BCX chief died ahead of crucial meeting

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Independent Newspapers

BCX chief executive Benjamin Mophatlane and his brother Isaac built the company together. Photo: Nonhlanhla Kambule-Makgati

Johannesburg - Business Connexion Group (BCX) chief executive Benjamin Mophatlane passed away on Wednesday night, before a meeting with Telkom chief executive Sipho Maseko was scheduled to take place.

Mophatlane was to meet Maseko on Wednesday night when he reportedly went into cardiac arrest.

A Telkom individual close to the developments said: “The meeting did not take place. He got ill before the meeting took place. The chief executive got there to meet with him but it never happened.”

Mophatlane died at the age of 41, and was the co-founder of BCX. The company was subject to a R2.67 billion takeover by Telkom, and it is not yet clear if his death will throw a spanner in the works of an imminent deal.

Greg Cort, an equity analyst at Electus Equity Specialists, said he did not believe that the deal would suffer as a result of Mophatlane’s untimely death.

“I do not think so, he has been at the forefront of it and there are a lot of capable individuals in management and a strong executive committee to see the company through.

“This is very tragic because he was a very likable character,” Cort said.

In a stock exchange news announcement yesterday, BCX confirmed the news that he had suffered a cardiac arrest.

“As chief executive, he left an indelible mark on the company, the employees of the group and our clients.

“Benjamin was instrumental in building BCX into South Africa’s leading IT [information technology] company and led BCX business activity in the rest of Africa,” it said.

Mophatlane brought leadership, vision, integrity and esteemed contribution to the company. He is survived by his wife Abena Saah and their three children, his mother, sister and twin brother Isaac, and the entire Mophatlane family.

“We have lost an irreplaceable brother, colleague, leader, husband and father. Ben was a leader with a big heart and who considered wisely decisions in all facets of his life.

“He had impeccable judgement and most of all, was a man of deep integrity and honour. His death is a great tragic loss to the company and the South African business community,” Tony Ruiters, the chairman of BCX, said.

Maseko said Mophatlane was a larger-than-life character who embraced life with passion and enthusiasm.

He added: “His deep humanity shone through in the way he interacted with people, be it colleagues, staff, business associates, family or friends. It was always a pleasure to meet him.”

He highlighted that Mophatlane and his brother grew BCX into a formidable organisation. “The story of BCX, Ben and Isaac his brother, represents one of the most remarkable South African stories of success, resilience and the will to win.”

Bloomberg reports that deputy chief executive Vanessa Olver was appointed to replace Mophatlane on an interim basis at a board meeting yesterday, according to a BCX statement. A chartered accountant, Olver worked for Deloitte LLP in Chicago and later for shipping firm P&O Nedlloyd and insurer Aviva. Olver was the finance director of Standard Bank Africa before joining BCX.

BCX shares gained 1.64 percent to R6.18 on the JSE. - Business Report


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