The late Dolly Mokgatl, left, speaks to Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko at an annual results presentation at the BCX offices in Pretoria in this file photo. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA
The late Dolly Mokgatl, left, speaks to Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko at an annual results presentation at the BCX offices in Pretoria in this file photo. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA

It is with shock and sadness that we were informed of Dolly Mokgatle’s sudden passing. She will be much missed.

I met Mokgatle when she was an executive and board colleague at Transnet in 2003.

She led the Freight Rail Division (formerly Spoornet) with a firm hand and took clear and ethical decisions. She already had a formidable professional track record as an executive and business leader then.

Mokgatle was a kind, soft-spoken leader. Her gentleness softly cloaked a firm inner strength. Thus she had also taken decisive leadership as MD of the Eskom Transmission Group at Eskom previously and later on as deputy chair of Nersa, the energy regulator.

I had the privilege to again serve with Dolly most recently on the SA SME Fund Board. She always had a cool head and brought considerable insight and thought to board deliberations.

She gave her time pro bono as a way of giving back, believing that SME development could be a catalyst to driving economic growth and ultimately to reducing inequality in SA.

Mokgatle shared her knowledge and wisdom generously with others. Her advocacy for greater women representation on boards found expression on various leadership panels, as well as through her leadership as board chair of the Unisa School of Business Leadership.

Mokgatle was energetic, charismatic and inspirational. She left a deep imprint on the lives of people she encountered.

Ever so humble, she worked tirelessly to improve the mathematics, science and accounting results of school pupils in KwaThema, as founder of the Palesa Ya Sechaba Foundation. She believed that all people had a seed of greatness within themselves that could germinate into excellence. She inspired many young women through the Take a Girl Child to Work programme.

Mokgatle was one of SAs most accomplished business leaders who shared her executive experience generously on a diversity of public and private sector boards, among other Telkom, Total SA and Zurich Insurance, Kumba, Lafarge.

While Mokgatle’s expertise in strategy, planning and flawless execution made a substantial contribution to the boards she served on, her business credentials were coupled with her caring philanthropic drive.

In this regard she led and served on various trusts and foundations, including Junior Achievement SA, the Rothschild SA Foundation, the Wits Foundation and Michaelhouse School governing body.

Our sincerest condolences to Les, Mokgatle’s family and all those who mourn her loss. Dolly, thank you for sharing yourself so graciously and generously with all of us. Your legacy will live on in our hearts and deeds.

• Muthien served on the SA SME Fund  and Transnet boards with the late Dolly Mokgatle. She currently serves on the SA Reserve Bank board and is chair of the Rhodes Food Group.

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