Dr Siyabonga Cwele, Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, revealed the sad passing of Benjamin Mophatlane – the Chief Executive Officer of Business Connexion (BCX).
Before his passing, Mophatlane had planned various ventures in order to take BCX to a whole new level as a Pan-Africa success story. Mophatlane planned to purchase a variety of businesses across Africa in order to increase BCX’s footprint across the continent. Back in March 2014, As part of the company’s reorganisation process, BCX acquired a 100% holding in Panabiz Nigeria, as well as a 100% holding in Ultimate Solutions Botswana.
Additionally in June 2014, BCX had also acquired a 30% strategic interest in AppZone Limited, an information technology solutions provider in Lagos, Nigeria. While the final amount of the acquisition was never revealed, the company stated that the AppZone acquisition would allow it to offer unique services and solutions for the financial services sector.
Back in May 2014, Telkom SA SOC had made an offer to purchase Business Connection Group, in terms of which Telkom would acquire 100% of BCX. The offer stood at R2.7bn and would have allowed Mophatlane to turn his dream into a reality. As a result of this tragic blow to the BCX leadership and out of respect to the memory of Benjamin Mophatlane and his family, Telkom and BCX have jointly agreed to suspend current activities pursuant to the transaction during the mourning period.
In November 2013, Mophatlane showed that the MyWorld of Tomorrow Africa Expo was a key example of his vision. The expo was aimed at enriching communities by making the impossible possible, through technology and a proactive approach to the further development of Information and Communications Technology into priority development areas such as: business, education, health, and the environment.
Mophatlane had also always stressed the importance of the African continent to his business, indicating regions such as Nigeria and Kenya as key growth markets. He also emphasised that whereas the outsourcing market in South Africa had matured, it was gaining traction in other parts of Africa and there was renewed focus on the service level agreements, leading technology and skills sets throughout.
“In life, Mophatlane embodied the undying spirit of the youth of 1976. Just two years into our democracy, he was part of young people who started a leading IT company that is today an employer to 6 000 people and thousands of subcontractors. Their enterprising spirit and never-give up attitude was due honour to all those who fought gallantly for a South Africa where young people had the freedom to dream.”
“Mophatlane was also a patriot. He partnered with the Government in efforts to transform the IT sector and society at large. He gave generously of his time and considerable insights into the sector to causes that sought to transform our society. We thank his family for supporting him in these and other endeavours.”
“We express our deepest condolences to the Mophatlane and BCX families and wish them strength during this difficult moment. May Benjamin’s soul rest in eternal peace,” said Minister Siyabonga Cwele.
Telkom has had many dealings with Benjamin over the past few months during talks on the possible acquisition of BCX.
“Benjamin was one of those larger than life people; a man who embraced life with passion and enthusiasm. His deep humanity shone through in the way he interacted with people, be it colleagues, staff, business associates, family or friends. It was always a pleasure to meet him,” said Telkom CEO, Sipho Maseko.
As a business leader, Ben’s will to succeed and his astute insight into business complexities enabled him to grow BCX into a formidable organisation. The story of BCX, Ben and Isaac, his brother, represents one of the most remarkable South African stories of success, resilience and the will to win.
His passing is a great loss, not only for BCX, but for business in South Africa, the African region and the world. His zest for life and energising presence will be deeply missed.
“On behalf of Telkom, I extend my heartfelt condolences to Ben’s family and friends, and to all the people at BCX. I hope all of us will be able to draw comfort from remembering the years we shared with him,” said Maseko.
According to the BCX Board, Mophatlane, who was 41 at the time, passed away due to cardiac arrest on Wednesday 11 June 2014. The board and employees of BCX wish to honour Ben for his leadership, vision, integrity and esteemed contribution to the Company. We express our heartfelt sympathy and condolences to his wife Abena-Saah and their three children, his mother, sister, twin brother Isaac and the entire Mophatlane family. Benjamin will be remembered for his entrepreneurial spirit, enthusiasm and exceptionally warm personality, which are aspiring attributes for us all.
The team at IT News Africa would like to send our thoughts and prayers to the Mophatlane family during this difficult time.