Bay woman makes history at Continental

THE first woman to be appointed to the executive level in the history of Continental Tyre South Africa values education and integrity in the business environment.

Sivuyile Boqwana has impressed her employers at Bay tyre manufacturer CTSA so much since she joined the company a year ago as legal compliance manager that she not only sits on the CTSA board as company secretary but was also recently appointed to the company's executive committee.

It is the first time in the company's 28-year history in South Africa that a woman has been appointed to the executive level. Boqwana, mother of a five-year-old and a three-year-old and member of a well-known Bay legal family, said she looked forward to the new challenge.

"I am honoured for having been afforded the opportunity to be part of such a large organisation's executive team. It is usually not easy for a woman to make inroads in a traditionally male-dominated industry," said Grahamstown-born Boqwana, who graduated from Rhodes University with a BSC Law degree and completed her LLB at the University of Port Elizabeth (now the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University) in 2002.

Before entering the corporate world, she practised as an attorney in Port Elizabeth.

CTSA managing director Dieter Horni was full of praise for Boqwana's legal and management skills and said "this appointment introduces diversity into the executive committee and brings different perspectives to issues pertaining to the business".

The company's corporate social investment portfolio will fall under her leadership and Boqwana said she was looking forward to the company being more hands-on in its approach to making a difference in the Bay.

"We intend focusing on education, science and technology. I personally value education and the change it can bring in a community. Nelson Mandela once said education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. We aim to make a difference where it matters," Boqwana said.

She is no stranger to working in a male- dominated industry as the only woman in her department or the only female manager. In 2007, she was legal adviser at General Motors South Africa and four years later worked as consumer protection specialist at Nissan South Africa in Pretoria. She also worked at Sanlam Life as its compliance officer.

"Sanlam built the foundation of my integrity as a manager and it was also in this time that I completed a Management Development Programme at the Gordon Institute of Business Science," Boqwana said. Last year, she served on the board of the South Africa Tyre Manufacturers' Conference as well as the board of South Africa Tyre Recycling Process.