Alumni News 2019

Meet our MBA alumnus achiever: Tryfina Kgokong

Alumnet

Meet our MBA alumnus achiever: Tryfina Kgokong

  • Aug 30 2019
  • Tags MBA, Alumnus, Achievers

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After working in the UAE for five years, Tryfina returned home to Johannesburg to make a difference in her own country and started her own business Triumphant Zoe (Pty) Ltd in early 2019 which offers Property Development, Quantity Surveying, Project Management and Coaching services. In 2018, she was nominated as the Women in Construction Rising Star.

Here she tells her story:

In 1985, I was born in Kenya to a Kenyan mother and South African father, the second in a family of four girls. Perhaps my parents had a feeling of how I would turn out, but I’m pretty sure they did not expect me to reach such great heights. Being both a Kenyan and South African, I have the rare opportunity of seeing the world from both cultural backgrounds and can relate to the Xenophobia that is experienced by none South Africans.

My family relocated to South Africa in 1992 where I stayed with my uncle in Dube, Soweto during my pre-primary school years. My father, Festus Tati Kgokong left behind his life of politics that had lead him into exile and focused on a career in Education where he lectured Economics, Mathematics and Physical Science at the Sekhukhune College of Education in Limpopo where I attended Jacob Marwale Primary School in Ga-Nchabeleng and Modipa Agricultural High School in Strydkraal.

“In hindsight I have realised that my drive in life has been fuelled by my humble beginnings.”

One of my fondest memories was when I was crowned Miss Jacob Marwale after participating in a beauty contest where my talent show part was being a host of the Felicia Mabuza-Shuttle talk show. I wowed the audience with my confidence and I wore a matching white two-piece skirt and jacket. Little did I know that public speaking would be one of my greatest passions.

Going to public schools was very tough and at times I would have to study under a tree and didn’t have access to libraries, sports facilities and all the benefits that private education offers. However, in hindsight I have realised that my drive in life has been fuelled by my humble beginnings and the dream of a better life not only for myself but my family as well as South Africa as a whole. Whilst in high school, I was determined to make it to university and had no option but to study higher grade subject which I had to teach myself through study guides as the teachers only taught subjects in standard grade. This was part of my learning process that prepared me for university life and self-study.

I found myself making a deal with God that if I could make it to the University of Cape Town (UCT), I would serve Him with my life. My first step on this journey to success was when I was accepted to study BSc in Construction at UCT in 2003 and went on to obtain and Honours degree in Quantity Surveying at UCT.

“This is one of my strengths – where I spot opportunities and move to action, which makes me a change catalyst.”

But glamour is not the name of the game when I am on site. With my usual aplomb, I stepped into the Construction industry in 2003 during my vacation training. I was in my hometown, Ledig in Rustenburg for the first year varsity break and knew I was required to find practical training as part of my first year studies. I walked onto a site in Sun City where Grinaker-LTA had an ongoing project and asked for work and I got it on the spot and started working immediately. This is one of my strengths – where I spot opportunities and move to action, which makes me a change catalyst.

I was very blessed to be offered my first full time job with an international firm called MLC Quantity surveyors at their Cape Town office upon my graduation and I registered as a Professional Quantity Surveyor with the South African Council of the Quantity Surveying Profession (SACQSP) within three and a half years in 2010  under the supervision and mentorship of Neil Du Pisani and Mike Stricker (Ex-Group CEO of MLC) where I had the opportunity to work on big projects from initiation to final account stage such as the Umhlanga Holiday Inn Express Hotel in Durban which she used to present to SACQSP amongst others.

When I lost my father in 2008, it was a reality check of how precious and delicate life is. I made a decision to live a purposeful and fulfilling life by making the best use of my God given talents and abilities. In memory of my father, I decided to enrol for an MBA in 2009 at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) which was one of the ways I would continue living out the legacy of education that my father instilled on me and my sisters. In fact, two of my other sisters, Bertha Kgokong and Rose Kgokong, also followed suit and completed their MBAs at GIBS and my other sister Diana Kgokong completed her Masters in Physiotherapy.

Upon completing her MBA in 2012, I received an opportunity to gain international experience in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. It was like a dream how the opportunity came about; I received a random phone call from a recruiter who found my CV online and placed me in a new company. This was one of my life lessons that there are certain opportunities that will find you when you are not even looking for them. However, one has to always be prepared for any opportunity that arises. As Zig Zaglar says, “Success is when preparation meets opportunity”. I also became a member of the international body of the Royal Institutes of Chattered Surveyors (RICS) in 2012.

“I was very glad that the USB MBA programme incorporated a very large portion to leadership development and also had taken emotional intelligence as an elective which enabled me to adapt to the different work environment.”

I experienced culture shock as expected for any individual who leaves their country to go live or work in a foreign land. Dubai is a place where 90% of the population are foreigners and this makes it a very multi-cultural environment. I learnt to work with people from different backgrounds and countries such as Germany, UK, India, Sri-Lanka, Turkey, Palestine, Greece, Malaysia, Philippines, and Pakistan to name a few. This required a lot of personal development, leadership and emotional intelligence. I was very glad that the USB MBA programme incorporated a very large portion to leadership development and also had taken emotional intelligence as an elective which enabled me to adapt to the different work environment.

Whilst in Dubai, I had the opportunity to join MLC International at their Dubai offices and was involved in projects such as the Kempinski Mall of Emirates refurbishment of the hotel, the Address boulevard based in downtown Dubai next to the Dubai mall and Burj Khalifa, Artists in residence project in Qatar, Waterfront City hotel in Beirut to name a few.

In fact, my most ambitious project was the Abu Dhabi International Airport which was valued at 10.8 Billion Dirhams (R42 Billion), a project that I undertook as a Contract Administrator with Arabtec Construction. I applied my depth of knowledge in the field of Construction and Property development not only in South Africa but also in Botswana, Zambia, Dubai, Qatar, Beirut and Abu Dhabi.

People might think that working in Dubai and Abu Dhabi is like a holiday. In fact, it was the hardest I’ve ever worked in my life. Whilst working on airport project, I used to leave my place in Dubai at 7am, drive for an hour to the project site in Abu Dhabi arriving at 8am and working until 6pm then drove back to Dubai by 7pm for six and five days a week alternating. I learnt to work under tremendous pressure and also as a woman in a male dominated industry in a Muslim country, I learnt to be very firm and stand my ground and found my voice and spoke up when it was necessary to.

After working in the UAE for five years, I returned home to Johannesburg to make a difference in my own country and started my own business, Triumphant Zoe (Pty) Ltd in early 2019 which offers Property Development, Quantity Surveying, Project Management and Coaching services. I am also a certified Life Coach, Business Coach and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Practitioner.

In 2018, I was nominated as the Women in Construction Rising Star. And earlier in 2019, I was invited to both University of Cape Town and WITS, as key guest speaker, where I delivered a scintillating and inspiring speech at the Top Achievers Award Ceremonies for the Construction Economics and Management Departments.

Take the fina of the end of her name and you get Try. Here’s a girl who will keep on trying.

Tryfina can be contacted through her website www.triumphantzoe.com or 064274986

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Hardi Swart named FPIs Financial Planner of the Year

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Hardi Swart named FPIs Financial Planner of the Year

  • Aug 30 2019
  • Tags Financial Planning, FPI, Awards

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Hardi Swart, a Certified Financial Planner and the managing director of Autus Private Clients, has been named the Financial Planning Institute (FPI) of South-Africa’s Financial Planner of the Year for 2019.

Swart, accompanied by his wife Anemike (also a USB alumnus), received this prestigious award at a gala dinner at the FPI Convention in Sandton. The award is the highest accolade bestowed on financial planners in South Africa.

The rigorous selection process requires selected candidates to submit a detailed case study; to open their practices for inspection; and to demonstrate their expertise in a panel interview on topics from legislation and industry trends to technical information and the ability to prioritise client’s needs.

He is a farm boy from the small town Naboomspruit, in Limpopo, whose passion for financial planning started many years ago when his father was killed in a tragic car accident. His family was not prepared for the tough times that followed and when they eventually sold their farm and businesses they were poorly advised and ended up loosing a large portion of their family wealth.

This was a tough but extremely valuable lesson to learn at a young age, however this was also the event that triggered his interest in multi-generation family wealth planning and why he is passionate about helping families avoid financial pitfalls.

Hardi completed his Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Planning from the University of Stellenbosch Business School. He also obtained his BCom degree at the University of Stellenbosch and completed an international diploma in business consulting through collaboration with Syracuse University New-York.

Hardi has been part of the Autus team for more than 10 years. “I am privileged to be part of a great team. Autus is a business that recognises the value of family. As a family-owned business with a desire to pass the business onto the next generation, we have a long-term investment horizon. We see ourselves as stewards of a better future.”

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USB’s MBA has equipped me with a powerful toolbox – Alumnus Dr Muhammed Khan

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USB’s MBA has equipped me with a powerful toolbox – Alumnus Dr Muhammed Khan

  • JUL 02 2019
  • Tags MBA, journey, doctor, skills, alumnus

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By MBA alumnus Dr Muhammed Ridhwan Khan

If you asked me what I wanted to do when I was a child, the answer would have varied between a doctor, a lawyer, a banker or a businessperson. I have always had this sort of longstanding internal battle between wanting to either help humanity practically or develop a large business. My desire to help humanity lead me to become a medical doctor who primarily serves the public sector.

After working as a doctor for many years, I still attain a great feeling of joy from solving a stranger’s complex problem. However, a few years ago, I started yearning for more complicated daily tasks and the opportunity to learn again. Therefore, I started exploring other industries. I co-founded a digital recruitment agency, I started to trade on the JSE, and I joined a medical union.

“USB’s MBA appealed to me as they seemed to focus more on leadership and personal transformation, rather than just making money.”

My exposure to these different industries taught me that I had attained good technical skills for healthcare, but that I lacked certain managerial and fundamental business knowledge. I started attending short courses and lectures at various business schools. The more I learnt, the more I realised I never knew. I then considered applying for an MBA and started looking for the best offering.

Potentially pursuing an unconventional medical career path was scary. I never knew where it would take me and I constantly wondered if it would be worthwhile in the end. I also pondered whether completing an MBA would cause me to digress from helping others, and become financially focussed. USB’s MBA appealed to me as they seemed to focus more on leadership and personal transformation, rather than just making money.

“Completing this MBA has equipped me with a powerful toolbox.”

My personal mastery journey has taught me how to better understand myself, and why I may feel or react in certain ways. I have since realised that my younger-self espoused to be a certain type of a professional as I deeply valued certain characteristics which they represented. Whatever I do, it needs to help humanity (doctor), I expect myself and others to conduct their affairs in a just manner (lawyer), I enjoy interpreting and manipulating numerical data (banker), and I love building organisations (businessman).

This deeper self-understanding has allowed me amalgamate my passions and develop a path where I could satisfy multiple of my younger self’s espoused values. I realised that exploring the corporate health environment could grant me this opportunity. Therefore, I selected a health-costing utilisation study as my thesis. This study combines outcomes-based healthcare and corporate finance principles to construct comparative utilisation scores. These comparative utilisations scores, simplify health funding decisions.

Completing this MBA has equipped me with a powerful toolbox. It has taught me how to identify, understand, and then manipulate situations to help me attain my goals. I have since consulted for a health management company, and been shortlisted as a trustee of a prominent board. However, my learning has not yet finished, I still have to master my toolbox, and gain much-valued experience.

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Feature your business or enterprise on our web

Alumnet

Feature your business or enterprise on our web

  • JUL 02 2019
  • Tags Business, Alumni, Network

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As an alumnus of the USB powerful global network, you have access to a range of resources and benefits to grow professional networking opportunities and business endeavours.  Alumni are now called to submit their own businesses, enterprises and services to be featured on the USB web.

The list of categories below is a guide to the categories of business run by alumni that will be featured on the Alumni Resources web page:

Energy, Construction, Manufacturing, Food and Beverage, Consumer Goods, Social Impact, Education,

Healthcare, Finance, Technology and Online, Tourism, Arts, Communication, Sustainable Environment, Services.

If you are interested in featuring your business, please submit the following:

  • JPEG photo of your logo;
  • Name of the business;
  • Your website address and contact details; and
  • A description of your business in 30 words.

Email address to submit business to: AlumniBusiness@usb.ac.za

Here’s a link to some of the businesses on the web: https://www.usb.ac.za/usb-alumni/alumni-businesses/

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Development Finance alumnus selected as 2019 Mandela Washington Fellow

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Development Finance alumnus selected as 2019 Mandela Washington Fellow

  • JUL 02 2019
  • Tags Development Finance, Alumnus, Achievers

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Teopolina Namandje, who holds an MPhil in Development Finance (MDevF) from USB, was selected as a 2019 Mandela Washington Fellow as part of a 700 group selected from all African countries. They will do leadership courses at American universities in three areas: Public Management, Civic and Entrepreneurship.  Teopolina has been placed under the Public Management Track and will be going to Texas Technology University. She departed earlier in June for a six-week programme.

“I will connect, engage and network with other people across Africa as well as experts in America.”

“Within the public management track, I will be learning about public management, including economic development policies, financial management in public institutions, planning, public policies as well as public sector transparency and governance,” she says.

“This training will help me develop optimum public sector leadership and governance skills through a hybrid of innovative and complementary approaches.”

“Most importantly, I will connect, engage and network with other fellows people across Africa as well as experts in America. Considering the fact that Africa need to develop, it is vital to ensure that there are skilled young people available who are well-trained and equipped with all the relevant leadership skills set in terms of project management and monitoring, as well as the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Therefore, this training will help me develop optimum public sector leadership and governance skills through a hybrid of innovative and complementary approaches,” she says.

She advocates for youth empowerment and participation in development projects. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she looks forward to applying her new knowledge to practical use in her career, and to continue contributing to development and implementation of policies for a sustainable future in Namibia.

More about the 2019 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

The 2019 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship programme of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) by the U.S. Government to serve as a hub to encourage transformational learning and enhance leadership skills through training programmes. In addition, it supports the role of African youth in strengthening democratic institutions and spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security in Africa. The programme seeks participants from all Sub- Saharan countries whereby candidates apply and go through intensive application and interview processes.

More about Teopolina

She works as a senior transport economist with the Roads Authority of Namibia.  She is also a full member of the Young Professionals Programme of the International Road Federation (IFR) and a valuable and hardworking committee member of the USB Namibia Alumni Chapter. As alumnus, Teopolina contributes to ensure regular continuous learning events with high-level industry speakers that take place in Windhoek, Namibia.

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USB alumnus petition Parliament for paternity leave and for elder care

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USB alumnus petition Parliament for paternity leave and for elder care

  • MAY 02 2019
  • Tags Alumnus, Paternity Leave, Elder Care

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Parents who don’t qualify for maternity leave are now entitled to 10 days’ paid parental leave. That’s after President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the Labour Law.

On 3 July 2014, Hendri Terblanche started his campaign when he submitted a petition to the National Council of Provinces for paternity leave for birth and adoption. “Dads need time to bond with their new babies. Even if your baby is adopted. Love is love,” he said. In November the National Assembly passed the Labour Laws Amendment Bill.

The Labour Laws Amendment Act is a progressive act that will strengthen families as it provides for parental leave, adoption leave and commissioning parental leave. The act is gender neutral and will contribute to a more equitable and harmonious society.”

ACDP MP Cheryllyn Dudley said the most successful companies globally are those that have policies supporting families. “Companies benefit because they are able to retain staff and become sought after by job seekers.” Dudley said everyone needed to be on board for the bill to work.

“This will also see the dynamics of the family change. In the past, mothers, soon after giving birth, were left to care for their babies, but now fathers will be able to get more involved, enabling them to create a better bond and relationship with their children.” She added that the bill also provided for the payment for parental leave to be claimed through the Unemployment Insurance Fund.

 

According to Section 27 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (1997), an employee is entitled to family responsibility leave when his or her child is born. A father is entitled to only three days family responsibility leave when his child is born.

 

If he chooses to take his three days paid leave to spend with his newborn child and support his wife/partner, he in effect cancels any further paid family responsibility leave for that leave cycle, said Terblanche in his petition to Parliament.

 

It was his own personal loss and experience that moved Paarl resident Hendri Terblanche to petition Parliament to amend labour laws to allow for elder-care leave.

He lost his mother-in-law to cancer last year and shortly thereafter, his godmother. His father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and his mother, Susan, with multiple sclerosis.

“Our parents have dedicated their whole lives to take care of us to the best of their abilities and now it is our time to take care of them,” Terblanche told Parlybeat.

He also paved the way for the historic paternal leave amendment in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act after he petitioned Parliament.

Parliament’s select committee on petitions and executive undertakings recently adopted and tabled its report in which the committee found that allowing for elder-care leave would be in line with provisions in the Bill of Rights.

The committee also found that there was strong legal imperative, in the South African context, “to give effect to the proposed amendments, not only because of provisions in the Bill of Rights or the existing UIF system, but also because South Africa needs to build on the provisions of the existing legislation such as the definition of the term ‘family’ in the South African Social Security Agency Act”.

The committee referred the matter to the portfolio committee on labour for deliberations. Terblanche welcomed this move.

In his petition, Terblanche referred to Statistics South Africa’s population estimates in 2017 showing an increase in life expectancy at birth from 54.9 years in 2002 to 64 years in 2017. This then means that as people get older, the prevalence of chronic diseases like arthritis and diabetes also increase. He argued more time needs to be devoted to take better care of our elders, but that existing legislation and policies such as family responsibility leave was developed around the role of the parent as caregiver and not the recipient of care-giving.

Terblanche wants Parliament to amend the Basic Conditions of Employment Act to include “parent, adoptive parent or grandparent” in the existing section of the act or to alternatively introduce a new leave called “elder care leave” to enable employees to care for an aging parent who is sick or terminally ill.

Although the adoption and referral of the report on his petition does not yet signal a victory, the move at the very least confirms the value of petitions in a people’s Parliament.

Petitions are one of the ways in which the public can get involved in the work of Parliament. Said Terblanche: “Everyone has the right to present petitions. Petitions as enshrined in the Constitution are therefore the perfect vehicle for ordinary South Africans to make their voices heard. My ‘ten days paternity leave with birth or adoption’ petition is the perfect example.”

Hendri speaks to eNCA. Watch the video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caTeeX2lLyc

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Using my MBA to get to #SurplusWater2025

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Using my MBA to get to #SurplusWater2025

  • MAY 02 2019
  • Tags Alumnus, MBA, Water-wise, Responsible leadership

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By Gerrie Brink

I embarked on the MBA journey at the University of Stellenbosch Business School on the Modular programme in 2014. As a Mining Engineering Lead, responsible for the long-term planning of one of the largest diversified mining groups, I had a solid job with bright future within the company. However, with the quality input from the MBA programme I decided to take the risk and halfway through the MBA programme started my own business. It was not because of unhappiness, working for an employer or the dream of “freedom”, but to try and make our beautiful country a better place – by focusing on water.

The USB MBA was an amazing journey for me – not just because of the tools that it provided for what I wanted to do, but also the people I met.

The USB MBA was an amazing journey for me – not just because of the tools that it provided for what I wanted to do, but also the people I met. These people, who started as fellow students, became friends and will forever be close to my heart. The MBA for me, was a very well-structured toolbox. A toolbox that one can carry with you for the rest of your life – filled with tools for all possible situations. Tools that will not only provide confidence in the business world, but more even, develop character, help build relationships and most of all, tools to change the world, and save our planet!

The business

I started AQUAffection with a bold goal, but small, humble applications. We identified the need to manage and conserve water in South Africa, by providing high quality products and services related to water conservation, with the bold goal of getting everyone to do their part to ensure surplus water in South Africa by 2025.

Today, just over three years later, we have made some good strides, but still a long way from the goal, so I realised that we can only achieve this by working together – everybody. There are so many great water initiatives out there, and enormous work done in water conservation that I decided to try and pull everyone’s efforts together under one banner – #SurplusWater2025.

With a growing global population (currently netting around 120 000 people per day — this is births less deaths), the demand for potable water is increasing daily. In 1975, water scarcity was limited to a small number of countries in North Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. By 2000, water scarcity had spread to many large and densely populated countries in Asia.

In South Africa, we have moved from being a water-stressed country to a water-scarce country, and we are currently the 30th driest country in the world. Predictions are that by 2025, South Africa will form part of the ‘extreme scarcity’ category.

With over 100 commercial property sites currently being monitored and managed by AQUAffection, and used as case studies, some of which have been running for more than two years, the results have already proven to be remarkable with most sites seeing a water savings of at least half of the original consumption. This has been achieved by creating solutions around efficiency, fixing leaks timeously, and reducing demand. This not only saves our precious potable water, but it is a massive saving on costs that can essentially be transferred to tenants, making these properties more sustainable in the long run.

To date we have saved more than 300 million litres of water just by improving efficiencies, without costing the end user a lot of capital or sacrificing convenience – just helping them use what they have so much better! What makes this more significant is that it was achieved from as little as 40 commercial buildings, with the number currently growing by a million litres per day. This number becomes even higher with more buildings being added continuously.

I used these case studies for my final research dissertation, and the reality is that we don’t have to keep trying to re-invent the wheel. We need to turn our approach to water use upside down, and focus on demand first, as opposed to supply. It is possible to significantly reduce the demand, creating a realistic, cost effective and sustainable solution to a growing global water crisis. We should stop looking for alternative sources to supply an inefficient demand network. First lower the demand, then only look at alternative source to supply a leaner demand. Obviously the research and work going into alternative supply sources should not stop, but a lower demand has a direct impact on the supply planning, effectively meaning smaller pipe sizes and lower supply pressure systems (high pressures increase the number of pipe bursts, as well as the effect of leaks in a deteriorating supply network). Lower demand will further benefit things such as our wastewater treatment plants that are already so overloaded that their function cannot be sustained, since less waste is generated and these facilities can then work effectively.

The whole objective of #SurplusWater2025 is to get as many companies and people involved as possible, because our water security is everyone’s responsibility — and therefore everyone should actually be involved. It is not a marketing or money making tool and no individual companies, through this initiative that stand to benefit above another — it’s not an opportunity to get more business, but about what we can achieve with a collective effort. Also, this initiative operates as a totally separate entity and the idea is that companies will want to be a part of it because the goal is more important than any individual company.

So, how does this work?

You may be wondering how it can be possible to turn this around to have surplus water by 2025? Well, it’s really as simple as steps 1, 2, 3.

  • Step 1: Know your history

By analysing historical water consumption, the historical average daily consumption is calculated. The demand of any facility cannot be fully understood by only taking meter readings on a monthly basis, since this only provides a snapshot of total demand. This provides a baseline from where the reduction in demand will be measured.

  • Step 2: Continuously monitor consumption

By installing an automatic meter reading (AMR) device on your main incoming line, the demand profile becomes much clearer, highlighting leaks and night-flows.

  • Step 3: Reduce the demand

The focus moves to improving efficiency. This is done by optimising irrigation, rectifying leaks, analysing cooling systems, and then auditing sites for other leaks and inefficiencies. Replace tap aerators and toilet flushing mechanisms with patented toilet outlet valves to significantly reduce consumption further. Research shows that toilets consume more than 50% of water in any commercial building, with all other aspects influencing demand, in check.

Some of the products and applications we apply to improve efficiency are:

  • Optimise irrigation for specific landscape
  • Leak detection and monitoring
  • Site-wide audit on all water endpoints — showers, taps, geysers, water features, cooling towers
  • Very low cost, patented toilet flushing mechanism
  • Tap aerators that can reduce tap demand by up to 97%.
  • SETA-accredited training on efficiency and behavioural changes, because creating awareness and changing people’s behaviour and attitude towards water is such a critical element.

How to get involved

  • Register your company or business on surpluswater2025.com and join a community of consumers and suppliers to make a difference, whether you supply monitoring equipment, efficiency devices or services.
  • Reduction in demand from the collective efforts will be shown on multiple platforms to track progress towards #SurplusWater2025.
  • The #SurplusWater2025 trademarks are available to use on building, communications and marketing.

Water scarcity in South Africa is not a temporary problem. One good rainy season only lightens the load on the system for a short time but cannot permanently supply an ever-increasing demand. Water cannot be created. Therefore, the volume of water we have, is the volume of water we will always have, and we subsequently need to look after it.

Alternative sources will only be viable as a supplement to an efficiently run water-demand network.

In short, lower consumption generates less waste, resulting in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) not running over their capacity. Government and municipalities save on reticulation cost (that can be used to maintain current infrastructure) and wastewater treatment. The end user saves money. The environment then recovers.

This is the foundation and whole objective of #SurplusWater2025 initiative: to get as many companies and people involved as possible from the private sector, institutions, and government, because our water security is everyone’s responsibility — and therefore everyone should be contributing to a collective success, with proper monitoring and efficiency as the foundation.

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Greetings from the Alumni Association: May 2019

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Greetings from the Alumni Association: May 2019

  • MAY 02 2019
  • Tags Alumni, Welcome, Letter, Eastern Cape, Chairperson

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Dear USB Alumni

Since our last AGM, which took place in November last year, the Eastern Cape Chapter has been rejuvenated with the addition of two new members on the Committee. We welcomed Anelet James (thank you Cape Town!) and Graeme Jonker. We have also elected a new chairperson when Greg Clack stepped down after many years of great service. Greg has not left us completely and we will still have his assistance and advice as an ex-official member of the Committee.

As the new chairperson, I had the great pleasure of attending the recent USB Alumni Association EXCO at the USB. A few observations of this meeting:

  • On one of the slide presentations I came across this statement which I read quite a few times:

The Restitution Statement.

Stellenbosch University (SU) acknowledges its inextricable connection with generations past, present and future. In the 2018 centenary year, SU celebrates its many successes and achievements. SU simultaneously acknowledges its contribution towards the injustices of the past. For this we have deep regret. We apologize unreservedly to the communities and individuals who were excluded from the historical privileges that SU enjoyed and we honour the critical Matie voices of the time who would not be silenced. In responsibility towards the present and future generations, SU commits itself unconditionally to the ideal of an inclusive world-class university in and for Africa

  • The meeting was attended by, amongst others, the heads of USB, USB-ED and Prof Prieur du Plessis (President USB Alumni Association). No doubt these gentlemen have pressing matters and extensive issues to attend to.
  • Video links to other Chapter Chairpersons across Africa and Europe despite ICT and load-shedding challenges.
  • A warm congratulations to the new elected Chairperson of the USB Alumni Association: Ms Elyssa Spreeth: Mpumalanga Chapter!

It is clear, from the above, that matters affecting alumni are given the highest focus and priority at USB. Very senior stakeholders including the alumni staff patiently listened to our reports and provided advice and encouragement to all of us.

USB makes every effort to draw in as many of our voices and using whichever means necessary to collet our views and to provide whatever support they are able to.

On a more personal note; the Stellenbosch University Restitution Statement used in our communications is profound. By embracing its values, USB will continue to play its part in rebuilding our society, historically wracked by division and pain, with sensitivity and inclusiveness.

The overall USB health check provided by the Prof Naudé and Dr Chris van der Hoven confirms that USB continues to chalk up national and international acclaim as a leading provider of Executive Education. We are the products of USB and that should reflect very nicely on all of us!

Simon Meyer
Chairperson: USB Alumni Association Eastern Cape

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Meet the USB facilitators for the upcoming SU-USB Homecoming

AlumNet

Meet the USB facilitators for the upcoming SU-USB Homecoming

 

  • FEB 27 2019
  • Tags CReflections, Coaching, Alumnus, Journey

Dr Nthabiseng Moleko and D’Niel Strauss, both successful USB alumni, will serve as facilitators for Stellenbosch University’s #MatiesHomecoming Business Talk with well-known South African businessperson Bonang Mohale at the Century City Conference Centre on 1 March 2019. Moleko lectures Statistics and Economics and she is also a Commissioner on the Commission for Gender Equality. Strauss is one of the youngest businesspersons in the private equity and venture capital industries.

 

Meet Dr Nthabiseng Moleko

When Dr Nthabiseng Moleko is not lecturing Statistics and Economics as part of the MBA programme at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB), she’s advocating for women’s rights as a commissioner on the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE).

Moleko’s passion for the economic development of women and youth, in particular those living in rural areas, is one of the reasons that she started studying and later lecturing at USB and quit her job in asset management at Futuregrowth in 2006.

“I realised while studying at UCT that our current economic development model has gaps. We did not discuss nor get taught development finance nor were we taught development economics, even models and theories that would be most applicable and suitable in an African or emerging market context,” explains Moleko.

Today Moleko lectures MBA students at USB’s Tygervalley campus, the first black South African full-time faculty member to lecture such a programme. In April 2019, she will receive a PhD in Development Finance from USB. Her PhD research focused on pension funds, savings, capital market development, the Public Investment Corporation and growth, but most importantly on understanding how financial development in Africa can be better used to aid economic development.

“Many of the MBA students I teach today have never been taught Statistics (or even Economics) by a black South African, and this is the kind of change that we need at business schools and particularly at Stellenbosch University.”

“It’s important to showcase black excellence and change the narrative about black excellence, but also to talk about how black individuals have overcome challenges and to share information amongst each other about how these individuals got to where they are now.”

For this reason, says Moleko, she is excited to be facilitating the talk with Mohale, the CEO of Business Leadership South Africa who has headed up some major multinational as well as South African companies.

“Discussion platforms like this are very useful for individuals and is important for linking people to others like them who have similar challenges or who you can bounce ideas off.”

In October 2017 she was appointed Commissioner and serves in various sub-committees within the institution, allowing Moleko to focus on women’s empowerment in South Africa and influence and direct the strategic direction of the CGE in this regard.

“I’ve been there just over a year and we have a lot of work to do still. South Africa needs an institution like this. Gender based violence is at crisis levels, and this institution is adequately positioned with sufficient powers to ensure that the issues of incidence are reduced and improved.”

“I am passionate about the economic empowerment of women and the youth, especially those living in rural areas, because there is not enough of an emphasis on the informal economy and including those individuals excluded from our formal economy. The understanding I have of financial markets and financial development certainly puts me in good stead to work for the inclusion of the marginalised into the mainstream economy through the CGE as well,” says Moleko.

For Moleko, improving the financial and economic literacy of women, especially underprivileged women, goes far beyond increasing an individual’s earning ability.

“It is clear that there are linkages between violence against women and the economic subjugation and lack of economic empowerment of women. Women who are better off economically are usually able to more easily extract themselves from abusive situations. I am not saying that it is only the poor who are abused and victimised, because that is not true. I am however saying that economic empowerment can be very powerful for women, because it enables them greater power to removed themselves from violent, abusive and erosive situations where their bodies are simply used against their will

At the end of the day, says Moleko, she really just wants to be an effective change agent for all South Africans.

Asked about what #MatiesHomecoming and being a Matie means to her, Moleko says: “It means that there is hope for Africa and for South Africa. Stellenbosch University was the grandchild of apartheid and it is becoming the grandchild of the change that South Africa needs to see now. It has the institutional memory and the capacity from a research, teaching, innovation and social impact perspective to change South Africa. Stellenbosch University is not all hunky dory, it is not completely transformed, but it is a repository of financial and human resources that if pointed in the right direction will help rebuild South Africa.”

You can follow Nthabiseng at @AfrinomicsNtha on Twitter.

 

 

Meet D’Niel Strauss

He may be one of the youngest businesspersons in the private equity and venture capital industries, but Daniel Strauss did not get there by chance. He did it with hard work, facing many obstacles along the way and making a couple of 360s on his career path too.

“I grew up in a small town called Keimoes and when you are from a small town you either become a lawyer, a doctor, an accountant or an engineer. I chose to study engineering because I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I mean, I didn’t even have a mathematics teacher in matric.  We would work through the exercises in our textbook and teach ourselves,” explains Strauss of his decision to study Industrial Engineering at Stellenbosch University.

“To be honest, I walked to my residence after class many Friday afternoons and I’d be crying, that’s how much I hated Engineering. It was only in my third year, once we started focusing on industrial engineering that I really started enjoying the programme.”

In 2006, after completing his degree, Strauss moved back to Keimoes. He had made his father a promise – he would at least consider trying his hand at farming, which was his father’s occupation.

“I went home and became a farmer’s assistant.”

Not only did he become bored, says Strauss, he soon realised that he wasn’t any good at farming anyway. So he started a business in the Northern Cape, all the time continuing to work as a farming assistant to his father. After a year he decided to move back to Cape Town.

“I was eager to learn about big business, so I decided to apply for an MBA.”

However, his MBA application was rejected – he just did not have the experience of many of his counterparts who had been accepted for the programme. Undeterred, Strauss decided to visit the MBA programme coordinator to argue his case. He offered to pay for the entry exams and took them, even though he was told that he would not be accepted due to a lack of experience. When the results came in, he was in the top 1% for sections of the test results.

“So I kept harassing the programme coordinator until he let me enroll.”

Ironically, when he finished his MBA in 2008, the world economy was in a deep recession. It was described by the International Monetary Fund as the most severe recession since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

“In the midst of this, I had gotten a job as a project manager for a property developer. It’s the most depressing industry to be in during a recession,” he says.

Exacerbating the economic downturn in South Africa was the Eskom electricity crisis. Property developers were unable to start building projects, as Eskom was just unable to cope with more households being added to the grid.

“I decided to resign at the end of the probation period,” says Strauss of this job.

Next he took on a position as a management consultant, working with corporates like Exxaro, MTN and Harmony Gold. It was during this time that Strauss started hearing about the field of venture capital and private equity and decided to look for a job in the field.

“I applied to 26 companies and I went to numerous interviews and I couldn’t find a job. It took me about six months to a year, but I finally found a job as a private equity analyst.”

“I also had a wonderful mentor during that time, a Chinese Malaysian businessman who took me under his wing and showed me how the world of investments worked.”

In 2012, he took the leap and started his first venture capital business, which was later restructured to form part of Stocks & Strauss (Pty) Ltd, an investment holding company that he currently runs with businessperson Wayne Stocks. The initial venture capital business was eventually sold in 2016.

“Up to that point, almost everything I tried did not amount to much. Looking back now, I learnt one important thing – you have to have perseverance.”

Today, Strauss volunteers his time to help others in the business world develop their talent by teaching Corporate Finance and Strategic Management within the MBA programme at USB as a guest lecturer.

“I am proud of USB and of the quality of graduates that qualify from this institution. It’s why I donate my time to teaching students who are completing their MBA. I also want to teach them the things I did not know when I was starting out,” he says.

“It might sound cliched, but I want them to know that everything is possible. If you have the knowledge and mindsets that the Johann Rupert, Patrice Motsepe and Warren Buffets of the world have, you will also realise just how much is possible.”

In his discussion with Mohale, he says, he would like to hear “what is next for him in his career as a business leader in South Africa”.

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Reflections on my journey into the coaching profession

AlumNet

Reflections on my journey into the coaching profession

  • FEB 27 2019
  • Tags CReflections, Coaching, Alumnus, Journey

The Friday evening of the 2010 FIFA World Cup opening (at about 22:00 or so), just when I thought I had my career direction planned and well-defined, a career midlife crisis struck me. I was in the middle of the first year of the MPhil in Futures Studies at USB, enjoying every bit of what I was learning. My work was in the business intelligence (BI) space, and the studies would take it quantum leaps further.

Early that evening I began work on an academic paper on midlife, personality types, emotional intelligence and wisdom, to be presented at a management conference in Montréal later that year. Part of the paper included some questions to ask oneself when in midlife. When I combined these questions with some of the Futures Studies techniques, such as scenario planning, I got the fright of my life when I could not answer questions such as ‘what kind of work do I want to be busy with the day before I retire?’ Over the weekend I continued writing the paper, all the while struggling with the same questions that I was asking my readers. Late Sunday evening I had my answer. My future was in the coaching industry, not in BI or Futures Studies.

The context behind this intended career change always causes eyebrows to lift. My whole corporate career was in the IT industry after doing a BSc Information Systems; first as programmer, then going into business analysis, project management, business processes and quality, project office management and later into the BI world and management consulting. How does one make a [real quantum] leap from IT into coaching people? My continuous involvement with change management projects and employee participation forums played a large role in the transition.

“I walked out of this programme not only with a cum laude, but with time spent on self-development that is rare in this world.”

It also helped that I completed an MBA in Strategic Marketing Management and Change Facilitation at Oxford-Brookes University in the UK. My research topic exposed me to Jungian work through the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), an excellent tool to use during transitions and change facilitation with people. As a side-line, this also helped to mature and grow my own personality far enough to get me married to Suzette, a few months before completing the MBA.

Eventually I did a short workshop in coaching at USB-ED in 2008. I implemented the basic coaching skills I learned in the workplace, later even coached a group of promising leaders as part of an internal leadership development programme. The MBA helped tremendously with my success with BI projects. I understood the business language of my executive-level customers, the complexity and the trends they dealt with on a regular basis. My contribution to solving their problems was with the development and maintenance of several business dashboards and balanced score cards.

“The time with Dr Salomé van Coller-Peter and team was life changing for me. I had an irrevocably new perspective on people and myself.”

But back to my midlife crisis and coaching. After that weekend I wrote to Prof André Roux, cancelling my studies (apologies, Prof Roux!). I spent the next six months with extensive reading into coaching and at the end of 2010 I was accepted into the MPhil Management Coaching. The time with Dr Salomé van Coller-Peter and team was life changing for me. I had an irrevocably new perspective on people and myself. I walked out of this programme not only with a cum laude, but with time spent on self-development that is rare in this world.

In early 2015 I left the corporate IT/BI world and I am now going into my fifth year as owner of ThroughTheLine Coaching & Consulting. I practice as an Executive Coach, with a special interest in transition coaching. I have been involved in several large-scale corporate coaching programmes, including a few programmes training managers-as-coach. My consulting services still entail some dashboards for small-medium sized companies, but expanded into strategy facilitation, research and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) projects.

I am actively involved in the South African coaching industry as Chairperson of the Research Committee at Coaches and Mentors of South Africa (COMENSA), recognised by SAQA as a self-regulated professional body. I am also a COMENSA Senior Practitioner, a SAQA-recognised professional designation. I decided to play an active role in the SA coaching industry because of my strong commitment to coaching, and therefore I wanted to make sure I am not only taking part in the industry, but also that I am able to influence the development of the industry’s level of professionalism. It is my chosen career and I want to see the credibility of coaching increase continuously.

To expand that notion further, I approached a coaching colleague close to the end of 2018, Megan Hudson. We co-founded SA Coaching News, South Africa’s only coaching magazine. We published the free first edition in mid-Jan 2019. It is a subscription-based online magazine, available on the first of every month. We get article contributions from all over the coaching industry and each edition is packed with 30 or more pages of practical and academic information from highly experienced professionals in the coaching industry. Our readers include not only coaches and student, but also HR, psychologists, consultants, business advisors and leaders in business. You are welcome to visit us at www.sacoachingnews.co.za

In my free time I keep myself sane with photography, mostly of nature. Together with a handful of close friends, we spend many hours in places like Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

What the future holds? Who knows!

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