Phindi Kema, 40, is the woman leading an aggressive bid to take control of Durbans Greyville racecourse. Picture:Bonile Bam

Phindi Kema, 40, the woman leading an aggressive bid to take control of Durban’s Greyville racecourse, joined the horse racing industry six years ago.

No stranger to controversy, Kema and her Africa Race Group (ARG) have previously lodged a complaint with Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, asking her to investigate how Phumelela Gaming and Leisure had been granted exclusive licensing rights to manage horse racing in Gauteng without a transparent, public or parliamentary process. Her complaint was joined by the SA Grooms Association.

Kema has been described as one of SA’s best commercial horse breeders and the only black woman in the business.

She reportedly wanted to buy Arlington racecourse in Port Elizabeth, but objected to Phumelela’s reported R50-million asking price, saying it had paid only R1 for the asset.

Kema grew up on a farm outside Frankfort, near King William’s Town.

A farmer from the Eastern Cape, she also grows lucerne and runs a citrus farm, a small dairy and an adventure camp.

Her interests are centred on the Iph’ Intombi stud and citrus farm in the heart of Addo.

The farm is reported to have more than 40 hectares of planted citrus, including lemons, navels, caracaras (a variety of red orange), turkeys (a type of naartjie), novas and valencias.

Kema stepped into horse breeding when she bought neighbour Elwyn Phillips’s farm, the Elandskraal stud.

With it she inherited eight mares, six yearlings and eight foals.

She bought two more mares to add to the stable. As she could not afford an “expensive” stud manager, she had to manage the horses herself with her staff.

While running the farm is a full-time job for Kema, she prides herself most on being a mom to her daughters – aged 10, 12 and 17 – who are all at Eastern Cape boarding schools.

She has now set her sights on Greyville racecourse, which is operated by gaming and betting company Gold Circle.

On Wednesday night she told The Mercury that she was an entrepreneur with a social conscience.

“I would like to see Greyville become a tool to achieve a social impact for the industry (of horse racing) and South Africa,” she said. - The Mercury