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Former DA leader Mmusi Maimane goes into business

Business Maverick

UPGRADING HIS CV

Former DA leader Mmusi Maimane steps into the business world, joins investment house

Former DA leader Mmusi Maimane. (Photo: Gallo Images / Veli Nhlapo)
By Tim Cohen
02 Mar 2022 5

The founder of the One South Africa Movement described his move as becoming a ‘business activist’, which would allow him to arrive at Parliament ‘with the best CV possible’.

Former DA leader Mmusi Maimane has announced he is joining the well-worn path of SA politicians into business, but this will not end his political ambitions – in fact, it will, according to him, make him a better politician.  

Maimane is the founder of the One South Africa Movement, which is styled as a coalition of independents that intends contesting the 2024 elections and collaborating in contesting the PR vote. In the meantime, he has joined investment house SiSebenza as a partner and shareholder.  

The company operates as a private equity firm and does investment advisory work. It is a partner of the office letting group WeWork and has a small portfolio of investments, but has ambitions to expand into African social and economic development efforts. 

The first of these investments will be a partnership with the Canadian-based, ad-tech company MonetizeMore, which helps web-based businesses optimise their online advertising. The company is a Google Certified Publishing Partner that runs a virtual office of 210 employees globally, who work with more than 750 publishers in more than 30 countries. 

Maimane said in an interview that he hoped his involvement in the company would provide concrete experience of investing in innovative companies, particularly on the African continent, which play a positive, developmental role. He described his move as becoming a “business activist”, which would allow him to arrive at Parliament “with the best CV possible”. 

He said he would be less than hands-on in the company’s investments but more than merely an “annual report” director, and would take an active interest in the company’s business. He and the team of around 20 would be looking for investments that are “not only good in South Africa, but good for South Africa”. 

He revealed some of the company’s near-future plans, which range from aerospace to healthcare, including the possibility of investing in a malaria diagnostic tool and a way for African governments to access satellite data in order to make more informed policy decisions. 

One of the problems with the current government is that it doesn’t have a “ministry of the future”, he said. Often when President Cyril Ramaphosa talked of enabling conditions for investment, he seemed to be thinking of investment in an industrial economy. 

“He thinks the Fourth Industrial Revolution is equivalent to the Third Industrial Revolution.”  

Maimane said that South Africa was not thinking about accelerating its own growth and leapfrogging into new technologies, while countries like Kenya are actively pursuing these lines. If you are always thinking about investing in yesterday, there is a big danger SA will be left behind, he said.  

Maimane slipped past the question of whether being involved in politics would not be a hindrance to negotiating with government entities in South Africa and on the continent.  

“At the end of the day, if the deal is right, the deal is right,” he said.  

That remains to be seen, but in the meantime it will be interesting to see if SiSebenza does in fact work. DM/BM

 

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All Comments 5

  • Mmusi for Minister of the Future! ‘….. less than hands-on …… but more than merely an “annual report” director’. Go bro!

  • He does not impress me. Just another guppy in the fish tank.
    The big picture is this…
    1/. Come the next General Election. – The anc will get below 50%. It will need a coalition friend.
    2/ It will have a choice, get into bed with the DA or the EFF. Tiny parties don’t count. With 12% Malema will want to be BOSS. Tuff!
    3/ The anc knows the DA will do better than the EFF. It could produce a federation. Great! Mantashe will be upset, big time!
    4/ But who can produce more money in the back pocket? The EFF, for a short time! Then it will disintegrate! Blam!! Mantashe will be unemployable!

    Better ensure that the DA gets much bigger than the EFF. For your own good!

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