Home Articles LEAD: The 2015 Top 35-under-35

LEAD: The 2015 Top 35-under-35


It gives us the greatest honour to announce the names of 35 of the most outstanding young CAs(SA) in South Africa. They have been handpicked not only for their exceptional career achievements and abilities but also for how they actively are giving back to the community and the less fortunate – and ultimately for the way in which their goals and visions are furthering their lives and careers and changing the world around them for the better

Adnan Patel, 26

Senior Lecturer in Auditing and Taxation at Wits University

Adnan has proven himself as an exceptional academic and novice researcher. A recent achievement of his has been the publishing of all his research papers nationally, at the South African Accounting Association, and internationally, at the British Academy of Management.

Adnan has shown that he is capable, worthy and able to make a difference in students’ lives, within the place of his employment and to the profession, by help growing future CAs(SA) as responsible individuals.

Adnan currently chairs the Social Responsibility Committee in the School of Accountancy at Wits University. He is involved and champions great initiatives to give back to students, such as the distribution of textbooks, as well as blanket and food drives.

Annja Louca, 31

Founder and CEO of Anlo Financial Solutions

Annja is an entrepreneur who has built up Anlo Financial Solutions to a self-sustaining business that now employs eight staff members excluding herself. Most of her clients are small to medium businesses. Anlo has grown to be one of the financial service practices in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg.

In 2013 Annja was selected to take part in the Goldman Sachs GIBS 10 000 women entrepreneurial programme.

She makes a difference by offering her services to non-profit organisations and writing for Fleet Sheet Publishing on accounting-related topics for SMEs, business owners and accountants, as well as responding to various questions from readers.

Ayanda Sepamla, 29

Business Manager for the Head of ABSA Business Banking at Barclays

Being given the opportunity to work as the Business Manager of the Head of Absa Business Banking has certainly been the highlight of Ayanda’s career.

One of Ayanda’s notable contributions to the bank have been the establishment of ‘Women in Business Banking’, which aims to unlock the potential of women in business. She has also participated in the GenYsis programme; a group of young millennials that have been chosen from across Africa to define what the Future Bank of 2025 will be.

In addition, as one of the co-founders of Mbewu Movement, her vision is to empower, enable and energise women.


Bronwyn Corbett, 34

COO and CFO at Delta Property Fund

Bronwyn and her partner acquired their first asset six years ago. Owing to market conditions they listed the portfolio in November 2012 consisting of 20 properties at R2,6 billion.

In exactly one and a half years they have had a growth in the portfolio to over R9 billion consisting of 101 properties in South Africa represented in every province. In 2014, they went on to list a second fund, Delta International, with a fund size of US$226 million focused on Africa real estate outside South Africa.

Bronwyn has been integral to achieving a Level 2 B-BBEE rating, currently the best-rated company in the listed property environment.

Dheren Singh, 34

Executive Assistant to the CEO / Corporate Finance and Commercial Executive of Value+ Nettwork

At the age of 30, Dheren was a dealmaker in the Strategic Client team at Standard Chartered Bank with a mandate to conclude high-profile investment banking transactions for the bank’s top 50 clients in Africa. He is now Executive Assistant to experienced businessman William Kirsh (CEO of Value+ Nettwork, ex-CEO and founder of Primedia). He also serves as the corporate finance and commercial executive to the group and has successfully concluded acquisitions of two high-growth technology companies: The Loyalty Box and Colony.

Recently he has been appointed as a non-executive director of four companies in the Value+ Nettwork Group, with a view to becoming a shareholder.

Donald Fisher-Jeffes, 33

Director CA(SA) at Webber Wentzel

Donald has recently been promoted to director at Webber Wentzel, arguably one of South Africa’s leading tax practices, advising on some of the largest corporate transactions in South Africa.

Outside work, Donald is vice-chairman of Central Johannesburg TVET Colleges and chairman of the council’s finance committee. CJC is one of the largest TVET colleges in South Africa offering a wide range of qualifications, from NQF Level 2 to NQF Level 4. It also offers National Technical Education (NATED) programmes to new NC (V) skills courses and learnerships. CJC has campuses in Parktown, Alexandra, Ellis Park, Crown Mines, Langlaagte and Troyeville. Donald has been instrumental in re-establishing good corporate governance at CJC.

Dwayne Smith, 33

Vice-president at Musa Capital

Leading three social impact investment projects in the agriculture and construction sectors, Dwayne aims to develop and integrate black-owned and managed SMMEs within private equity portfolio company supply chains by providing skills training, working capital financing, and business formalisation.

The aim is to create sustainable small businesses and bridge the gap between the formal and informal sectors with R180 million allocated to the projects over a three-year period.

In the first year, the projects enrolled 25 SMMEs and created more than 200 jobs, largely drawing on rural communities. The initiative aims to foster true sustainable empowerment from the grassroots up.


Evita Nyandoro, 31

Vice-president: PC Governance and Controls at Barclays Africa CIB

Evita is responsible for the review and implementation of governance and controls in the corporate and investment banking arm of Barclays Africa. Prior to this she worked for Santander UK, where she was responsible for liquidity and funding reporting for the group with a £300 billion balance sheet.

Evita sits on the Inspections Committee for the Independent Regulatory Board of Auditors (IRBA) and also sits on the board of RBA Holdings, a JSE AltX-listed company, as an independent non-executive director, chairman of the social and ethics committee, and member of the audit and risk committee.

Evita is passionate about regulation, compliance, risk and controls and how the positive impact of more women in leadership will lead to the advancement of the African continent.

Francis Kwahene, 28

Head of Accounting Department at Walter Sisulu University

Immediately after completing articles, Francis was hired as head of the Department of Accounting, at the

age of 25.

With Francis at the helm, Walter Sisulu University began its drive towards SAICA re-accreditation of its Bcompt degree three years ago.

When Francis first began working on the re-accreditation programme, the department consisted of only two CAs(SA), himself included. In the space of three years Francis has grown this team to include 12 young CAs(SA).

His motivation and encouragement of both staff and students has resulted in their programme being one of the best-performing Thuthuka programmes in the country.

Gregory van der Watt, 31

Director of Finance of the ELMA Philanthropies Services (Africa)

Over the past five years Greg has played a leading role in servicing the ELMA Group of Foundations to become the largest child-focused private philanthropy in the health and education sectors in South Africa.

ELMA Group is a highly regarded philanthropic investor in 16 Southern and Eastern African countries.

ELMA’s portfolios have grown from 22 active investments in 2009 to 129 active investments in 2014, with a further 47 recommended in the first half of 2015. By nature the ELMA Philanthropies Services is focused on social impact investment, therefore Greg is responsible for the finances of a large portfolio of high impact and strategic social investments.

Cuan Chelin, 33

Founder and CEO of Super-Brands Holdings

Cuan Chelin has built a successful group in retail, distribution and e-commerce, including a sports betting business which has paid out over R1 billion in winnings and a national toy retail chain.

Cuan has featured on the cover of Entrepreneur magazine as well as in FinWeek, the Sunday Times, the Financial Mail and other noteworthy publications. He presented at various national conferences including ‘Building Brands in Emerging Economies’ and will be a guest speaker at Retail Congress Africa 2015.

He is involved in various corporate social investment (CSI) projects, more recently with Liv Village in KwaZulu-Natal which provides holistic residential care for orphaned children.

Herman Viviers, 33

Senior Lecturer at North-West University

A man passionate about his students, Herman has received a National Commendation Award from the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and the Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa (HELTASA) in November 2014 as part of the National Teaching Excellence Awards for 2014.

In April 2014, Herman received an Institutional Teaching Excellence Award from North-West University (NWU) with being selected as the best lecturer on the Potchefstroom campus of the NWU.

Another award he received was the Institutional Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence for being the top lecturer between 15 faculties  across  all three campuses of NWU, including Mafikeng and Vaal Triangle.

KC Rottok Chesaina, 34

Consultant and Entrepreneur  

KC is the brains behind the inaugural SA Professional Services Awards in 2014, which determined both the best professional services firm and best professional in South Africa from various professional services fields.

He owns The African Professional magazine and has been interviewed by numerous well-known media outlets. During 2014, KC went on to become a TV host with a programme looking at developments around the world.

He was also a technical partner of RSM Betty & Dickson (Jhb), a JSE-accredited firm part of the seventh-largest network of international firms – RSM International. He subsequently founded Mueni Management Consulting (Pty) Ltd.

Henico Schalekamp, 31

Partner at PKF (VGA) Chartered Accountants Solutions

Being the managing partner, head of corporate finance and international liaison officer at PKF (VGA) Chartered Accountants in Johannesburg, Henico has played a fundamental role in the negotiation for his firm to join the PKF International brand. He has further being instrumental in adding two new member firms to the PKF network resulting in the firm now focusing more on corporate clients and international referrals from other countries. Henico has assisted previously disadvantaged accounting students with their studies by offering them financial assistance as well as intellectual capital and guidance in order for them to be successful in their studies.

Louw Barnardt, 27

Founder and Managing Director of Outsourced CFO

A driven entrepreneur, Louw founded and built up financial management boutique Outsourced CFO. Louw’s initiative is challenging the way entrepreneurs view CAs(SA) in that high-level financial inputs are made accessible to private companies and start-ups helping them unlock growth.

Outsourced CFO now boasts big clients nationally and internationally from Australia, Europe and the USA. It was recently appointed as the national financial management service provider to Microsoft’s BizSpark program, thus enabling Louw to mentor to their exciting portfolio of technology, IT and innovation companies country-wide.

Under the Outsourced CFO mantle, Louw hosts various financial workshops for entrepreneurs free of charge.

Gugulethu Sigasa, 31

Chief Executive Officer at Ncube Investment Holdings

Gugulethu recently started Ncube Investment Holdings providing professional financial and tax advisory services as well as venturing into the renewable and sustainable energy operations.

Gugu is the chairperson of the Johannesburg branch of the Association for the Advancement of Black Accountants of Southern Africa (ABASA), an organisation she has served in various capacities. As a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, she has taken the initiative to build a residence facility for students studying at the Tshwane University of Technology who do not have sufficient funds.

She has also founded the Women’s Business Hub, a company aimed at linking up women-owned businesses across the African continent.


Marc Sevitz, 31

CFO and Director of TaxTim

In mid-2011, Marc and a friend (now business partner) entered a competition to be part of a start-up incubator being established in Cape Town by Google.

Their idea was to develop an online digital tax assistant. Being selected as one of only three of the 650 applications led to them successfully establishing their company TaxTim, the world’s first consumer digital tax assistant.

Since 2011, they have helped over 1,4 million South African taxpayers have their tax questions answered and understand, complete or ultimately file their tax returns.

Other big achievements for Marc have been the integration into the SARS eFiling platform and most recently, expansion into Namibia via a joint business relationship with PwC.

Marion Kearns, 33

Marketing Director at Home of Living Brands (Pty) Ltd

Marion was appointed as marketing director of Home of Living Brands, a subsidiary of the Bidvest Group, in 2014. She is not only the first female director of the company, but also the youngest director in the company’s 95-year history.

Marion is responsible for the management of the various business divisions within the company and her role encompasses formulation of business strategy, product selection, retail execution and management of financial performance. Marion plays a key role in driving company culture and staff engagement within the business.

Mbongeni Madonsela, 31

Private Equity Transactor at RMB Private / RMB Ventures

Mbongeni is a private equity transactor at RMB Ventures and was previously with Brait SA. He is a founding member of the Tirisano Foundation, an institution he and a group of other young professionals founded in 2011.

The foundation has been working with Grade 8 to 12 pupils in Soweto for over three years now with a focus on increasing the number of professionals and entrepreneurs emanating from Soweto. Tirisano has seen its first group of matriculants enter tertiary education this year.

In-between serving on boards of RMB’s portfolio companies, Mbongeni also serves as an executive member of Tirisano responsible for partnerships and fund raising.


Mulalo Martin Mudau, 34

Managing Director at Harvest Chartered Accountants

Mulalo left his career as a corporate financier to pursue his entrepreneurial vision of establishing a group of companies that offering a wide-ranging service to growing businesses while creating employment and building Harvest into a top brand.

This led to the establishment of the Harvest Group, which operates seven companies in Insurance, IT, branding and education.

In 2009 Martin founded the first company, which was later rebranded to Harvest Chartered Accountants in 2011 and now has three CA(SA) directors and 35 employees, and is a SAICA training office.

Martin serves on two USAASA (Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa) board committees. He is one of the new trustees that resuscitated a school in the informal settlement of Ramaphosa which had been shut down after allegations of fraud.

Harvest as a major benefactor provides food for learners and financial assistance to teachers as the school has no government funding.

Aubrey Dali, 34

Financial Controller: Commercial at Simba/PepsiCo

Along with heading two departments at Simba/PepsiCo Aubrey is also head of finance and accounting tutor for Motheo Education, a registered NPO that focuses on learner support for Soweto learners.

Aubrey co-founded #IamAfrica, a movement of citizens tackling the causes and results of xenophobia. In the workplace, he was a pillar lead for the PepsiCo Great Place to Work employee engagement initiative which won the PepsiCo Europe Diversity and Inclusion Award.

He is also a mentor under the PepsiCo Mosaic programme for disadvantaged youth. Being co-founder of The Hub Johannesburg, they have created space in the Johannesburg CBD for social entrepreneurs to collaborate and create solutions for a better South Africa.

Pamella Marlowe, 33

Senior Financial Manager at Barloworld Motor Retail

Pamella’s most recent career highlight is being made CFO of RO Metrics Trading (Pty) Ltd, a subsidiary of Barloworld South Africa, while still filling her role as senior financial manager at Barloworld Motor Retail Head Office.

Convincing a panel of esteemed judges that irrespective of her height she is a role model saw her to being selected out of 100 semi-finalists to be one of the 25 Mrs South Africa Finalists for 2015.

She is associated with Ependy Angels, an organisation that seeks to raise awareness and support around childhood cancer. She recently hosted a Youth Day Drive initiative in Alexandra.

Pieter (Cobus) Grové, 33

CFO at DigiCore Holdings Limited

At the age of 31 Cobus Grové was appointed CFO of DigiCore Holdings Limited which is listed on the main board of the JSE and has an international footprint in more than 55 countries. Since starting his employment at the company, Cobus has seen its share price increase with 225%.

In May 2015, Cobus was nominated as CFO of the year for the best turnaround strategy implemented for the year, young CFO of the year, and compliance CFO of the year. He won the category of compliance CFO of the year with Mervin King handing him his award.

Cobus is a standing member of the SAICA accounting practice council (APC), JSE Financial Reporting Investigation Panel (FRIP) and the SAICA ad hoc committee of corporate law.

Pieter van Niekerk, 30

Group Deputy CFO at Ascendis Health Group Limited

Right from the start Pieter has been involved in the listing of Ascendis Health on the main board of the JSE. At the age of 29 he was promoted to deputy CFO and is currently overseeing operational issues as the deputy CFO in a listed group of 60 subsidiaries,

During the course of his career Pieter has also managed teams of 100+ in multiple locations and time zones and has been successful in achieving a working environment with a high-performance team.

Being an acquisition expert, he has also been involved in 70 successful integrations and tax structuring of these transactions.

Other brands that they have been involved in are Pick n Pay, Food Lovers Market, Engen, Total, and Liquor City.

Rayhaan Jhetam, 34

Business Performance Specialist at Barclays ABSA

Rayhaan worked in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for six years. He joined a newly established Islamic bank, Al Hilal Bank, and worked closely with senior management to execute and deliver key development milestones. It was an exciting, challenging and unique opportunity for Rayhaan to be part of establishing a new bank which rapidly made a footprint in a competitive environment of 52 banks. Within a period of four years, the bank was ranked among the Top 10 among UAE banks and Top 3 among Islamic banks.

He set up and led two departments at the bank and formulated the fire-year strategic plan and developmental agenda which included social, community and people development. Rayhaan also set up the balance sheet management department and worked on several investment banking mandates.

Ryan Lee Smith, 31

Partner and Director at Nolands Johannesburg

Ryan was appointed a partner of Nolands Johannesburg at the age of 28. He is active across all aspects of the firm’s internal and client facing operation.

Since the age of 23 he has been part of an investment venture that has built a portfolio of residential property and entering the commercial side. He has an active interest in his wife’s crèche business, which is poised for further acquisition and growth. Ryan has also helped his father in successfully launching and running a landscaping company.

Ryan Smit, 32

Co-founder of EpicCo

EpicCo specialises in providing outsourced solutions to primarily franchise businesses that includes payroll, tax and management accounts.

A highlight for Ryan has been Chesa Nyama franchise making it compulsory for all their franchisees to use EpicCo services. They are now currently servicing over 100 Chesa Nyama franchisees with EpicCo’s staff complement doubling in 2014.

Ryan has also successfully launched EpicRecruit, a division of EpicCo, which is a specialist recruitment firm.

Sangeeta Kallen, 34

Partner at Nkonki

Coming from a small town in Mpumalanga, little did Sangeeta Kallen realise that at the age of 29 she would achieve her dream of being audit partner, at Nkonki.

When auditing the UN Development Programme in 2006 and 2007 in New York she gained insight into multinational entities. She also championed the first guidance paper for the Public Sector Audit Committee Forum and currently is part of the SAICA IFRS 9 implementation working group. She is a board member and chairs the audit committee of Stratcorp Ltd, an AltX-listed investment holding company, since 2014. Sangeeta is involved in a variety of CSI projects focused on the well-being of children.

Stephanie Venter, 30

Senior Lecturer and Departmental Community Engagement Coordinator at UJ

Stephanie has founded and facilitated a host of noteworthy initiatives, one being the launch of the #UJGr8Deb8. The #UJGr8Deb8 is a second-year project for UJ’s BCom accounting students which equips students to be leaders in the workplace. Groups are upskilled to the point of open, unregulated and professional debate on relevant ethical dilemmas.

As a two-term Vodacom Change the World Volunteer at the Kliptown Youth Programme (KYP), she started the KYP Career Centre with the vision to empower students to be architects of their own exit strategy out of poverty. Stephanie founded the KYP Bursary Fund that currently supports 11 full-time students. KYP has secured a R4,3 million partnership with the Service SETA for professional training.

Taki Nkhumeleni, 33

Projects Executive of Shell South Africa

Taki joined Shell South Africa in May 2013 as projects executive with a role that includes country strategy, M&A activities, finance support for operations, and B-BBEE transformation.

Prior to joining Shell, Taki was with Deloitte Africa Consulting where she led and delivered on complex financial projects in different African countries including reviewing and designing the operating models for pension funds, commercial banks, and multilateral development banks.

During articles, she rolled out the sales and distribution / supply chain planning project for the SABMiller depots in the Western and Eastern Cape.

Thobeka Ntshiza, 34

Financial Executive at Aveng Infraset

Aveng Infraset is the biggest business unit (in excess of R1 billion) within Aveng Manufacturing. When Thobeka stepped into the male-dominated environment as financial executive, she quickly demonstrated her ability to lead the company financially. She has delivered a high standard of work that is held in great esteem by the Aveng Manufacturing operating group exco.

Through successfully changing the mindsets of factory managers across 12 locations to look at finance as strategic business partners, she has improved the quality of earnings and reporting compliance.

Trevor Gosling, 33

Co-founder and CEO of Lulalend

Trevor has recently launched Lulalend, Africa’s first online automated provider of business funding. This comes off the back of the sale of his first entrepreneurial venture, 5ounces, to Naspers – one of the world’s biggest media companies.

Backed by both local and international investors, Lulalend is helping solve the SME financing shortfall on the continent. The company was selected as a finalist in the Innotribe Challenge, a globally renowned financial services competition. Trevor is involved in a number of initiatives to help both formal and informal trading entrepreneurs. One of these is Paradigm Shift, where he mentored entrepreneurs to assist them with developing their businesses.

Wiets Wiehahn, 33

Group Financial Director at Studio 88

At Studio 88, South Africa’s largest  branded clothing retailer in men’s clothes, Wiets has built a world-class finance function that had been non-existent when he started four years ago.

Studio 88 operates from more than 300 outlets and Wiets helped set up subsidiaries in five African countries. He has successfully facilitated, negotiated and implemented a private equity transaction between Studio 88 and Rand Merchant Bank, including a management buy-in.

He is driving other initiatives such as establishing a social and ethics committee, formalising and implementing a structured staff training programme, and setting up football sponsorships.

Wuanita Moore, 35

Director of Boshoff & Moore

Being diagnosed with seropositive rheumatoid arthritis in 2011, Wuanita realised she needed to move forward to achieve her career goals with more urgency. After resigning as audit manager of BGR Jacobs & Partners in 2012, she joined Etienne Boshoff as his business partner.

In 2013 they established Boshoff & Moore Incorporated, an SMP firm that delivers audit, accounting, tax and consulting services. They have since doubled their team and their client base has steadily grown with 15% a year, maintaining a stable increase of billable hours of between 16% and 18% per year.

Wuanita is also a member of the Boland Belange Groep: a discussion group for CAs(SA) in practice as SMPs in the Boland District.

Zafeer Nagdee, 27

Senior Lecturer in Accountancy at the University of Johannesburg

Zafeer’s most recent career highlight lies in the development of South Africa’s first accredited thought leadership programme for prospective CAs(SA). Being the first of its kind, Zafeer’s work was acknowledged through the Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Award. Last year his work also featured at the International Congress on Economy, Finance and Business in Japan.

Beyond academia, he currently serves as a business assessor on the entrepreneurship development programme of one of South Africa’s largest welfare organisations. He is also the founder and CEO of Zinvesco Holdings (Pty) Ltd – an investment company strategically placed within the country’s realty sector.

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