Ulwazi Group is a multidisciplinary group of entities, comprising of different resources and skills facets…..provides engineering, project management, housing & property developments, catering and events management, transport & logistics, mining operations, cleaning and protection services to a broad range of public and private sector clients.
Ulwazi Group is a wholly black owned entity which prides itself on being a true corporate citizen of South Africa and the rest of Africa.
• To help people develop
• To pursue Excellence
• To grow profitably
- Non-Racialism and non-sexist
- Recognition and Reward
ULWAZI GROUP IS DEDICATED TO PROVIDING COST EFFECTIVE, PROFESSIONALSERVICES AND SOLUTIONS TO ALL OUR VALUED CLIENTS
GIVE A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE COMPANY AND YOUR CURRENT PRODUCTS AND MARKETS?
This is the vision of a young man who grew up in a rural village in Hammarsdale, then Mpumalanga Township in KwaZulu-Natal province. Despite many obstacles faced, he followed his dream, held his eyes on the goal and achieved the respect and admiration of his peers.
Mr Bongani Mabizela is a qualified Civil Engineer who teamed up with his wife and business partner Ms Cindy Mabizela in 2006 to set up Ulwazi Development Projects, a civil engineering consulting firm.
He had spent just over a decade in government and the private sector amassing experience to enable him to venture out on his own. Ms. Cindy Mabizela is a qualified teacher.
After launching Ulwazi Development Projects, they set up several other businesses – Ulwazi Protection Services, Ulwazi Sports Management, Ulwazi Transport & Logistics, Ulwazi Events Management, Cindy’s Kitchen, Nondumiso Cleaning & Horticultural Services and Ulwazi Vehicle International, with an annual turnover of around R110 million.
Ulwazi Group currently operates in seven provinces in our country; KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Free State, Northern Cape, North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
AS A THOUGHT LEADER AND INNOVATION CHAMPION, WHAT STRATEGY WOULD YOU ADOPT TO DIFFERENTIATE YOUR CURRENT POSITION IN THE MARKET?
Our current position in the market is that of a giant in waiting, meaning that we will be assuming our rightful position as the main role player within the next five years. Our vision is to be listed on the JSE one day.
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO IMPROVE PRODUCTIVITY, PERFORMANCE AND SUSTAINABILITY IN THE ORGANISATION?
What makes the Ulwazi Group so special are our employees. We have a range of people from different cultures working for us, but this mixture is like a great coffee-blend. The diversity is amazing and we all get along so well. Quarterly, we stage Staff events like spit braai’s or tenpin bowling session, where we can intermingle on a more casual level. This encourages teambuilding and better understanding amongst everyone. On Fridays, we wear Jeans and our corporate T-shirts.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE LATEST DEVELOPMENT IN THE COMPANY TO DATE AND WHAT DO YOU PLAN FOR THE FUTURE?
It has always been my vision to embark and grow our business in Africa and this dream is happening now. I was privileged to visit the Democratic Republic of Congo recently with a Presidential delegation and I was very pleasantly surprised on the opportunities in that country which we are busy pursuing now. We have already sent an Ulwazi Delegation to the Congo on a fact-finding mission and I am very excited about the outcome of this.
ARE YOU INVOLVED IN ANY SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES?
Our Corporate Social Development programme is very near to my heart. This is our “plough-back” opportunity to the community. Last year we staged the inaugural Ulwazi/Hammarsdale Festival – an area in KwaZulu-Natal where I was born and raised. This was a three day Festival comprising of a Beauty Pageant where we crowned Mr and Miss Hammarsdale. The main prize was R100 000 per winner towards their studies.
There was also a Hammarsdale Soccer Festival where the game of soccer was promoted and on the Sunday morning we staged the Ulwazi Half Marathon. The highlight of the three-day long event was when the 22 semi-finalists accompanied Ulwazi Group staff members and visited six previously-disadvantaged homes. We provided groceries to the value of R5000 per household and just showed support and love to the families.
WHAT STRATEGIES IS THE COMPANY INCORPORATING AT PRESENT AND HOW WELL HAS IT WORKED TO SEGMENT YOUR COMPANY FROM SIMILAR OPERATIONS?
Our main focus recently has been penetrating the private sector business opportunities, without leaving government business opportunities. Our services offering has been packaged in a manner that will set us way ahead of our competitors. Our website and company marketing material has continuously been upgraded to ensure a fresh and vibrant brand Ulwazi Group.
HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR LEADERSHIP HAS IMPACTED ON YOUR PEERS AND THE INDUSTRY IN GENERAL?
In 2012, I was a semi-finalist for the prestigious Boss Of The Year competition. I was fortunate in 2013 to be the recipient of Businessman Of The Year 2013 at the BBQ Awards held on the 25 October 2013. Ulwazi Group won the Best Employer 2013 Award.
This has not only impacted on my life, but that of my peers and young people who are still living in the same village as myself. This has proven to them that it does not matter what humble beginnings you come from or what your background is, you can achieve the goals you’ve set out in life with hard work and determination.
WHAT CORE PRACTICES, SYSTEMS AND STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS CAN YOU SHARE WITH US?
“In order to live like a King, you must work like a slave”. Hard work pays off. Stay passionate and focused on what you love and do it as if it’s the last time.
DOES YOUR COMPANY HAVE A DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME THAT DEVELOPS MOULDS AND STRENGTHENS THIS KIND OF TALENT?
We have the Ulwazi Excellence Awards whereby employees who give excellent service to clients are rewarded. Here nominees are nominated by their peers according to strict criteria.
Our staff are rewarded for going the extra mile and performing over and above their stipulated duties. At the end of the year, they are rewarded for their efforts at our Ulwazi Group Year End Banquet.
AS THE CEO, WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT 3-YEAR BUSINESS PLAN TO SUSTAIN YOUR COMPANY TO MAINTAIN SHAREHOLDER INVESTOR CONFIDENCE?
Identify new markets for our business Invest in our staff through training and development. Creation of Ulwazi Group brand awareness nationally and internationally.
CAN YOU DETAIL ONE KIND OF SUCCESS
THAT INNOVATIVE THOUGHT LEADERSHIP IN YOUR COMPANY HAS BROUGHT ABOUT?
The introduction of ISO9001 accreditation process has propelled our company/brand to be amongst the best internationally.
FLAT MANAGEMENT STRUCTURES SEEM TO BE BECOMING MORE POPULAR. HOW DOES THIS WORK AT YOUR ORGANISATION, AND WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES?
Our company has always had the flat management structure. It creates easy access by junior personnel to senior management and allows them to be innovative and creative in their duties. Also decision making is made easier and faster, which increases productivity levels and efficiency.
WHAT KEY OR IMPORTANT INNOVATIONS DO YOU HAVE IN MIND OR PLAN FOR THE FUTURE?
Ulwazi Group has created a signature event for the eThekwini Municipality called the Durban International African Hertitage Festival. This event will be launched in September 2014 in Durban, by hosting Miss Africa Diaspora.
WHAT PRACTICES DO YOU IMPLEMENT DURING BUSINESS CONFLICT SITUATIONS AND ARE THEY SUCCESSFUL?
Our HR Department has created policies and procedures for conflict resolution and staff grievances. The process is in line with ISO9001 and currently works perfectly
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU
HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
To fear God is the beginning of wisdom. Honour God in all that you do. Be principled and never compromise your integrity and character.