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Doing good while doing business

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Public Service SA – Improving Service Delivery


Bigen Africa – your socio-economic development partner

Ms Fatima Collins, Bigen Africa’s Socio-Economic Development Principal, has a wealth of experience and heads up the Group’s SED division.

At Bigen Africa the core focus of infrastructure development is to create sustainable social and economic benefits for countries, regions and communities – this has been the philosophy of the leading infrastructure-development group since its inception more than four decades ago and it has been the major driver in its aggressive growth during this period.

The group’s claims that it is a development activist and does good while doing business, carry substance. Its multi-pronged approach to infrastructure development enables the provision of a regional and local delivery platform for government and the private sector ensuring that infrastructure projects drive sustainable social and economic development.

Its product offering, often in partnerships that boost end-results effectively, is tailored to ensure socially desirable outcomes emanating from the use of social and economic infrastructure. The group’s recently launched socio-economic development division provides sustainable infrastructure solutions through the implementation, monitoring and reporting of:
– Service delivery;
– Skills development;
– Community social investment;
– Economic inclusion;
– Infrastructure investment; and the
– Environment.

This approach maximises local economic participation resulting in sustainable benefits that allow organisations to accurately report on their triple bottom line.

Benchmarks followed by the Bigen Africa SED team to achieve optimum results include the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (PPPFA) and the National Treasury Standard for Infrastructure Procurement and Delivery Management (SIPDM). Planning of solutions includes consultative community assessments to address the most urgent social needs of local communities. In addition to these, there are policies that govern supplier development, capacity building and skills transfer in the sector. For Bigen Africa, these policies are much more than a regulatory compliance exercise – it is a business philosophy born from experience and a desire to do good while doing business.

Bigen Africa conducts business guided by a strict corporate-governance framework with zero tolerance for unethical behaviour or practices, compliance with the King III and an empowerment drive that has already earned it a B-BBEE Level 2 certification. Projects outside South Africa adhere to country specific empowerment goals.

Through its innovative, holistic and partner-focused approach, Bigen Africa provides sustainable infrastructure solutions across key development sectors, customised to customer and regional requirements to deliver bankable projects which are fit-for-purpose and benefit the communities that access the infrastructure. It boasts a proven track record of infrastructure development solutions across the African continent, with positive, award-winning impacts in social and infrastructure development.

By doing good while doing business, Bigen Africa realises a lasting development impact to provide access to services, reduce poverty, build capacity and generate opportunities for increased economic participation and employment.

For more information contact Ms Fatima Collins, Bigen Africa SED Principal on 012 842 8774.


Leadership Magazine February 2017




Bigen Africa launches Health division with key senior appointment

Bigen Africa, a thought-leading, solutions-driven infrastructure development Group with a firm foothold in southern Africa and a fast-growing Africa footprint, is expanding its service offering to South African clients with a new focus on healthcare provision facilitation, and has appointed an expert in the field to spearhead this new development.

As the Group’s new Managing Director for Health, Dr Victor Letsoejane Litlhakanyane is determined to realise his long-held aspiration of improving access to quality healthcare services to underprivileged communities on the Africa continent.

“The extreme disparity in access to quality healthcare between the impoverished and the wealthy has come under the spotlight with the South African government putting plans in place to introduce national health insurance,” says Dr Victor, as he is affectionately known. “According to research, more than 80% of the country’s population depends on the public healthcare system that is simply not sufficient in its service provision. There is a pressing need for improvements to access, facilities and staffing at both hospitals as well as primary health care clinics.”

Acutely aware of these needs, and based on his extensive experience in the medical and healthcare sectors, he has long felt the calling to help make a difference to those in need of better healthcare, a mission that resonates strongly with Bigen Africa’s creed of “doing good while doing business”. A leading provider of value-based and integrated engineering, management consulting, development financing and advisory services, Bigen Africa’s vision is to improve the quality of life of all through the development of sustainable infrastructure solutions, with an emphasis on the socio-economic impact of all activities undertaken. As a group of “engineers with a conscience”, Bigen Africa is changing the engineering landscape across Africa, where its footprint covers 19 countries, by not only helping governments achieve their infrastructure development goals, but also ensuring socio-economic benefits for local populations where projects are undertaken. Establishing a Health division has been a priority and Dr Victor, with his particular background and credentials, is deemed the ideal catalyst for the envisaged services.

His vision for the Group’s role is largely to ensure that the difference between healthcare provided to the privileged and the underprivileged is bridged, and that technology and education are used to streamline the processes involved in the provision of healthcare.

“Bigen Africa aims to provide an end-to-end service, from feasibility and fund sourcing to designing and managing healthcare facilities,” Dr Victor explains. “This vision will be achieved by leveraging both public and private sector resources, and identifying communities which are lacking in basic healthcare.”

His commitment to making a difference in the healthcare sector stems from his own determination to be a doctor despite challenges he faced. He acknowledges the role that his community played in his upbringing and support whilst at Medical School. That support enabled him to enroll at the University of Natal and complete his MB ChB degrees. He thrived at university and was elected in leadership roles at the Medical Students’ Representative Council, Alan Taylor Residence House Committee, Black Sport Union and the Happy Valley Clinic Committee.

After graduating and registering as a Radiation and Clinical Oncologist with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), he was ready to pursue a career in clinical practice and mentoring of others, but the universe had other plans. Shortly after the national elections in 1994 he was encouraged to apply for the role of Chief Director of Health in the Free State province. It was not easy to put his career plans on hold, but his vision and sense of responsibility prevailed and he accepted the role, only to assume a second leadership position in healthcare nine years later, this time in the private sector where he spent seven years as Executive Director and Chief Operations Officer for the healthcare group Netcare.

However, he remained dissatisfied with the lack of adequate access to quality healthcare experienced by a large section of the South African population and clung to his dream of making a difference. His opportunity came in 2011, when he was able to create Ditau Health Solutions, an African company developing innovative solutions for African health challenges.

“I was not actively looking to get back into the corporate sphere because I had a vision of private- public partnerships in healthcare systems,” Dr Victor explains. “Healthcare is not made up solely of medical care, but also involves a wider range of facets, from the provision of shelter, running water to sanitation and female health education. I accepted my new role at Bigen Africa because of the good work that the Group has already done in these spheres and in highlighting the differentiators involved in providing quality healthcare on the African continent.”

He has been extensively involved in private public projects in the healthcare sector on the African continent and these prototypes have operated successfully across the continent.

“I proudly pay my taxes because I know my contribution helps to ensure that a family obtains an RDP house, or an impoverished student is able to complete tertiary studies,” he says. “However, there is so much more that can and must be done to ensure that Africa emerges from under the cloud of poverty and lack of basic living requirements such as healthcare.

“Our role is to ‘do good’ in those communities that are not in a position to uplift themselves. This does not diminish the communities’ and individuals’ own responsibility to ensure that the facilities provided are maintained and respected, and that the lives and well-being of those medical and healthcare professionals who work in the townships and rural areas are treated with due courtesy.”

Bigen Africa is proud to welcome Dr Victor on board and excited about working together on health service offerings that will make a real difference to the people of Africa in terms of access to healthcare.


Bigen Africa appoints Ruan Minnaar as Human Capital and Marketing Director

Bigen Africa appointed Ruan Minnaar as Human Capital and Marketing Director. He is a dynamic executive with an excellent academic, business and personal record across a wide range of disciplines.

“Ruan is a focused and performance-driven executive with a strategic mind-set and a proven ability to deliver long-term value,” says Anton Boshoff, Bigen Africa CEO.

He started his career as a business economics teacher at the Langenhoven, and later, Garsfontein High Schools in Pretoria, where his strategic approach, analytical skills, innovative thinking, and leadership qualities were immediately recognised at local and at provincial level.

In 2008, he joined the health and nutrition organisation, Your Life, to launch its Pretoria branch with 24 staff members, following his passion of working with people. There he structured and implemented programmes and policies in the areas of training, compensation structures, benefits and incentive packages and employee orientation. His management style followed an open-door approach to foster teamwork and positive dialogue, which, combined with dynamic marketing initiatives, saw the business establish and rapidly grow its footprint.

In 2013, he joined Angel Lifestyle, a direct sales company, as managing director with his main responsibilities being sales and business development in 12 African countries. A natural leader, he successfully led a team of 600 000 sales consultants and 150 professional staff members in eight branches. The depth of his governance exposure increased to include strategic business plans and liaison with governments and regulatory bodies. On a business level, he achieved success with innovative, strategic ideas to improve workflow and introduce technology efficiencies, driving costs down and improving the gross profit margin. He remained active in his involvement in human-capital, revising existing and implementing new policies and generally streamlining the HR processes.

Towards the end of 2009, Ruan founded and ran Dunamis Properties, recruiting and building a team of 30-odd agents in three cities, eventually achieving sales in excess of R150 million a year. Factors behind his success included championing diversity, introducing leadership initiatives and maintaining a culture of appreciation for staff achievements. His business acumen is underpinned by an MBA in general management from the Regent University in Virginia Beach, USA.

Some five years later Ruan returned to the human-capital arena where his passion lies, and joined CCI Consulting as a strategic consultant. He established the Leadership Academy, achieving master-training status for all of European Xpand’s products, processes and training materials. Overseeing a team of ten consultants across the country, he was responsible for implementing strategic leadership-development programmes at businesses, and non-profit and educational organisations.

In 2015, Ruan was the co-founder of Lifework Leadership, a group of business professionals who are eager to create a platform to develop a strong community of Christian business leaders in Pretoria. The Lifework Leadership programme is designed for leaders who desire transformation from the inside out and has benefitted a number of prominent leaders in the transformation of their companies, churches and communities, across vocation, denomination and race.  Ruan continues to lead this programme in his capacity as Executive Director of Lifework Leadership.

Ruan’s experience across the full business spectrum, in various sectors and across the African continent, makes him ideally suited to guide and manage the Bigen Africa human capital strategy and implementation. His proven expertise in talent selection and retention, performance monitoring and strategic relationship building, combined with his management approach in terms of risk management, governance and problem-solving, will guide Bigen Africa’s Human Capital Department to contribute in no small way to the group achieving its Vision objectives.

Ruan Minnaar, described as a communicator par excellence, an activator, maximiser and inspirational leader, took up his position at Bigen Africa on 1 January 2017.


Bigen Africa assists Botswana to address serious water supply challenges

Bigen Africa CEO, Anton Boshoff says: “Bigen Africa actively lives it’s creed of “doing good while doing business” and consistently undertakes projects that have a development impact to local communities beyond the commercial value or demand.


Bigen Africa appoints Henk Bester to lead Transport directorate

Solutions-driven infrastructure development group, Bigen Africa, has appointed Henk Bester as Managing Director of its Transport directorate. Bester, formerly managing director of rail at Hatch Consultants, will play a key role in driving the group’s business development goals, which include growing its road, rail and transport logistics capabilities.

“Bigen Africa’s Transport directorate is expected to play a prominent role in helping to unlock economic progress in Africa through the development of transport systems that are critical for bulk cargo transportation and regional integration driven by governments,” says Anton Boshoff, Bigen Africa’s Chief Executive Officer. “Road and rail, specifically, are critical to growing economies in Africa, where most bulk commodities are landlocked and remote from ports. On the continent, many of the major consulting companies have relatively small rail groups and depend on a few specialists to catalyse major rail projects.

“The appointment of Henk Bester will ensure that the Transport directorate will continue to maximise its capabilities so that it is fully able to meet the unique and often urgent needs of our different clients throughout the continent.”

Based on his extensive local and international industry experience, proven strategic leadership skills and impressive track record in growing business capacity, Bester has the expertise and qualities needed to meet – and exceed – these expectations. A registered professional civil engineer, he has blazed a career trail of note across South Africa and globally since completing his BEng (Civil) degree at the University of Stellenbosch and joining Spoornet (now Transnet), where, at 24 years of age, he became the youngest district engineer at the time. He soon progressed to national lead and coordinator for all mobile heavy on-track maintenance machines and to senior engineer in the Western Cape district with responsibilities from Cape Town to De Aar. His solid transport grounding includes exposure to the George Koch Track Testing Centre in Jeppestown and the heavy-haul Sishen-Saldanha rail line, the world leader in high axle load on narrow gauge track.

Subsequently joining R&H Railway Consultants in Randburg, Bester progressed to the position of managing director within four years, expanding the company from 15 to 70 employees by the end of 2008. Since 2006, he was involved in Hatch, first as sub-consultant and since 2008 progressing quickly to global director and head of rail.

Having built a rail team globally with a major focus in countries such as Africa, Australia and Brazil, Bester was promoted to managing director of Hatch International and was instrumental in securing the Transnet Manganese Phase 2 project for the Hatch, MottMcDonald and Aurecon JV, for which he was also appointed Project Director.

As a leader in rail, he enjoys global recognition and has been involved in various challenging international projects for clients all over the world, such as Anglo American, Arcellor Mittal, Vale, BHP Billiton and African Rainbow Minerals. He was also instrumental in growing a formidable rail group and business for Hatch outside Canada, which became the biggest privately owned rail consultancy in Africa.

Bester is a fellow member of the South African Institute of Civil Engineers (SAICE), and registered at ECSA as professional engineer (Pr Eng) and as professional construction manager at the South African Council for Project and Construction Management Professions (SACPMP). He served on the SAICE Membership and Railway and Harbour Committees.

Henk joined Bigen Africa on 1 October 2016. The company, established in 1971, now employs over 400 full-time professionals in 17 offices (operational offices, project offices and an office in Mauritius) throughout Africa. Bigen Africa’s proven expertise in engineering and advisory services forms the core of a product offering that proactively seeks the best outcome for client, community and country. Bigen Africa’s mantra of “doing good while doing business” underpins the group’s full value chain of infrastructure development activism to change lives through positive and sustainable infrastructure development in five key sectors namely real estate, energy, water, health and transport. The group’s value proposition is further supported by its partnership strategy to formally integrate the group’s partners within its delivery model and ultimately the capital structure to enhance mutual value creation and incentives for all partners participating in its structure.


Bigen Africa’s Akaretsa campaign to raise millions in funds for beneficiaries

Bigen Africa – a leading multinational provider of sustainable infrastructure- development solutions, with a particular focus on “doing good while doing business’ – has set itself an audacious fundraising target for 2016: to hand over R2-million to various beneficiaries by the end of September 2016.

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