Leading with humility

Leading with humility

MASERU-At the helm of Sekhametsi Investment Consortium is an eight-member board entrusted with steering the ship through a business terrain made dicier by the disruptive innovations, evolving trends and unpredictable shifts in the economy.

The board members are however quick to point out that they are not bosses but mere shareholders and members of the team entrusted to help make decisions. Elected by the more than 500 members, their role is not only to protect the investments but also to grow shareholders’ values through prudent investment.

They are staunchly accountable to the shareholders who appointed and put their trust in them. This week we feature two of the directors. If Matjato Moteane represents the Sekhametsi legacy, then Naleli Maphathe is a reflection of its future. Yet together they march forward, learning from each other and growing the company.

MATJATO Moteane, 62, was one of the founders and the first chairman of the Sekhametsi Investment Consortium.
Moteane qualified as an architect in 1984 and worked for a practice he would eventually acquire three years later. At 42 he became the Vodacom Lesotho chairman, a position he held from 2002 to 2019.

He was the first chairman of the Lerotholi Polytechnic College when it was transformed into an autonomous institution.
Moteane also became the chairman of the Lesotho Council of Higher Education when it was established.
In 2008 he was appointed to the Nedbank board and became the chairman from 2010 to 2020. A stickler for corporate governance rules and ethics, Moteane has been in charge of Sekhametsi’s operations since its inception in 2000.

During those two decades, the consortium has grown into a M1.2 billion business with interests in telecommunications, real estate, asset management and textile manufacturing.
Vodacom, in which Sekhametsi owns 20 percent, has grown into a M5 billion telecommunications company with the widest network coverage, 1.6 million subscribers and controls 80 percent of the market.
He says what inspired him to be part of Sekhametsi was a passion for economic transformation in Lesotho.

“I realised that it was unhelpful to just complain that foreigners are owning businesses in Lesotho. We had to do something to participate in the economy,” he says.
The idea, he says, was inspired by a prominent and elder man who was his friend.
“He said in life you must decide if you want to be the person who switches the light on or the one who owns the generator. I wanted to be the one who owns the generator that powers the light.”

Moteane and fellow shareholders have been “generators” for the past two decades, steadily building a company through prudent and calculated investments into different sectors of the economy.
The recent acquisition of a 30 percent stake in Afri-Expo, is their first foray into the manufacturing sector but is certainly not the last.
A man of faith, Moteane derives his inspiration from a Lesotho Evangelical Church hymn that says: If you send me to do a task, give me the strength to do my best.

“I just want to do my best for my family, the shareholders, partners and my country,” Moteane says.
He says the mission now is to drive Sekhametsi’s growth and deliver more value to the shareholders.
“The future is exciting for Sekhametsi,” says the avid golfer who also likes gardening.
Naleli Maphathe

Naleli Maphathe joined the Sekhametsi Investment Consortium board in 2015. The 38-year-old entrepreneur has however been part of Sekhametsi since 2000 when his mother bought him shares.

He increased his equity in 2009 after coming back from school.
Maphathe says the past five years on the board taught him the importance of prudence and non-linear management style. The trick, he explains, is to hire competent people who are the right fit for the job.
“That way you can trust them to make the right decisions and deliver in their respective roles without micromanagement. You give the people a chance and leeway to exert themselves to the best of their ability,” he says.
His time on the board has also helped him understand the Sekhametsi business model and vision because most of the fellow directors were the founding shareholders.

Maphathe says the opportunity to increase his shareholding in the company was a dream come true.
“It was about patriotism. The dream of having a Basotho-owned company doing great things and changing the business landscape in the country.”
Maphathe brings the ‘youth element’ as well as an eye for branding, marketing and advertising to the board.

He draws these from his career in the same field. Maphathe owns Splash Printers, a printing, advertising and marketing agency in Maseru. In addition, he helps his mother at Tripharm Manufacturing, in Maputsoe, with corporate strategy. He also assists his father with real estate management in Mafeteng.
Maphathe is driven “by change and working with it”.

“The world is always changing. We need leadership adaptable to the ever-changing business environment. Only then can we conquer the challenges that change brings and turn them into opportunities to innovate and grow ourselves, businesses, communities and the country”.
During his free time, Maphathe likes music, with a specific taste in Deep House and Hip-Hop. The new crop of Lesotho-Hop has attracted his interest as well.
He also rears rabbits.

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