Nedbank has won the Top Empowered Business of the Year Award

By on May 4, 2015

Now in its 14th year, the Oliver Empowerment Awards honours those businesses and individuals who have shown true commitment to driving transformation and empowerment in South Africa before a host of government ministers and business leaders.

In a field which drew both multinational and local businesses, SA banking giant Nedbank scooped the coveted Top Empowered Business of the Year Award from shortlisted contenders Interwaste, McKinsey & Company, Oceana Group, Southern African Shipyards and AEEI Limited, formerly Sekunjalo Investments, at the Annual Oliver Empowerment Awards.

Other winners of these awards, held at a black and gold themed gala dinner at the Emperor’s Palace in Kempton Park, Johannesburg on Thursday 23 April included Godimong Consulting Engineers, which took the Top Empowered Fast Growth Black-Owned SMME Award sponsored by Ithala Development Finance; and Total SA, which took the Top Empowered Skills Development Award sponsored by Nashua. The Top Empowered Public Service Award sponsored by Mpamba Solutions and Consulting went to Coega Development Corporation.

Among individual awards, the Top Empowered Entrepreneur of 2015 Award went to Nargis Gani, Managing Director of Future Africa Consulting and Training; while the Top Empowered Male Leader of the Year Award was raised by Bongani Mabizela, Group CEO of Ulwazi Group; and the Top Empowered Female Leader of the Year Award went to Kay Vittee, CEO of Quest Staffing Solutions.

In its 14th year, the Oliver Empowerment Awards is South Africa’s most established award recognising outstanding South African leaders – individuals and organisations – which have shown vision and leadership in driving empowerment and transformation through inspiration, innovation and action.

“The term empowerment has been much bandied about, but the messaging behind it remains as important as ever,” says Ralf Fletcher, CEO of Topco Media, which runs the Annual Oliver Empowerment Awards. “Empowerment makes a difference to every life it touches, offering upliftment to individual South Africans through employment, education, training and up-skilling. And through such empowerment initiatives by forward thinking employers and businesses, such individuals can educate and inspire their children. It plays an imperative role in breaking cycles of the past and building our country.

“By acknowledging both companies and individuals committed to genuine empowerment, awards such as the Oliver Empowerment Awards play a vital role in providing incentive and driving helping to drive change.”

The Top Empowered Young Achiever Award (under 40 years old) sponsored by TUMI went to Lynette Nontobeko Magasa, founder and CEO of Boniswa Corporate Solutions; the Lifetime Achievement Awards went to Black Like Me founder, Herman Mashaba and Edison Power Founder, Vivian Reddy.


“The quality of entrants this year was exceptional,” says judging panel member, Leigh Gunkel-Keuler – Public Affairs, Policy & Communications Director at Pfizer. “I am sure we say that every year, but this year the finalists really met the brief in terms of what we were looking for.

“The drive towards an inclusive society promotes and sustains businesses, so it makes business sense to want to broaden the local economic framework and allow for greater inclusivity. And for those who see the opportunity, it becomes a very sustainable process that any business in South Africa, whether big or small, a multinational or local, can employ and want to drive locally.”

Gunkel-Kueler said just over a decade ago compliancy with black economic empowerment was perceived to be extremely onerous on a business, and yet a decade later the reverse is true, and awards such as the Oliver Awards have helped to play a role in this progress.

“We need to create the space – and dialogue is part of that space – to drive economic empowerment, and 14 years into that process we are seeing that companies which truly committed to this process over a decade ago are reaping the rewards. It is really around impact and how do you measure that impact. Look at your contribution to growing the base of black economic empowerment and making a contribution to the local economic framework of South Africa.”

The judging panel of 11 independent leaders of business, government and private organisations and initiatives aimed at driving change included Xolani Qubeka, Secretary General, Black Business Council, Allon Raiz, CEO, Raizcorp and Duduzile Maseko, Executive Director: Community Development, City of Johannesburg.

Among the government and business leaders who attended the glittering awards at the Emperor’s Palace was Elizabeth Thabethe, Deputy Minister of the Department of Small Business Development.

To qualify for entry in the Oliver Empowerment Awards a nominee needs – in addition to an annual revenue of over R35-million and a sustainable rise in financial performance – a valid SANAS B-BBEE Certificate (unless they have a valid share certificate and letter of 50.1% ownership from an auditor) and to have implemented strategic B-BBEE policies and measurement mechanisms. Their status with regards to the seven pillars of empowerment, as per the B-BBEE scorecard is also important.

The judging criteria allowed for the comprehensive unpacking of a company’s commitment to empowerment and transformation and their reason for doing so.

The 14th Annual Oliver Empowerment Awards titles and winners:

Organisational Awards

  • Top Empowered Fast Growth Black-Owned SMME Award, sponsored by Ithala Development Finance:  Godimong Consulting Engineers
  • Top Empowered Skills Development Award, sponsored by Nashua: Total SA
  • Top Empowered Socio Economic Development Award sponsored by Tata Group: McKinsey & Company
  • Top Empowered Enterprise and Supplier Development Award, sponsored by MTN: Haw & Inglis Group
  • Top Empowered Diversity Award: Praxis Computing
  • Top Empowered Job Creation Award: EOH Holdings

Public Sector Award

  • Top Empowered Public Service Award, sponsored by Mpamba Solutions and Consulting: Coega Development Corporation

Individual Awards

  • Top Empowered Entrepreneur of 2015 Award: Nargis Gani, Future Africa Consulting and Training
  • Top Empowered Male Leader of the Year Award: Bongani Mabizela,  Ulwazi Group
  • Top Empowered Female Leader of the Year Award, sponsored by SAWIMA: Kay Vittee, Quest Staffing Solutions
  • Top Empowered Young Achiever Award (under 40 years old) sponsored by Tumi: Lynette Nontobeko Magasa, Boniswa Corporate Solutions
  • Top Empowered: Public Service Leader of 2015 Award: Executive Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa, City of Tshwane

Headline Awards

  • Top Empowered Business of the Year Award: Nedbank Ltd
  • Lifetime Achievement Awards:
    • Herman Mashaba, Founder, Black Like Me
    • Vivian Reddy, Founder, Edison Power


  • Leigh Gunkel-Keuler, Public Affairs, Policy & Communications Director, Pfizer
  • Duduzile Maseko, Executive Director: Community Development, City of Joburg
  • Xolani Qubeka, Secretary General, Black Business Council
  • Vanessa Phala, Executive Director: Transformation and Social Policy, Business Unity South Africa:
  • Tantaswa Fubu, National President, Association for the Advancement of Black Accountants of Southern Africa
  • Siphiwe Ngwenya, Chief Executive Officer, Gauteng Growth Development Agency
  • Johanna Mukoki, Group CEO, Travel with Flair
  • Allon Raiz, CEO, Raizcorp
  • Molebatsi Moagi, Managing Director, Centre for Supplier Development
  • Nhlamu Dlomu, Partner, KPMG
  • Sunil Bodasing, Executive: Marketing & Communications, Gijima Group


Issued by: Topco Media, TOPCO002 NBA Winner Announcement

Contact details: Natasha Arendorf,, 021 448 9465

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply