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Female-Power Getting On With The Business Of Building The Nation

Dr Thandi Ndlovu of Motheo Construction on her dramatic career change that made her a powerhouse.

Standard Bank

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South Africa is a country where gender and business stereotypes are rapidly disappearing. Although it still comes as a surprise that one of the nation’s leading social housing developers with more than 75 000 units to its credit is owned, managed and run by a woman.

In fact, Motheo Construction has been breaking down stereotypes since opening its doors for business in 1997 under the leadership of Dr Thandi Ndlovu, a medical doctor who has seen the company complete projects valued at more than R5.5 billion.

With headquarters in Randburg and offices in Durban, Kimberley, East London and Johannesburg, Motheo has successfully completed building projects anywhere in the country where their skills have been required.

Related: 13 Female Entrepreneurs Rising To The Top

Clues of how a doctor, once schooled in Soweto, ends up running a successful construction company lie in Dr Ndlovu’s background. She is a woman of strong convictions who, when committed to a course of action, cannot be easily swayed.

While studying and acting as Secretary of the Student’s Representative Council at the University of Fort Hare in 1976, she was forced to abandon her BSc, because of the oppression that followed the Soweto student’s uprising. Her brother, Hastings, fell victim to shots fired at the students on 16 June 1976 – the same day that Hector Pieterson, a symbol of the revolt, died from the violent action.

Dr Ndlovu spent the next few years actively fighting apartheid as part of the ANC’s MK military wing, moving into exile in Angola. She undertook several tasks, including that of running literacy and education programmes, and assisting as a medical officer before moving to the USSR. Later, she moved on to Lusaka in Zambia, where she enrolled at the University of Zambia in 1984 and completed her BSc (Human Biology) and MBchB degrees, finally realising her medical ambitions.

After the regime change, she returned to South Africa and identified a need in Orange Farm informal settlement, where she set up shop as the only doctor assisting a population of about 200 000 people. And there she could have remained, living out what she describes as “her life’s work”, and educating people on the benefits of preventative and community medicine.

The event that changed the direction of her life came when she began working with local health committees, pushing for improved housing to replace the shacks that exacerbated the health problems in the area. Dr Ndlovu’s first challenge was to find suitable premises for her medical practice.

Motheo-Construction-Dr-Thandi-Ndlovu

“I found a half-built shack and began working with some men to replace it with properly built medical rooms from which I could treat people,” she recalls.

She learned a lot about building, but saw her investment rewarded as patients came from other townships to consult and admired her building and facilities.

“I read about a former MD of Premier Milling who was introducing the art of brickmaking to rural communities. After seeing what he was doing, I got excited and phoned government to find out how I could get involved in building houses for the people. Eventually, I received six large files on the processes and rules to be followed to build homes.”

Not knowing the meaning of “impossible”, Dr Ndlovu drove to Pietermaritzburg to meet with a builder, and by the end of a weekend session she knew that what they wanted could be done.

“If you could persuade a professional team to work at their own risk, it was possible to get the drawings and engineering services planned and approved. Then government would provide a subsidy that could finance the required project, and that was the birth of Motheo Construction.

Related: 10 Successful SA Women Entrepreneurs’ Top Advice On Balancing Work And Family

“We began to target chiefs in rural areas of Mpumalanga who could give permission for building. I realised that we needed people of vision to assist us, so I contacted Matthews Phosa, Premier of Mpumalanga, who arranged for us to do presentations. The chiefs were fascinated by our model for building 1 000 units, as we did not only concentrate on building, but used the activity as an opportunity to train and develop people.

“We proposed coming in with a competent professional team to train people in these areas to build houses within the subsidy guidelines. Once we left, they would have the skills necessary to add rooms and improve the houses as needed.”

Phosa responded by asking her to build 10 000 houses. Political pressure and suspicion about Motheo’s model led to auditors being brought in. After a full audit, and three years later than scheduled, Motheo began their work. The medical practice in Orange Farm was sold to another doctor, and Dr Ndlovu began structuring Motheo for the future.

The result is an enterprise where women own 52% of the equity and work in the business on a daily basis. They also represent professionals ranging from quantity surveying, project management, and water and civil engineering disciplines.

“Like their male colleagues, Motheo’s women work on site in both rural and urban environments. The success of our empowerment initiatives can be measured in the achievement of the 20 Motheo Trust beneficiaries who progressed from newly qualified, inexperienced individuals to full members of Motheo. Today they manage projects and departments within the business.”

The agenda to develop and empower those with talent is undertaken by the Dr Thandi Ndlovu Children’s Foundation, which currently supports 20 orphaned and vulnerable children through their schooling and tertiary education. The Foundation covers education fees, accommodation, meals and provides the support that the children would normally have obtained from parents.

The career paths chosen by the children are as diverse as their backgrounds; they are pursuing professions as chartered accountants, musicians, chemical engineers and agricultural economists.

The development of small- to medium-sized enterprises is another passion that is served by Motheo, assisting identified companies with bridging finance, technical skills and guarantee facilities so they can undertake projects on their own account.

Going into the future with a full order book, Dr Ndlovu’s company is benefitting from her belief in investing in people and expanding their skills. Although Motheo’s activities still centre around housing, about a third of the projects they have successfully completed involve building facilities that range from the R60 million Orlando station in Soweto, rail refurbishment projects valued at R100 million to a R35 million administrative building for the eThekwini municipality.

Dr Ndlovu herself goes into the future with strong views about strengthening her own company: “This is a truly South African company. It is built on a model where everybody works together for its benefit. We are still true to our original model. We send in the professionals and work with young people to carry things forward and leave skills behind.

“Motheo believes that there is room for everybody to benefit and grow in our country,” she says.

Dr Thandi talks more on how Motheo Construction came about – watch the below video.

Visit the Standard Bank Community page more on Dr Ndlovu’s inspirational story.

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Standard Bank SA is the largest operating entity of Standard Bank Group, Africa’s largest bank by assets. Standard Bank SA provides the full spectrum of financial services, with more than 720 branches and over 7 100 ATMs. Independent surveys of customer satisfaction consistently place Standard Bank at or near the top of their rankings. The personal and business banking unit offers banking and other financial services to individuals and small-to-medium enterprises. For further information, go to community.standardbank.co.za

Company Posts

With Hundreds Of Franchise Options Out There, Choose The One You Can Trust

If you’re looking to invest in a business venture that offers you years of experience in the industry, the trust and loyalty of its customers, and franchise support from an expert team – then Hi-Q is the one for you.

HI-Q

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What you’ll become a part of

Since opening their doors in 1999, Hi-Q has gone from strength to strength, growing a humble three store enterprise into an extensive 130-store franchise network with a unique multi-product and multi-services automotive offering.

Hi-Q’s approach to business is centred around being ‘the one you can trust’ to their customers, their suppliers and their franchisees.

“That has always been the key driver in everything we do,” says Sean Harrison, Hi-Q’s Managing Director. “For example, when it comes to our customers, they need to know they can rely on us to put their safety first.

Related: Don’t Tread On Toes – Why Investing In A HIQ Franchise Will Offer You More Opportunities

That we’ll always strive to offer them expert, friendly service and top of the range products, while also keeping up-to-date with the latest technologies and advancements in our field.”

An acclaimed and awarded brand

Hi-Q has again and again proven themselves to be a leader in the industry.

They’ve been voted South Africa’s No.1 tyre retailer for eight consecutive years (2010 – 2017) by consumers in the Ask Africa Icon Brands Survey, the biggest of its kind in Africa – a clear indication that they are respected and trusted by their customers.

Business support

Hi-Q Franchisees all have the support of an expert and knowledgeable team with years of experience in the industry, who are available to guide them on their business venture. This includes areas of business such as marketing/promotional, commercial, organisational structure, tools and equipment, sales and more.

Franchisees also have access to various skills training opportunities for members of their team.
Hi-Q is invested in providing their network with the tools needed to thrive and grow in an ever-challenging market.

Relationship with Goodyear

Hi-Q has the support and backing of international tyre of multinational premium tyre manufacturer, Goodyear, and its full value proposition. This means access to incredible promotional and marketing opportunities in partnership with the brand.

Franchising opportunities

Hi-Q has embarked on an extensive expansion plan and have identified areas of opportunity to extend their Franchise footprint growth countrywide.

You’ll find more information on our website www.hiq.co.za We’d like to invite those who are interested to become part of our team to contact 011 663 2431 or bernie_andrews@goodyear.co.za

Related: We Want To Invite You To Join Us On The Hi-Q Journey And Become A Franchisee

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Company Posts

Get The Edge This Winter

Five short courses from WITS kicking off in July will give you the competitive edge.

Wits Plus

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From Gauteng’s most trusted provider of the best learning experiences, come five WITS-curated courses starting in July 2019. Use the longer, colder days to curl up with a “good book” and emerge from winter with a new edge.

There are three online short courses offered via the WITS Digital Campus, starting 15 July.

Managing Labour Relations

This 10 week course will equip you with sound knowledge of South Africa’s complex labour landscape and an understanding of your legal rights as an employee or employer.

You will also learn skills for navigating employer / employee relationships successfully, and get tools for managing disputes effectively. There are eight modules, covered in online lectures over eight weeks, requiring a commitment of five to seven hours per week. The exam is in week 10.

Logistics and Supply Chain Management Practice

This 10 week course is packed with practical and theoretical information to help retail managers, supply chain supervisors, stock controllers and even CEOs drive efficiencies in the value chain.

It covers everything from improving exporting transportation, warehousing, order processing and procurement to financial management and managing waste. There are eight modules, covered in online lectures over eight weeks, requiring a commitment of five to seven hours per week. The exam is in week 10.

Applied Digital Marketing

We operate in an increasingly digital world and traditional marketing must include digital aspects and channels to be relevant.

This 10 week course will teach you to think digital, talk digital and deliver effective digital campaigns to elevate marketing and brand-building initiatives. You will learn to conceptualise and implement successful digital marketing strategies that drive customer acquisition, optimise your digital footprint and deliver business results.

There are eight modules, covered in online lectures over eight weeks, requiring a commitment of five to seven hours per week. The exam is in week 10.

Related: Thinking of Immigrating to America from SA? Now Is The Time

Comprehensive onsite courses in July include:

Real Estate Investment Analysis

This intensive five day course is for people who have been introduced to the real estate discipline at NQF 4 and NQF 5 levels. It is designed to provide higher level, more focused training as well as tools for analysing different types of real estate investments at the individual asset level, and measuring investment performance.

The course will benefit property practitioners who do not have property degrees; past graduates of SAPOA programmes in different aspects of the real estate business and people from different disciplinary backgrounds considering entering the profession.  The course takes place over five days from 1 to 5 July 2019.

Advanced Performance Management

Presented by the School of Accountancy together with Wits Enterprise, this course is designed to prepare students for the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) Professional level exams.

On completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Use strategic planning and control models to plan and monitor organisational performance
  • Assess and identify key external influences on organisational performance
  • Apply strategic performance measurement techniques in evaluating and improving organisational performance
  • Advise on business performance evaluation as well as recognize vulnerability to corporate failure

The course will run from 15 July to 22 October 2019.

For more information on registering for any of these courses, criteria for registering, and costs, visit.

Related: The Importance of Outsourcing Your Payroll

This article was originally posted on Entrepreneur.com/sa.

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Accounting & Payroll

The Importance of Outsourcing Your Payroll

One of an organisation’s biggest overheads is that of salaries and wages. And yet, if these are not processed on time, it can negatively impact staff morale and create the impression that the company is not financially stable.

CRS HR And Payroll Solutions

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For a small business, payroll is normally the responsibility of an accountant or bookkeeper, but even administrators can sometimes be roped in to do the job, even though they have no expertise in the matter. This is where the value of outsourcing your payroll comes in.

When should you outsource?

  • If you want to grow your business but are not aware of ongoing legislative changes that could pose a risk to your company, then it is better to get professionals to assist.
  • Accountants and bookkeepers are not specialists and do not keep up with the compliance environment. If you outsource your payroll, you enable them to focus their core duties and not get bogged down by legislative complexities.

How to choose an outsourced service provider

Understandably, payroll is a sensitive subject dealing with highly confidential information.

This is often the last thing a small business owner wants to outsource. It is therefore vital that the company does its homework and researches the potential outsourcing partner thoroughly.

Instead of going with the first available service provider or the cheapest one, here are some questions to ask:

  • Is the service provider a one-man band and, if so, what backup resources are available?
  • Is the service provider a recognised payroll provider belonging to a professional body?
  • Do they have the necessary training and skills on payroll?
  • What does the service provider do to ensure it stays up to date with legislation?
  • How secure is the payroll data and can the service provider take on historic data?
  • How easy is it to recover your payroll data in the event of a disaster?
  • What value-adds can the service provider offer? These can include anything from leave management and third-party payments, to employee self-service, time and attendance management, and any other related human resource service.
  • Can they process salaries and/or wages hourly, weekly, fortnightly, or monthly?
  • Can the service provider accommodate your growth requirements if you open new branches?
  • Is the service provider able to assist with payrolls in other African countries, manage their currencies, and deal with their regulatory environments?
  • What processes are in place to ensure the timeous processing of payrolls?

The advantages of outsourcing your payroll

One of the most obvious benefits of going the outsourcing route is freeing up your resources to focus on your core strategic objectives. This ensures you provide quality of service and control costs while an experienced partner takes care of your payroll.

Here are a few other benefits:

  • Reduce operating costs.
  • Statutory compliance and consistent service delivery.
  • Access to the latest technology, as well as skilled and dedicated payroll resources.
  • Access to a secure, risk-free and confidential payroll environment.
  • Increased flexibility and responsiveness.
  • Streamlined internal processes and procedures.

This article was originally posted on Entrepreneur.com/sa.

Related: Thinking of Immigrating to America from SA? Now Is The Time

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