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Mathabo Makhaya (32) wins top prize in the Saica Top-35-under-35 CA(SA) competition

Mathabo Makhaya, group financial manager at Harmony Gold Mining and chairperson of the Investment Committee Mineworkers Provident Fund, has been announced as the overall winner of the highly coveted 2022 Top 35-under-35 chartered accountants [CA(SA)] competition.
Mathabo Makhaya
Mathabo Makhaya

Recognising young CAs(SA) achievers who are not only excelling in their professional capacity, but who are also making a meaningful contribution to society and steering the profession in the right direction, this annual competition was launched in 2014 and has proven to be a huge success in acknowledging and promoting young CAs(SA) under the age of 35 who are making a remarkable difference.

More on the winners

The winners are considered by a diverse, multi-disciplinary judging panel as the cream of the crop among this year’s Top-35-under-35 CAs(SA), who have gone the extra mile to achieve their career aspirations. Indeed, all 35 finalists are individuals who have not only successfully pursued their career dreams but have also excelled and moved swiftly through the ranks to lead operations within notable organisations.

The overall winner, Mathabo Makhaya currently holds the position of group financial manager (Health) at Harmony Gold Mining Company where she provides strategic financial oversight to the internal health management of 44,000 employees, ranging from occupational, primary and tertiary healthcare provision.

As chairperson of the Mineworkers Provident Fund (MWPF) board, she has led the team to expand alternatives and impact investing to enhance returns for members with a corresponding increase in social benefits in targeted areas such as digital infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa, among others. She is also a founding committee member at AOFSA (Asset Owners Forum South Africa) through MWPF representation, which is a voluntary coalition of pension funds in South Africa with the strategic aim of investing in infrastructure projects in South Africa. The total estimated value of the forum is approximately R3tn.

She is an ambitious young woman challenging the status quo in a predominantly male industry. She is passionate about transformation, small-business development and impact investing, with a specific focus on gender equality and women empowerment. She is most proud of her work to enable multiple small businesses to go through enterprise supplier development programmes and contribute to the communities they operate in through small-business development. This led her to win the Young Leaders Connect (YLC) 2022 “Lift up Leader in Business” and the “IDEAL Authentic Leadership” awards for her consistent demonstration of humble and bold leadership and commitment to transformation in her areas of influence.

On a personal level, Makhaya is an advocate for gender equality and women empowerment through education.

The Develop category award winner is Josh Moritz, 32. After completing his training contract at EY and returning from the USA where he worked for Cross Country Consulting, Josh joined DocFox in 2017. DocFox automates businesses’ ‘Know-Your-Customer’ processes so that their compliance teams can make better informed decisions in a fraction of the time, all while in the pursuit of making money laundering impossible.

He formed part of the founding leadership team and was instrumental in the building of a start-up from humble beginnings to a business with over 250 financial institutions using its product each day. Having been a part of the founding leadership team, Moritz has aided in making key financial and strategic decisions which have ensured that DocFox has continuously grown by 100% year on year. He played a key role in growing the business from a team of just six employees to one that now boasts more than 80.

He believes that his role as a leader is to recognise each team member’s potential and to support them in furthering their careers. Josh is zealous about helping people to achieve the things that they didn’t believe to be a possibility for them.

The Influence category winner is Christiaan van den Berg, Co-founder and CEO of JOBJACK, a technology platform that makes entry-level opportunities accessible to low-income job seekers. Where the norm is for them to spend up to R932 per month on printing and transport costs to try and find employment, the platform makes such opportunities accessible via their phone on a web browser at no cost to create an online CV/profile and connects them to thousands of opportunities that they can apply for. Companies can then streamline their recruitment process by an automated process in which they are connected to relevant candidates that fit their vacancies best − saving all parties major costs and time.

JOBJACK currently has over 1,200,000 registered job seekers and is growing by 3,000 job seekers per day. They service over 2,000 employer sites across South Africa, including employers such as PEP Stores, Woolworths, City of Cape Town, TFG, McDonald’s, KFC and many more. They have placed over 8,000 low-income individuals in sustainable job opportunities over the past 2,5 years. The aim is to place another 20,000 in the next 18 months.

The Lead category winner is Louw Barnardt, Co-founder and Managing Director at Outsourced CFO. Louw co-founded the award-winning finance firm, Outsourced CFO (OCFO), at the end of 2013. Under his leadership as managing director, the company has grown from two desk spaces to seventy people in just under nine years, posting more than an average of 50% growth per year. Outsourced CFO now serves clients from over 25 different countries, and their staff operate from six provinces in South Africa and three continents.

Within OCFO, Louw has spearheaded the creation of the leadership and strategic frameworks on which the company is built. His vision in the arenas of marketing and sales, and his passion for strong execution, have led to the creation of a scalable business that is currently doubling every fifteen months. As a firm, Louw co-created OCFO to not just be a business built on integrity and flawless ethics but a meaningful place of work with an incredible culture and unmatched capabilities to accelerate the careers and personal growth of all of its employees.

Outside of OCFO, Louw and his team have set up Founders Foundation NPC, a non-profit vehicle that runs various programmes and initiatives for young and previously disadvantaged entrepreneurs who are starting out on their journey. Together with corporate partners, they have helped to secure more than R80 million in funding opportunities for young entrepreneurs and have supported more than a hundred and fifty entrepreneurs with financial mentorship.

The Gamechanger award winner, Boitumelo Kuzwayo, is the deputy head of department: commercial accounting and senior lecturer at the University of Johannesburg, one of the largest mid-tier accounting firms in South Africa.

Kuzwayo has contributed to providing previously disadvantaged students with access to quality education by being the project coordinator for two FASSET programmes (bursary and academic support). These programmes have supported some 400 students/beneficiaries since 2018. The pass rate on both programmes has averaged 90% since their inception. The total budget for the programmes was R33,9 million and Boitumelo led a team of 95 individuals including lecturers, tutors and mentors.

In 2016, she was an independent non-executive director for the Audit and Risk Committee at the South African State Theatre. She contributed to assisting the entity to go from a disclaimer audit opinion in 2016/17 to an unqualified audit opinion in the 2017/18 financial year.

Saica’s Chief Executive Officer, Freeman Nomvalo, commended all the finalists and especially the award winners. “It is truly rewarding to see so many of our young CAs(SA) breaking glass ceilings and challenging the status quo by consistently making an impact on the livelihoods of South Africans,” says Nomvalo. “All the finalists here have proven to be purpose-driven individuals who act in the public’s interest and are the glimmer of hope we should all embrace in a developing economy. I applaud all our Top-35-under-35 CAs(SA) finalists for their commendable determination and enthusiasm to making this country a better place for all who live in it”.

Gerinda Engelbrecht, Saica’s Project Director for Digital Content and Publishing, highlighted the value of this initiative. “After 9 years of hosting this competition, we are blown away each year by the candidates’ talent and accomplishments. We are delighted to know that these young CAs(SA) are the future leaders of our country and will continue to make a difference not only in their workplace, but also in their communities”.

Saica extends its appreciation to the sponsors who bootstrapped this recognition event for success. These include Standard Bank, Makosi, Xero, Milpark Education, CAMAF medical aid scheme, the National Youth Development Agency, Heavy Chef, Thamani, Caseware Africa/Adapt IT, and PPS.

Find out more information on the Top 35 under 35 CAs(SA) competition here.

8 Dec 2022 10:13