Management

The company is run by husband and wife team Sipho and Fortunate Mdanda – old hats in the world of Investments.  Both are at the forefront on South Africa’s new wave of Black industrialists.
Together they bring extensive Banking and Corporate Management experience from blue chip companies such as FNB, Pfizer Laboratories, Alexander Forbes, SAA, SARS and City Power.
With them at the helm, Kholeka Engineering enjoys active leadership, expertise and innovation as it contributes to the birth of Africa’s industrialists.
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Sipho Mdanda

Sipho holds a master’s degree in business leadership (MBL) from the University of South Africa. He also holds an Honours BCom from the University of South Africa.  He pursued a PhD in Entrepreneurship with the University of Pretoria and his thesis was on the Mentorship and Entrepreneurial Activity which is currently on hold. He started his working career as a teacher at Vukuzakhe High School in Umlazi from 1992 to 1994 where he tough Accounting and Business Economics to Std 8-10 students.  In 1995 he left the teaching profession to join the commercial industry and career with Sasol in Secunda, In 1996 he joined Iscor in Pretoria, Transnet (Promat) in 1998 and the FirstRand Group in 2001. Within these organizations, he moved from a buyer position, to strategic sourcing, management, senior management and executive management positions and worked along leading consulting firms including McKinsey and Gemini Consultants.

He has influenced thought processes within the iSiphoCapital proposition having gained experience in Supply Chain Management, SMME Funding, Emerging Contractor Finance, Structured Finance and BEE Funding having played executive roles in financial, mining, parastatal and government sectors.  He spent 7 years in Leveraged Finance with FNB where he gained immense experience in the field of deal sourcing, structuring, negotiation and presenting credit papers to various committees within the Bank.  His predominant focus was on acquisition finance, management buying/out, balance sheet restructuring, startup finance and franchise finance with senior and mezzanine debt finance as funding instruments.

In 2013 Sipho left the Bank to pursue business interest culminating to the acquisition of Kholeka Engineering (Pty) Ltd in 2015 where he currently serve as the Managing Director. He is consolidating his experience to grow iSipho and Kholeka through various organic and acquisition growth strategies with a view of creating sustainable businesses with sustainable free cash flow as the main strategic thrust. He played a pivotal role in driving the management buyout of Smith Capital Equipment (Pty) Ltd in 2015 where he serves as the Chairman.

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Fortunate Mdanda

Fortunate holds a Bachelor of Accounting Science degree, Honours Bachelor of Commerce in Auditing and Masters in Business Administration from the University of South Africa – School of Business Leadership. She has gained vast experience in internal controls, risk, auditing, tax and compliance from Pfizer Laboratories, Alexander Forbes, South African Airways, City Power, South African Revenue Service and The Office of the Auditor-General. In her recent role at Pfizer, she provided support to develop and maintain a strong and practical risk awareness, compliance and control culture and environment; provided in-market support, guidance, and consultation to help drive efficiencies; proactively identified emerging risks and strategies and built strong relationship with key stakeholders.

She currently serves as a member of the Audit Committee at The Department of Arts and Culture, Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa and Driver’s License Card Account – Department of Transport.  She is also a member of The Institute of Internal Auditors South Africa (IIASA). Fortunate is the Chairwoman for both Isipho and Kholeka Engineering, she will be joining Smith Capital as the CEO effective 2 November 2015.

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Les Uppink

Les Uppink was employed by Henred Fruehauf as General Manager of the Natal facility from 1984 until 1994 when he left to become a partner in MAK bodies (which was later sold and was relocated to Pietermaritzburg). As a result, Kholeka Engineering was formed and has since been acquired by Isipho Capital holdings – and Uppink who has over 40 years experience in the Industrial, Commercial and Agricultural trailer and body building industry – that encompasses design, manufacturing, sales and general management disciplines.

He’s been appointed as the General Manager to inject his technical, managerial and general management experience, driving Kholeka to new heights. Les is also passionate about mentoring young artisans, providing much needed guidance and experience-based learning to South Africa, mitigating against the brain drain we’re currently experiencing.