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Surviving and thriving in uncertain political and economic times

During this highly topical session, you will hear the views of CFOs and other business leaders on the current economic and political uncertainty, how the recent ratings downgrades are impacti

Registration Closed

27 July 2017


The world is a very different place to the one that existed just a year ago. This time last year, no one could really have foreseen that Brexit, President Trump and most recently, a hung parliament in the UK would become a reality. Closer to home, South Africa has been dealing with its own challenges, which have led to ratings downgrades and a technical recession. The truth is that no one really knows what’s coming around the next corner, which makes doing business even more uncertain and riskier than usual. The question that naturally arises is: how do SA companies operate and even succeed in such an unpredictable environment?

During this highly topical session, you will hear the views of CFOs and other business leaders on the current economic and political uncertainty, how the recent ratings downgrades are impacting the SA economy and what the future holds for SA Inc.

08h00 Registration and refreshments
08h30 Welcome address
  Dr Renosi Mokate, Executive Director & CEO, UNISA Graduate School of Business Leadership
08h35 Opening remarks from the Chair
08h40 Keynote address
  Sipho Pityana, Chairman, AngloGold Ashanti
09h20 Panel discussion: Surviving and thriving in uncertain political and economic times
  • Looking at the impact of the ratings downgrades on the SA economy in terms of FDI, sustainability, jobs, etc.
  • Exploring the dual responsibility companies have in the business and political fields. When should you remain neutral and when should you act in the light of recent events?
  • What does the future hold for SA Inc. given the current political and economic turbulence?
  • What does ‘radical economic transformation’ mean and is it achievable?
  • What can SA companies do to ensure that that their businesses survive and even thrive during this period of uncertainty?
  Moderator: Ben Davis, Associate Director, Deloitte
  Pieter de Jager, CFO, Tanga Cement
  Andrew Davison, Head of Investment Consulting, Old Mutual Corporate Consultants
  Cas Coovadia, Managing Director, The Banking Association South Africa
  Prof Cyril Nhlanhla Mbatha, Professor: Economics, UNISA SBL
10h10 Brunch and networking
10h45 Close
Venue: UNISA Graduate School of Business Leadership, Midrand
Date: 27 July 2017
Time: 08:00 for 08:30 – 10:45
CFO Talks - Sipho Pityana

Sipho Pityana, Chairman, AngloGold Ashanti

Sipho Mila Pityana is the founder and Chairman of Izingwe Holdings. He is also chairman of the Board of Directors of the following companies: the JSE listed AngloGold Ashanti and Onelogix, he is also a non-executive director of a number of manufacturing companies including Aberdare Cables where he is the Vice Chairman. He has previously served as chair of Munich Reinsurance of Africa, he also served on the boards of Bytes Technology Group, AFROX, SPESCOM and Scaw Metals; he also served on the Old Mutual Leadership Group. He previously worked as the Executive Director of Nedcor Investment Bank and a Managing Director at Nedbank.

In addition to his private sector track record, Mr Pityana has extensive public sector experience and international exposure. He was the first Director General of Department of Labour in a democratic South Africa. As the Foreign Affairs Director General he represented South Africa in various international fora including the United Nations, African Union, Commonwealth and the International Labour Organisation. He was one of the founding members of the governing body of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and Convenor of the South African government delegation to the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC).

He is currently Chairperson of Council at University of Cape Town and a founding Convener of Save South Africa. A former Chairperson of the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and former Registrar of the University of Fort Hare. He is the chairperson of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC).

CFO Talks - Andrew Davison

Andrew Davison, Head of Investment Consulting, Old Mutual Corporate Consultants

Andrew has more than 20 years of experience in investments, ranging from investment product development for life companies and asset managers to consulting on all aspects of investment strategy to a variety of retirement funds and other institutions including medical aids, trusts and charities. He has served on various trustee boards and management committees of retirement funds, including Old Mutual’s staff fund, and is a regular speaker on retirement and investment matters at industry events and conferences. Andrew is a Fellow of the Faculty of Actuaries and a member of the Actuarial Society of South Africa, where he also serves on the Investments Committee.

CFO Talks - Cas Coovadia

Cas Coovadia, Managing Director, The Banking Association South Africa

Cas obtained his B.Com from the University College, Durban in 1971. He completed the Housing Finance Course with the Wharton Real Estate Centre at the University of Pennsylvania. He also completed the Effective Directors Programme with the Kagiso School of Leadership. He served articles for training as a chartered accountant and ran an accounting practice for a number of years. He also spent time with the Kagiso Group managing a small venture capital company that invested in emerging manufacturing enterprises.

Cas became involved in anti-apartheid politics in the early 1980s. He was very active in the civic movement, starting in Laudium, Pretoria in 1980. He was the leading force in the establishment of the White Blocks Residents Association in Laudium during 1980. This was the first organized civic body in the country and mobilized low-income people around their day-to-day issues. Cas subsequently was instrumental in the formation of the Civic Association of Johannesburg, which was the trailblazer in negotiations around the restructuring of local government in the early 1990’s. He was also instrumental in the formation of the South African National Civic Organisation and was its Vice-President. Cas played a critical role in the United Democratic Front (UDF) and was leading its Johannesburg Area Committee. He also played a critical role in the defiance campaign during the mid 1980s.

Cas is currently the Managing Director at The Banking Association South Africa. He has played a central role in the negotiations leading to the signing of the Financial Sector Charter and is playing a critical role in the implementation of agreements reached in the Charter.

Cas is the immediate past chairman of The Johannesburg Civic Theatre and Vice-Chairperson of the Trust for Urban Housing Finance. He is also Chairperson of the National Business Initiative and 1st Deputy Chairman of the African Union for Housing Finance and also serves on the Board of the Centre for Development and Enterprise. He is also President of the International Union for Housing Finance and the President of the International Banking Federation (IBFed). He serves as a Council member of the University of Witwatersrand. He is also on the board of the Nepad Business Foundation and the Management Committee of Business Unity South Africa.

Cas was instrumental in the conceptualisation and establishment of Community Bank in South Africa and is passionate about the area of access to financial services to the broad spectrum of people in South Africa. He has considerable experience in housing finance, SMME support, local government restructuring, dynamics of organised business and the financial environment in the SADC region.

CFO Talks - Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Associate Director, Deloitte

Ben is an Associate Director in Monitor Deloitte in South Africa. He has a 14-year track record of work across Sub-Saharan Africa as well as other emerging and developed markets. His expertise is focused on developing new businesses both within a current operating environment, as well as adjacent to the core business and into new markets.

Ben has experience in developing business strategies, supporting new acquisitions and developing start-ups for financial service providers leveraging his specialisation in understanding low income customers and SME’s. He has product experience in savings, credit and payments.

Key clients have included large African and International banks, insurance companies, power utilities and petro-chemicals companies, retailers, telecoms companies, capital market participants and public sector organisations.

Ben has the following academic qualifications: a BCom Hons in Economics and a BSocSc in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Cape Town and a MComm in Economics from Stellenbosch University.

CFO Talks - Prof. Cyril Nhlanhla Mbatha

Prof. Cyril Nhlanhla Mbatha, Professor: Economics, UNISA SBL

Prof. Cyril Nhlanhla Mbatha is Professor of Economics and holds a PhD in Economics from Rhodes University. He has published in areas including international trade in goods and services, regional trade integration, management of natural resources (land and water), human resources and skills development, labour market analysis as well as economic research methodology.

He has consulted scientifically for local and international organisations including the UNDP-Botswana, the WTO, the HSRC, the Water Research Commission of S.A. and various national and provincial government departments in South Africa. He has held management positions at different institutions including being Chief Researcher Manager and Unit Head of the Labour Markets Unit at the Human Sciences Research Council, Head of the Finance and Economics Area at the School of Business Leadership (Unisa); Acting Director/Chief of Party of the Young Regional Leadership Centre for emerging young leaders in SADC, an African development initiative by the former US President Barack Obama.

CFO Talks - Pieter de Jager

Pieter de Jager, CFO, Tanga Cement

Since 2006, Pieter de Jager has held the position of Chief Financial Officer and director to the board of various multi-national companies, predominantly in the mining and metals sector. He served as executive and non-executive director on the boards of companies listed directly and indirectly (on subsidiary boards) in South Africa (JSE), Canada (TSX) and Australia (ASX).

He is a seasoned company director with a proven track record, background and more than 18 years’ experience in senior management roles in many sectors, including engineering, manufacturing, FMCG, transport logistics and warehousing, metals and mining and cement manufacturing.

Areas of expertise include mergers & acquisitions, unbundlings, reverse listings, fundraising, debt reorganisation, downsizing, group restructurings, feasibility studies and valuations. He also assisted in setting up governance structures and developing of board subcommittees for listed corporates and professional bodies.