Wits pays tribute to Jabu Mabuza
- Wits University
Influential leader, distinguish businessman and role model for all South Africans.
Wits University joins the country in mourning the passing of distinguished business leader Jabu Mabuza whose life was tragically claimed due to Covid-19 complications on 16 June 2021.
Mabuza captured the hearts of many for his inspirational story of rising from humble beginnings as a taxi driver to an influential leader who commanded respect in corporate South Africa and afar.
He played a critical role in building a successful economy that creates a better life for all through his leadership roles. He worked tirelessly behind the scenes to bridge the gap between business and government in recent years. Wits University awarded Mabuza an honorary Doctorate in Commerce on 5 July 2017 in recognition of his principled leadership and contribution to advancing the South African economy.
In his address to Wits graduands he criticised the growing patronage approach that is hampering service delivery in South Africa, and strongly advocated for the advancement of entrepreneurship. His parting shot called on the graduating class not to “get weighed down by populism or by pessimism”. He said: “Care about people and uphold the old-fashioned values, of ‘please’, ’I am sorry’, and ‘thanks’ as these are magic words in the journey of life”.
As a young man his socioeconomic circumstances prevented Mabuza from pursuing law, his then chosen field, but he later invested in opportunities to broaden his executive skills, namely through the Effective Leadership Program from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, USA, and the Executive Development Program: Financial Statement Analysis from the John E Anderson Graduate School of Management at University of California, Los Angeles.
An entrepreneurial businessman, Mabuza served as the Group Chief Executive of Tsogo Sun Holdings Ltd and held several directorships within the Southern Sun and Tsogo Sun Groups. During his career, he served as the Chairperson of the Board of South African Tourism, as President of Business Unity South Africa, and as Chairperson of Telkom SA, amongst other local and international appointments. He was also Chairperson of the Regional Business Council for the World Economic Forum.
Mabuza was interested in Black Economic Empowerment investment in South Africa, small- and medium-enterprise development and the role of business in transition. He was the recipient of numerous accolades and awards for his contribution to business development, transformation, job creation, and advancing the economy. He was the recipient of the UNISA Onkgopotse Tiro Excellence Award in Business and the Lilizela Tourism Award for his exceptional contribution to the tourism sector.
To broaden his executive skills, Mabuza attended several courses namely, the Effective Leadership Program from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, USA, August 1996, and the Executive Development Program: Financial Statement Analysis from the John E Anderson Graduate School of Management at University of California, Los Angeles, October 1999.
We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the friends and family of Mr. Jabulane Albert Mabuza, and those who knew him well. May his soul rest in peace.