Our cover for April 2012, Herman Mashaba, has swapped his entrepreneurial hat for politics and has taken over one of Africa’s most important cities – Johannesburg.
In November last year, Mashaba told FORBES AFRICA he wasn’t interested in politics, within weeks , he changed his mind and started running for mayor, when South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma sacked Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene and sent the country’s market into a nosedive.
“It was the final nail in the coffin for me. I could no longer live with myself to watch my country being captured and destroyed,” he says.
Mashaba, Founder of Black Like Me, was elected as mayor after defeating former mayor Parks Tau, in the local municipal elections, with 144 votes – a case of close but no cigar for Tau who received 125 votes. This was as a shocking and humiliating blow to the ruling African National Congress.
Mashaba, who handed over the responsibility of running his business to his wife, has shifted his focus to his duty as a full-time public servant.
Top of his to-do-list is creating jobs, fighting corruption and bringing basic services to people.
For Mashaba, being an armchair critic was no longer an option.
“I have always believed in personal shaping of my life. I will never allow people with unknown agendas to distract me from exercising my rights and doing things I have to do. Our country deserves a better leadership,” he says.
In 2012, our headline for him was Capitalist Crusader; he loved it so much that he made it the title of his latest book.
A month before, in March 2012, Sipho Nkosi was featured on the cover of FORBES AFRICA. It seems life has just begun, at the age of 62, for Nkosi, who retired from Exxaro Resources, a coal mining company he helped build.
“After eight years in the company, it made sense for me to grow and allow other people with great ideas to take over,” says Nkosi.
Before he retired, and when the unstable currency and commodity markets presented risks, Exxaro had to retrench almost half of their workers. It was a tough time, says Nkosi.
“The business shrunk and I learned that when you’re doing well in business people love you, but when you are in crises they see you as a useless manager. I had to allow another person to rebuild the organization.”
Even though he retired and sold his shares at Exxaro, Nkosi is still a director at Sanlam and council member at the University of the Witwatersrand. He says only death will stop him from working.
He started his own organization, Talent10.
“We look at the challenges the mining industry has. We also want to build resources, such that we are able to get into for example, enterprise development, to get into things like social interventions that we want to get into, and to tap into technology because other countries beat us when it comes to technology.”
Mashaba and Nkosi are still proving they have what it takes to grace the cover of FORBES AFRICA.