Dr Xolani Humphrey Mkhwanazi passed away peacefully in the early hours of Saturday morning, 4th January 2020 at the Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre in Parktown Johannesburg, having been admitted on the 14th December 2019.
Dr Mkhwanazi was appointed to the JSE-listed technology group EOH board on the 5th June 2019, as chairman and independent non-executive director, lending his tremendous credibility and insight to the company and the board at a most critical time for the organisation.
“I worked closely with Dr Mkhwanazi who played a pivotal role in helping to guide EOH towards a better future,” Stephen van Coller, EOH Group CEO said.
“Dr Mkhwanazi led the board deliberations on all group matters, but most notably during the tough deliberations around the findings of the ENSafrica investigation commissioned by EOH into public sector contracts. During this period Dr Mkhwanazi braved a difficult time always striving to do the right thing. He grasped the issues and dealt with them quickly. He will be sorely missed.”
Andrew Mthembu, currently EOH lead independent non-executive director has been appointed interim chairperson while the board runs a process to appoint a new chairperson.
EOH said in a statement on Monday that it would like to express its deepest sympathies to the family of Dr Mkhwanazi, during this difficult time.
Dr Mkhwanazi had an illustrious career spanning several industries of the South African economy.
Dr Mkhwanazi was Chairman of BHP Billiton in South Africa from 2008 to 2015 and previously President and Chief Operations Officer of South Africa Aluminium with BHP Billiton (from February 2005). He has served as Chief Executive Officer of Bateman Africa Ltd and the National Electricity Regulator (NER) which became NERSA in 2004.
Prior to that, he held senior positions at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. During this time he played a key role in the formulation of the South African National Science and Technology Policy while seconded to be the Founding Chief Executive Officer of the National Science and Technology Forum.
RIP Boss! Your laughter and gracious personality are now excellent memories. Go well👏🏿 https://t.co/zV6VB106ot
— Usi Riise (@LLOYDNEDOHE) January 4, 2020
He was the Chancellor of VUT, was also in PIC. HPBillton etc ect. Very quiet and respectful scholar
— Legacy : WINNIE MADIKIZELA (@nzo_memani) January 6, 2020
Dr Mkhwanazi joined the board of South32 in July 2015, shortly after the company’s formation, following a distinguished executive career, including with BHP Billiton where he served as chairman of BHP Billiton South Africa and as Chief Operating Officer of South Africa Aluminium.
With significant experience in mining and metals and expertise in science, Dr Mkhwanazi played a critical role in the establishment of South32 and made a valuable contribution to the Sustainability Committee based on his deep understanding of social and environmental issues.
“Dr Mkhwanazi was greatly admired for his grace and his wisdom. He was a scientist and an esteemed business leader with a passion for South Africa, its people and the resources sector. His contribution was felt throughout the Company and we will miss him greatly” said Chair Karen Wood.
Dr Mkhwanazi held a PhD in Applied Physics from Lancaster University and was a strong supporter of increasing student participation in science, engineering and technology in South Africa. He received recognition for his contribution to the sciences, including an honorary degree awarded by Lancaster University in July 2019.
South32’s Board and management extend their deepest condolences to Xolani’s family.