18 outstanding nominees. Who will be South Africa's 2019 CFO of the year?

The votes are in. South Africa's CFO of the Year 2019 will be revealed on 15 May.

On 15 May, the winners of the CFO Awards, the “Oscars of South Africa’s finance profession”, will be revealed. The judges have submitted their votes for the CFO of the Year, Young CFO of the Year, Public Sector CFO of the Year, Strategy Execution, Transformation and Empowerment, Compliance and Governance, Finance Transformation, Moving Into Africa, Finance and Technology, and High-Performance Team Awards.

These 18 nominess are the top CFOs working in SA right now, and stand a chance to walk away with the most celebrated title in finance: 

André du Plessis, CFO at Capitec
As one of the founders of Capitec, André du Plessis is very proud of its successes, built on the pillars of simplicity, transparency, accessibility and personal experience. André was a big driver of the recent Mercantile Bank acquisition and can be credited with many of Capitec’s great ideas. Nothing happens in the organisation that he didn’t think about or that someone didn't check with him, he says. André is spending a lot of time improving the B-BBEE level of the bank and has been involved in many technological improvements. André says he tends to take things about Capitec – which he refers to as his baby – very personally.

Arno Daehnke, Group FD at Standard Bank
Arno Daehnke is proud to define and execute strategy to ensure Standard Bank transforms to a future-ready state. This includes embedding and tracking the group’s five strategic value drivers; ensuring resources are appropriately prioritised and invested into the key focus areas; making the tough calls on cost management in order to ‘save to invest’; pivoting the organisation from being traditionally product centric to truly client centric; and empowering and motivating agile feature teams to deliver the group’s digitisation agenda.

Bothwell Mazarura, CFO at Kumba Iron Ore         
After Bothwell Mazarura joined Kumba almost two years ago, he was immediately involved in delivering a strategy to increase margins and extend the life of Kumba’s mines to increase its competitiveness and sustainability through commodity cycles. He managed to save nearly R1 billion in costs, put in place a new dividend policy as part of a capital allocation framework that prioritises shareholder returns balanced with disciplined allocation to discretionary capital options. Transformation has taken centre stage for Bothwell, both in terms of diversity and in getting his finance team immersed in the business. 

Bridget Radebe, CFO at African Rainbow Capital
Bridget Radebe is very proud of the successful listing of African Rainbow Capital Investments Limited (ARC) on the JSE in September 2017, followed by the first integrated report, as it marked the first time its broad-based shareholders truly understood the ARC story. Bridget calls herself hard on issues but soft on people and sees it as her role to challenge the status quo and is adept at the balancing act that comes with governance requirements. Bridget enjoys coaching people within and outside ARC, mostly young women who are studying to become CAs. Her mantra to her team is: make me redundant. 

Dion Mhlaba, CFO at RH Bophelo
Two of Dion Mhlaba’s proudest moments were listing RH Bophelo on the JSE in 2017 as a special purpose acquisition company and launching an Africa Healthcare Infrastructure Fund in 2019, underwritten in US Dollar. Dion continues to balance his time between growing the business and making sure that all compliance aspects are met, including risk management, cash flow planning, group IT and procurement. RH Bophelo has partnered with over 300 local entrepreneurs’ and doctors’ groups, developing 15 new hospitals in the last five years. Dion champions the empowerment plans within the group, continuously supports small businesses in training and development.

Glenn Fullerton, CFO at Nampak
A well-executed R12.5 billion refinancing of the group, a strategic decision to dispose of the glass business and leading initiatives to secure the transfer of R3.5 billion of cash from Angola and Nigeria are among Glenn Fullerton’s greatest recent successes. Glenn leads by example and encourages others to share their views. His finance team is seen as proactive and insightful, but is also known for taking control when needed. Glenn has recently taken over responsibility of B-BBEE from HR and together with his team has developed a roadmap to improve the group’s rating from level 6 to level 2. 

Hannes Boonzaaier, Group CFO at AfroCentric
Hannes Boonzaaier is deeply involved in the strategy to grow Afrocentric by investing outside of medical scheme administration. He has developed his finance team into valued business partners by rotating them through all aspects of the business. He has also successfully transformed and diversified his finance team and achieved a Level 1 B-BBEE score through various initiatives like internships and supplier development. Hannes describes himself as involved, progressive and excited about being forward-looking. He values patience and structured milestones as the key ingredients to deal with long term planning, with a key motto of ‘exceeding expectations’.

Hennie Nel, CFO at Santam
Hennie Nel is actively involved in initiatives to grow Santam’s business both inside and outside of South Africa. He describes himself as a hands-on CFO who thoroughly enjoys his job. He also loves mentoring and coaching and believes recruitment isn’t only about when you need to place someone, it’s being aware of talent in the market. From driving Santam’s investment in African insurer Saham Finance, along with Sanlam, to supporting black suppliers to grow their businesses, Hennie aims to build a finance department that’s really close to the business.

Jason Quinn, Group FD at Absa
Jason Quinn is playing an instrumental role in the bank’s separation from Barclays. He says terminating an audit engagement with KPMG was one of the toughest decisions that he was part of. Jason aims to ensure that Absa delivers on its new strategy and financial targets, which is a significant reset of the organisation as it emerges as a standalone banking group across the continent. He says his recipe for success is to be logical, grounded in fact and less emotional when making the hard call or the right recommendations to the board.

Mark Kathan, CFO at AECI
Since joining AECI in 2008, Mark Kathan has played a key role de-risking post-retirement liabilities, diversification of products and markets, and the ongoing expansion into Africa and offshore. A highlight was the successful establishment of a shared services centre in Modderfontein, in support of the African entities. Mark also led the disposal of large tracts of land in Gauteng and the Western Cape and was integrally involved in acquiring two significant companies. Mark is quick to acknowledge the importance of team work and trusts his team of internal and external professionals to provide him with the expert back-up he requires. 

Masibulele Dem, CFO at Hulisani
Governance has been a mainstay in the work of Masibulele Dem, who joined Hulisani soon after it ceased trading as a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC), was the only employee in the finance team before building up the team and had to deal with some intricate board-level issues that were borne in the time the company was still a SPAC. Proper and thorough analysis have been key for Masibulele, who aims to move the company from BEE Level 8 to a Level 2. He is known as hard-working and rigorous and prefers to give his staff space to execute.

Matthias Vogt, CFO at Afrox
Matthias Vogt joined Afrox to drive a turnaround strategy that included cost-cutting and retrenchments. He subsequently had to convince a reluctant board to implement a second restructuring, which took out experienced staff members who were messengers rather than managers. A major finance transformation project moved most basic accounting to India and allowed the finance team to focus on adding value. Through leading by example and giving his team purpose, Matthias has changed the way finance operates. There is a high degree of accountability now and finance takes the lead in many Afrox projects.

Nakedi Ramaphakela, FD at Royal Bafokeng Holdings (now CFO at Masimong Group Holdings) 
Nakedi Ramaphakela built a solid finance team and introduced efficient reporting systems and procedures at Royal Bafokeng Holdings (RBH) while managing to become an “optimal CFO” in the process. When she took on the role,  she was the only CA. Although she has since moved on from her role, she left RBH with a well-oiled finance machine. She describes herself as a big picture and long-term thinker, who motivates people and works in a democratic way. Nakedi has been instrumental in RBH’s diversification strategy, implementation of  IT projects and keeping close tabs on risk, and prides herself on her involvement in education and empowerment projects.  

Nolwazi Mamorare, CFO at University of Johannesburg
Nolwazi Mamorare has been instrumental in initiatives to ensure financial stability and governance at the University of Johannesburg, partly through alternative funding and commercialisation. Since becoming CFO, she has been working hard on transformation and technology implementation. Nolwazi leads by example, consults and empowers people and tries to ensure that decisions get made quickly so that everyone can move on and get the work done. When tension arises between students and staff – and within her own team – she believes in empathy, empathy, empathy. 

Nonkululeko Dlamini, CFO at IDC
After Nonkululeko Dlamini joined the IDC, she helped it transform its long-term planning model and automate the financials. The IDC is now able to pull out its financial position and results in 30 minutes. Nonkululeko believes in leading by being with the team and has worked hard to change the silo mentality within the organisation into one of collaboration. Her finance team is seen as strict but has a good relationship with other departments within the IDC. Nonkululeko also believes that the best mentoring and coaching is throwing people in the deep end while guiding them.

Ralph Mupita, CFO at MTN
Ralph Mupita has been integrally involved in the development and execution of MTN’s new strategy and he has been driving a revised capital allocation strategy focused on improving profitability and returns, as well as de-gearing of the holding company to strengthen the balance sheet. He’s also had to confront pre-existing challenges and was part of the team that had to resolve the Nigeria CBN $8 billion historical dividends matter late last year. His leadership approach is framed by inspiring colleagues to deliver their very best, achieving team-based success and remaining humble and grounded in all situations.

Sizwe Nkosi, CFO at Phembani Group
Sizwe Nkosi is proud that he has been able to put together a good team that he can rely on for reaching Phembani Group’s targets of a 12.5 percent compound annual growth rate after the merger with Shanduka Group. He describes himself as consultative, collaborative and democratic and he has created a finance team that the rest of the company considers to be performing, helpful, motivated, contributing, and leading by example. Sizwe has significantly improved Phembani’s cash flow management in the last few years and aims to leverage IT better and make use of more analytics.

Umar Banda, CFO at City of Tshwane 
Umar Banda addressed the City of Tshwane’s illiquid position by finding innovative ways for the city to generate income. He also embarked on a cost-containment exercise in which he attempted to curtail spending on anything not directly related to service delivery. He’s excited about the establishment of a CA programme in the City of Tshwane, bringing much-needed skills into the public finance space and ultimately developing a pipeline for his own succession. He is also currently spearheading a project to integrate the city’s multiple data sources to enable his team to start reaping the benefits of data analytics.