The General, Siphiwe Nyanda, should be shaking in his boots. A young businesswoman from Durban, Hlengiwe Majola is posing a challenge in the security industry which has provided succor for the former SANDF general, Nyanda.
In her ventures Majola has borrowed Nyanda’s nom de guerre. Nyanda went by the name Gebhuza during his MK ventures. Majola has named her company Gebhuza Security. But then perhaps Nyanda shouldn’t be shaking. Perhaps he should be proud.
Described as a “pocket sized dynamo”, Majola is blowing gender barriers in the security industry. For her troubles Majola, a 30 years old businesswoman, took one of the three top spots in the inaugural Shanduka Black Umbrellas (SBU) National Enterprise Development Award.
Majola was named Best SBU Ambassador. In this she flanked, Ntlokolo Joseph Madingwaneng, who claimed the top spot through a Pretoria based entity called Moyeng Engineering SA. Another Pretoria based entrepreneur, Terrens Mokono, took the Best Performing Company. Mokono runs a communications and marketing business called MTM Media.
SBU is a nonprofit establishment initiated by Cyril Ramaphosa’s investment vehicle Shanduka Group. The SBU Enterprise Development Awards were designed to reward those businesses the programme which are making a difference and creating employment. Earlier this year regional awards were made at SBU’s four business incubators in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria. The regional winners then competed for these national awards.
Majola ventured into the male dominated security industry as an independent about three years ago. Gebhuza Security provides the gamut of security services including guarding, executive and close protection and event and sport security. Clients include government departments, construction companies and private individuals.
Majola landed in the security industry after a long winded search. A marketing diploma from the IMM Graduate School for Marketing; she worked as a personal assistant for the Mayor of Umtjezi Municipality and at an events company where they she was involved in organising government projects.
She then looked at the security industry and decided that, although there were a lot of players, it needed a woman’s touch.
She says the industry also has something of a bad reputation which I am determined to change.
She notes that the industry continues to be male dominated as a result, employers can be insensitive to female players. “Women have an important role to play in the industry. We are determined to build credibility in this industry and make sure that our brand is synonymous with trustworthiness, reliability and integrity”.
Gebhuza Security has two branches, employs 10 people on permanent basis and 20 temporary staff. It provides on-going training for all employees to ensure that they are always on top of their game.
She would advise anyone who wants to become an entrepreneur to believe in their dream and never give up because hard work pays off. “Generally young people have a perception that success is achievable overnight, disregarding the fact that most successful companies have been in the industry for a long time,” she says.
People also have a perception that when you run your own company you have a great deal of money. However, that is misconception.”
She notes that at times she has to cut costs and brings lunch from home instead of eating out. It is funny when you are eating a bread and peanut butter sandwich and calling yourself a CEO of a company”.
The biggest influence in her life is her mother who worked long hours to ensure that her children were well educated.