Accounting, received on his behalf by colleague Viv Oates. The judges had this to say: “Philip has been nominated for this award by a former colleague who describes his leadership style as collaborative and motivational. His interview responses were well articulated and his desire to leave EY better than he found it is indicative of a professional who had a good understanding of his mandate. His loyalty and dedication to the firm over multiple decades in senior roles and as CEO in multiple jurisdictions has undoubtedly contributed to the strong name the organisation has built which is admirable given that other similar entities are facing reputation challenges from errors made during the period Philip was at the helm of EY.” Viv Oates (left)


Question the existing Imagine the impossible

Create the enduring wsp.com




r. Peter Day of Jones & Wagener received a Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in the field of Engineering. The judges had this to say: “Dr. Peter Day is a worthy recipient of this award having dedicated decades of his life to the engineering profession. It is noteworthy that he has taken the time to add to the body of knowledge in his field by completing a doctorate and has a service record within key professional bodies within the built environment.”





o-founder of GLH Architects Pierre Lombart received a lifetime achievement award for excellence in the field of architecture. The judges had this to say: “Pierre has had a long glittering career in the field of architecture. The interview responses were well articulated. That he internalised stress from the business shows that he was a caring man with respect to the livelihoods of his staff. Taking steps to turn his life around after a stroke and continue his contribution to architecture makes his journey a heart-warming story. Finally, his contribution to Southern African Art is noteworthy.”





xecutive Chairperson of Bigen Dr. Snowy Khoza received a Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in the field of Engineering. The judges had this to say: “Dr. Khoza has had a long glittering career that began with humble beginnings. She is a fitting example to previously disadvantaged professionals looking to build a legacy in their field of endeavour. The interview responses were well articulated and it is clear that beyond her professional achievements, she possesses leadership attributes that have contributed to the strong name Bigen has built in this sector.�

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Mathieu Du Plooy (WSP)

Nonku Ntshona (NNAQS)

Lynne Pretorius (ITS)

Louis De Waal (Bosch) www.theafricanpro.com


Elene’ Olwagen (Boogertman + Partners)

Tommy Strydom (Inyatsi)

Paul Badrick (Grant Thornton)

Riza Moosa (Norton Rose Fulbright) www.theafricanpro.com


Luyanda Mngadi (PWC)

Peter Goss (Sizwe Ntsaluba Gobodo)

Nexia SAB&T

SNA Civil & Structural Engineering www.theafricanpro.com

“How can you help us navigate this continent’s opportunities?” “With our broad experience and commitment to Africa.”

Our commitment to Africa’s growth remains as strong as ever. Deep insights into cross-border opportunities, together with our expertise in 20 African countries and presence in key markets internationally, still make us the right choice in realising your business’ potential. Let us be your partner for growth on this continent we call home. standardbank.com/CIB

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Why is building things that last, so last century? There’s a light bulb in a fire station just outside San Francisco that’s been burning bright for 117 years, over a million hours and counting. Which makes you think, if we can make things that last, why don’t we? And shouldn’t we? Especially in a time when the world needs it most. At Sanlam, we still believe in this way of thinking. That’s why, for the last 100 years, we’ve been hard at work building financial futures, lasting legacies and a world others will soon inherit.

For generations to come Sanlam is a Licensed Financial Services Provider.

The African Professional Issue 31  

African Pro Issue 31 features the winners from the 3rd SA Professional Services Awards

The African Professional Issue 31  

African Pro Issue 31 features the winners from the 3rd SA Professional Services Awards