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Inspiring good business at the 20th annual Top Empowerment Awards

Running annually for the last 20 years, the 20th Top Empowerment Awards celebrated individuals and organisations that have excelled at transformation. In response to the global pandemic and as part of ongoing innovation, the conference and awards have pivoted to virtual, ensuring a  wider global audience. The conference brought together experts in the field and charged conversations set to catalyse change. In lieu of Madiba Month, the awards provide recognition for outstanding strategies and practices that deliver a direct impact on business and innovations that set new standards across industries. "That is why we believe it is imperative to recognise the companies and individuals who are enacting meaningful change." - Topco Media CEO, Ralf Fletcher.

Finalists and winners at the Top Empowerment Awards had the opportunity to virtually network and celebrate their achievements. Winners were announced on the evening of 15 July 2021 at the star-studded awards ceremony.

Empowerment victories

Among some of the attendees were the likes of Mathews Phosa and Trevor Manuel.  Mr Manuel accepted the acclaimed Lifetime Achievement Award, for selflessly demonstrating vision and leadership in empowerment and transformation.

Inspiring good business at the 20th annual Top Empowerment Awards

The esteemed list of category winners included: 

Top Empowerment Youth Employment Service Initiative 


The Foschini Group

Top Empowered Business of the Year


Top Empowered Business Leader of the Year

Charmaine Mabuza – Ithuba Holdings

Top Empowered Enterprise and Supplier Development

Merchants SA

Top Empowered Socio-Economic Development

GrowthPoint Properties

Top Empowered Public Service

eThekwini Municipality

Top Empowered Company: Customer Focus

Cell C

Top Empowered Education and Skills Development

Provantage Media Group

Top Empowered Young Achiever

Vumile Msweli - Hesed Consulting

Top Empowered Job Creation


Top Empowerment Company: Fast Growth Black-Owned SMME

Mbokodo Building

Top Empowered Entrepreneur Of 2021

Zakhele Mgobhozi – Modern Centric

The panel of acclaimed judges included:

  • Parmi Natesan, CEO at Institute of Directors
  • Thulani Nzima, chairperson at Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks
  • Mothunye Mothiba, CEO at Productivity SA
  • Khatu Ramukumba, vice principal of Unisa
  • Marelise Van Der Westhuizen, CEO at Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Vino Governder, CEO at LA Consulting Engineers
  • Nceba Ndzwayiba, group human resources and transformation Director at Netcare
  • Victor Sekese, CEO at SNG Grant Thornton

The list of empowered finalists:

Top Empowered Company: Socio-Economic Development

  • Adopt a School
  • AECI
  • Afgri Group Holdings
  • AfroCentric 
  • Bonakude
  • BP South Africa
  • Coega Development Corporation
  • Distell
  • GrowthPoint Properties
  • Provantage Media Group
  • Spring Lights Gas
  • Wartsila SA

Top Empowered Company: Enterprise and Supplier Development

  • Discovery
  • Distell
  • Honeywell
  • Merchants SA
  • MultiChoice
  • Tsebo Solutions Group
  • Tshimologo Executive Group
  • Turner and Townsend

Top Empowered Company: Education and Skills Development

  • Adopt a School
  • Good Work Foundation
  • Provantage Media Group
  • Tsebo Solutions Group
  • University of Freestate

Top Empowered Company: Customer Focus

  • Bathu
  • BP South Africa
  • CallForce
  • Career Box
  • Cell C
  • FedEx SA
  • Spring Lights Gas

Top Empowered Young Achiever

  • Dineo Motikoe – Nubian Browny
  • Emmanuel Bonoko – Ebonoko Holdings
  • Jumien Peceur – AMIS
  • Lettie Mashau - Motheo Construction
  • Mampho Sotshongaye – Golden Rewards
  • Marumo Marumo – Maru Corporation
  • Thandeka Nombanjiji-Nzama – Mbokodo Building
  • Vumile Msweli – Hesed Consulting
  • Zanele Lorraine Stole – Immaculate Cleaning 

Top Empowered Company: Fast Track Black-Owned SMME

  • Golden Rewards
  • MaruCorporation
  • Mbokodo Building
  • Modern Centric

Top Empowered Company: Public Services

  • Coega Development Corporation
  • eThekwini Municipality
  • Gautrain Management Agency
  • South African Civil Aviation

Top Empowered Company: Business Leader

  • Charmaine Mabuza – Ithuba Lottery
  • Dr Ayanda Vilakazi – Coega Development Corporation
  • Feroza Cassim – Wartsila SA
  • Raksha Naidoo – AMIS
  • Rebecca Mosehle – Liquid Telecom
  • Sydwell Shikweni – Merchants SA
  • Taelo Mojapelo BP South Africa
  • Theo Baloyi – Bathu
  • Viwe Mgedezi – Gautrain Management Agency

Top Entrepreneur of 2021

  • Thandeka Nombanjiji-Nzama – Mbokodo Building
  • Theo Baloyi – Bathu
  • Tshegetsang Sebeela – Tshimologo Executive Group
  • Zakhele Mgobhozi – Modern Centric
  • Zanele Lorraine Stole – Immaculate Cleaning 

Top Empowered Company: Job Creation

  • Bathu
  • CallForce
  • CCI South Africa
  • Coega Development Corporation
  • Turner and Townsend

Top Empowered Company: YES

  • Career Box
  • Discovery
  • The Foschini Group

Top Empowered Business of the Year

  • Adenco Construction
  • African Oxygen
  • AfroCentric Investment Corporation
  • Bathu
  • FedEx Express
  • Isilumko Staffing
  • Ithuba Lottery
  • Motheo Construction
  • Multichoice
  • Nedbank
  • Wilson Bayly Holmes Ovcon (WBHO)

A message of hope

On the evening of the awards, Dr Mathews Phosa gave a moving speech where he urged South Africans to take decisive action to combat the current issues faced by the country. Dr Phosa reiterated that having respect for one another is imperative on the road to prosperity.

Over the last two decades, the event has created a legacy of inspiration for the country's business elite, giving SA the opportunity to honour leaders, individuals and organisations who exemplify transformation and empowerment.

Topco Media
DYNAMIC BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS MEDIA Topco Media is one of South Africa's leading business-to-business media houses, producing high profile, relevant conferences and awards. Our conferences include Africa Tech Week, Standard Bank Top Women, Top Empowerment, Future of HR, National Business Awards and Future of Sustainability. We also produce authoritative and informative business and investment publications such as Top 500, Top Empowerment, Nelson Mandela 100 years to name a few.

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