Treasury’s DG to Moti CEO: Dondo Mogajane on Moti Group’s challenges, successes, new projects and more

Former Director General of the National Treasury and current Chief Executive of Moti Group, Dondo Mogajane, discusses his shift from the public sector to the private sector, his relationships with Zunaid and Mikaeel Moti, how he has tackled his new role of CEO and the company’s big plans for the future. Though he says transitioning from the National Treasury was a challenge, Mogajane has found his feet at Moti Group and assures that he has left the government department in more than capable hands. Mogajane is doing business across Southern Africa and has high aspirations for the company’s African Hero Project, a plan which he is particularly passionate about. Dondo Mogajane spoke to Alec Hogg of BizNews.


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Relevant timestamps from the interview

  • 01:09 – Dondo Mogajane on his recent travels
  • 01:47 – On his switch from Director General of National Treasury to Moti Group CEO
  • 03:27 – On the difficulties of his transition from public to private sector
  • 05:03 – On his faith in the staff of the National Treasury
  • 07:42 – On his relationship with Zunaid Moti
  • 10:46 – On doing his due diligence before joining the Moti Group as CEO
  • 17:29 – On the challenges of doing business in Zimbabwe and his by-the-book approach to business dealings
  • 24:02 – On the African Hero Project

Read more: Former National Treasury Head to clean up scandal-plagued Moti Group in $1bn lithium operation

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Excerpts from the interview

Dondo Mogajane on how is experience in the National Treasury has helped his transition to CEO

I had an experience when I was still chief of staff to Pravin Gordhan. Remember just after the Gupta scandal and the NeneGate scandal, we had to engage and put ourselves into an acceleration gear to really make sure that we engaged with business, because business had lost almost R400 billion out of the market. So those arrangements were steered by me on behalf of Pravin, running around, engaging [and] facilitating meetings and in that space I gained a lot. It [was] a valuable experience that I gained and that really positioned me properly for the South African private sector and the dynamics thereof. I understood how to engage with various people. So I think for me, bridging this gap is going to be very, very interesting. I think in partnering with government with a small company like the Moti Group is really repositioning what exactly I think needs to be done in how government must engage with business. [So] that will have to come through in some way or another.

Read more: SA’s ‘cheap’ R11.4bn World Bank loan – Treasury DG on the Ts & Cs

Mogajane on the structure of the Moti Group company and Zunaid Moti’s position within the structure

The Moti Group is not one company, [it] is a group of companies. The way the business model is structured is that every entity on its own is a company and it makes it easy, because as a small entity mergers and acquisitions are [the] order of the day. [So] some people just buy into an entity without necessarily [buying into] the whole group and then we are able to facilitate business processing like that. [Zunaid Moti] is focused currently on African Chrome Fields which in terms of the original arrangements is part of the main Moti Group and [he is] also doing some foundation work on the Moti Cares [Foundation], philanthropy, engagements, etc.. But the key work that he’s focused on is in Zim. Now you can imagine from a functional point of view, the functional separation is something that cannot happen overnight. It’s going to take time. Institutional memory stuff [where] I must still lean on him [to help] in understanding. And there’s also the legal separation which is almost complete. If you look at Moti Group and companies, you will not find Zunaid Moti. You’ll find Dondo and Mikaeel [Moti]. If you go to [the Moti Group] bank accounts, you’ll find Dondo and Mikaeel. Because we [have] separated the business [from Zunaid Moti].

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