FOR the new dealer principal of Market Square Volkswagen in Uitenhage, it was like coming home when he started his job last week.
Simphiwe Nghona, who was also appointed as a director of the Kelston Motor Group, returned to the Eastern Cape after building a career for himself in the motor-financing industry in Gauteng.
“My father was born in Uitenhage and my whole family still lives here. My father, who has since passed away, was one of the first black specialists and worked from his surgery in New Brighton for years. In those days he was forced to work as a missionary doctor in order to practise.”
For Nghona, whose career includes more than 15 years with the WesBank asset finance group, it was a great opportunity when he was offered not only the dealer principal position at Market Square in Uitenhage but also directorship in the Kelston Motor Group.
“I was blown away by their level of commitment to transformation, which goes beyond simple compliance,” he said.
He chaired the Equal Education Forum for two terms at WesBank and was also selected to take part in an international executive development programme through the banking sector education and training authority (Bank/Seta).
Nghona spent two months in Canada learning about the banking industry. “At the end of the programme, we had to do a presentation to all the banking CEOs and I did my study on transformation in the banking sector,” he said.
Nghona started his career in 1997 at WesBank in Greenacres in the customer accounts asset financing section. He was appointed junior manager in 2001 and at 26 became branch manager of WesBank in King William’s Town. Nghona moved to Johannesburg in 2004, where he filled various executive positions.
Moving from motor financing to the multifaceted management of a dealership – with sales, parts, the workshop and financing all forming a unit – Nghona said he was eager to learn the different sides of the business and that his “fanatical” love of cars and people would come in handy.
The cherry on top for this St Andrew’s College matriculant is to give his children the opportunity to grow up in the Eastern Cape.
“It is great to know they will grow up close to my family and have this quality of life. To be able to learn their home language [Xhosa] in school and to receive good-quality education is a blessing,” said Nghona, who for now is still commuting between the Eastern Cape and Johannesburg.