Kganki Mata­bane takes on the BBC as its cool uni­fier

‘I re­ally didn’t know what to do about my fu­ture – there was no ca­reer guid­ance at school and my par­ents sim­ply couldn’t ad­vise or help me.’

Pretoria News - - BUSINESS REPORT -

He’s a sea­soned busi­ness ex­ec­u­tive with more than two decades’ ex­pe­ri­ence in op­er­a­tions and strat­egy, do­ing busi­ness on the African con­ti­nent in the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, power util­i­ties, rail lo­gis­tics, mo­tor re­tail, bus rapid trans­port and min­ing sec­tors.

While at Sen­tech, he drove in­ter­na­tional busi­ness and also achieved five con­sec­u­tive clean au­dits – a first for the gov­ern­ment agency.

Fi­nan­cial tar­gets

“To achieve a clean au­dit you need to be able to meet the fi­nan­cial tar­gets and achieve 80 per­cent of your strate­gic ob­jec­tives or key per­for­mance in­di­ca­tors – your com­pli­ance to cor­po­rate gov­er­nance and sup­ply chain poli­cies should be ex­cel­lent,” he says.

Mata­bane is also a for­mer ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor for op­er­a­tions and trans­for­ma­tion pol­icy at Busi­ness Unity SA, and worked for the Black Man­age­ment Fo­rum, the Gaut­eng Pro­vin­cial Leg­is­la­ture, City Power and Transnet.

Af­ter school, with no means to study, he had a stint as a teacher’s as­sis­tant, teach­ing maths, ac­count­ing and eco­nomics for a year.

“I used the money I earned from my year of teach­ing to fund my first se­mes­ter of cost and man­age­ment ac­count­ing and then got a bur­sary for my sec­ond se­mes­ter at Set­lo­gelo Tech­nikon (now Tsh­wane Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy) in the for­mer Bo­phuthatswana – I passed with dis­tinc­tion.”

He later switched his course to Wits Tech­nikon (now the Univer­sity of Johannesburg), work­ing week­ends at Stuttafords in East­gate Mall as a stock taker and shop as­sis­tant while study­ing.

Mata­bane re­mem­bers his time at the “Har­rods of South Africa” fondly. “I was quite heart­sore when they closed.”

In 1998, he com­pleted his bach­e­lor of tech­nol­ogy de­gree in cost and man­age­ment ac­count­ing at Tech­nikon South Africa (now part of Unisa).

In the next two months, he ex­pects to re­ceive his mas­ter’s in busi­ness lead­er­ship through Unisa’s Grad­u­ate School of Busi­ness Lead­er­ship.

It’s been a long, tough slog, but Mata­bane is proud of his achieve­ments.

“My big­gest re­gret though was on com­plet­ing ma­tric, I knew that there was no money to study and I had no idea what to do. My par­ents sim­ply couldn’t af­ford it. It’s why I al­ways en­cour­age peo­ple to study and at­tain per­sonal de­vel­op­ment, be­cause I don’t want other peo­ple to suf­fer what I did.”

To give back to his com­mu­nity in Lim­popo, he started a Math­omo-Mayo youth club to or­gan­ise ca­reer guid­ance for young­sters, invit­ing com­pa­nies like Sa­sol to present ca­reer op­tions to pupils.

It has helped cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties for ru­ral youths, as­sist­ing them with their sub­ject choices, bur­sary and NSFAS ap­pli­ca­tions.


His new role en­tails run­ning the BBC and build­ing on the work of his pre­de­ces­sors. “I also need to en­sure that the BBC is strength­ened in or­der for it to play its role of trans­form­ing the South African econ­omy and rep­re­sent­ing the hopes and as­pi­ra­tions of Black Busi­ness in SA, the con­ti­nent and glob­ally.”

He’s en­thu­si­as­tic about his new role at the BBC and the coun­cil seems to have picked an adept man­ager. “I’m able to work in dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tions and play the role of a uni­fier – I come in to re­solve con­flict. It’s a nat­u­ral strength for me, and to be cool un­der pres­sure.”

It’s about achiev­ing bal­ance. Mata­bane’s a keen dis­tance run­ner and is ac­tively in­volved in his three young daugh­ters’ ed­u­ca­tion. “When I get home at night, I help them with their home­work. I run half-marathons, about three times a week. These things are im­por­tant.

“A friend once told me: you must never be­come a po­si­tion be­cause what hap­pens when you’re no longer in it and you’re no longer re­ceiv­ing the im­por­tant phone calls and the at­ten­tion. Sep­a­rate friends and ac­quain­tances – real friends will al­ways be there. I try to live by that.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.