Moulding the future of SA business
Co-operation is a key word for Sacob's new president, writes MARCIA KLEIN
He said this week the Sacob presidency was a one year term only, so "I have to select and focus in terms of how I can add value. I see my role as a link or bridge between past and future, business and government, white and black."
Khoza has been involved in organisations including the Black Management Forum (as deputy president), Fabcos, the Cape and Johannesburg Chambers of Commerce and Sacob, where he was on the management board.
He says SA business people "come from a false belief that we had different destinies and we need to acknowledge that the future is not an extension of the past. We can either roll up our sleeves, dirty our hands and give some shape to the future or we can fold our arms and collide with the future."
The mudslinging between business and government needs to stop, Khoza says. SA business needs to be world-class competitive, it must improve productivity, be technologically innovative, improve levels of customer satisfaction and invest heavily in human capital, particularly training.
On the possibility of working towards merging the various black and white business organisations, Khoza says: "There is no option - SA has limited resources and we cannot afford duplication of effort. We need to facilitate a rationalisation of business organisations or at least establish a way of working together. My challenge is to facilitate the meeting of the minds."
Khoza was born and brought up in Germiston. His father, a general worker, was sickly so his mother took up the challenge of bringing up seven children by entering the informal sector. "We bought and sold everything from peanuts to mealies and mageu - this was my best marketing school."
He went to Fuman secondary school in Kathlehong and St Augustines in Zululand and then to the University of Zululand to study a Bachelor of Science. Although he passed his first and second year, he could not afford to continue.
Khoza's first job in the formal sector was in 1969, when he started work at Barlow subsidiary Robor Limited. In 1971, he went to Colgate Palmolive as a sales rep. He later joined Shell SA, and in 1979 he was appointed as national sales manager for Nestlé, responsible for the black market.
In 1987 he returned to Shell as market development manager; in 1989 he was promoted and transferred to the Western Cape as regional manager, and in 1993 was made general manager, public affairs.
At the time of the 1994 election, he was seconded to the Independent Electoral Commission as chief director of communication at the World Trade Centre - an experience which he considers a milestone in his career.
Nestlé then lured him back as director of human resources and corporate affairs.
Nestlé has 6 000 people, 11 factories and five sales and distribution offices in SA.
Khoza is married to Thandi and has two children. He is also a preacher and president of the Holy Apostle Church.