Pivotal role at new auto firm in SA

Batandwa Mdyesha

Ex-Mthatha pupil is chief financial officer

Incoming Chinese automotive investor BAIC South Africa has appointed Eastern Cape-educated finance professional Batandwa Mdyesha into the pivotal role of chief financial officer.

While Mdyesha has already made public appearances on behalf of the company, her appointment has now been officially announced by BAIC SA – the South Africa-based joint venture company of China’s fifth-largest stateowned vehicle manufacturer BAIC International.

“BAIC continues to impress at a global level through its influence, scale and capabilities,” Mdyesha said.

“The company was recently listed in the Fortune Global 500 for the fifth consecutive year.

“The latest ranking fully reflects the powerful growth momentum of BAIC, which will also be felt on the African continent, through export.”

“The major construction contracts [at the Port Elizabeth plant site] are in an advanced stage of being awarded, with a portion aimed at SMMEs.

“At present, we are working hard to ensure that the greenfields investment of our new automotive plant has a meaningful impact and effect in Nelson Mandela Bay,” she said.

BAIC SA, in which South Africa’s Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) is a minority but significant shareholder, is in the process of constructing an ultimately multibillion-rand vehicle assembly plant in the Coega Special Economic Zone.

The automotive investment – which is expected to see the start of vehicle production next year – is considered the largest into the country in decades.

Mdyesha will be based at BAIC SA’s head office in Johannesburg.

Before joining BAIC SA, Mdyesha was the chief finance officer of state-owned mining company African Exploration Mining and Finance Corporation between 2012 and this year.

Between 2009 and 2012, she was the manager for financial reporting and compliance at Eskom.

Between 2002 and 2008, she worked in the private sector. where her career included a stint as finance manager at Freightdynamics and various other roles – including Special Services group manager and doing articles at Deloitte’s Cape Town, Johannesburg and Amsterdam offices.

She obtained her senior certificate at Zingisa High School in Mthatha and a Bachelor of Science (Statistics) degree from the University of the Free State.

She holds various other qualifications including an Accounts Conversion Course at UCT and Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) degree from UKZN. She qualified as a chartered accountant in 2008, and in 2014 she completed the GIBS Strategic Leadership Programme.

“We look forward to welcoming Mdyesha to our South African operation. We wish her well in this senior leadership role, and look forward to her strategic and leadership contributions to make our South African and African operations successful,” BAIC International vicepresident Li Xiaofan said.

The BAIC SA plant is expected to generate about 800 new jobs in the metro, while an estimated 10 000 jobs are expected to be created through its automotive value chain.

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