Winners of ESD Practitioner Achievement Awards announced at Smart Procurement World Indaba

The winners of the ESD Practitioner Achievement Awards were announced on 17 September at a gala event running alongside the 13th Annual Smart Procurement World Indaba in Johannesburg. Organised by the Indaba’s coordinators, Smart Procurement, the awards were instituted to highlight the importance of supplier relationship management for businesses brought into the supply chain as a result of supply chain transformation.

“Working in a corporate environment means that there are standard process and procedures that must be followed. The supply chain world has changed in recent years with the emphasis on transformation. Unfortunately, although many things have changed to help small business gain access to corporate supply chains, the way to do business did not always change,” says Debbie Tagg, COO of Smart Procurement.

“For an ESD practitioner to challenge the norm takes courage and vision and support from their manager and team. These awards not only allow us to share the stories of success, but also act as an encouragement to others to follow these examples and to change the perception that corporates are complicated and expensive customers,” she adds.

The awards were divided into five categories – Red Tape Warrior, Small Business Champion, Network Ninja, Guiding Guru, and The Hero. “Because there was a couple of entries that were so unique, ticking all the boxes of every category plus a few extras, our judges decided that a new award had to be created to reward those who went all out, disregarding convention and objections. The Trail Blazer Award went to Hugo Du Rand,Chief Procurement Officer, Afrimat and Special Mention was given to Simon Gardner, Supply Development Manager, Sun International,” says Tagg.

The Red Tape Warrior, which was won by Danie Lourens of United Manganese in the Kalahari, considers the standard processes and procedures within an organisation and how the winner changed and adapted these to suit the business environment. The judges applauded Lourens for “…making it his business to show how red tape need not hamper opportunities.” Special Mention went to Freddie Swart, Group Manager, Transformation.

Winner of the Small Business Champion award was Fridinia Afrika, Supply Chain Logistics Clerk at Oudtshoorn Municipality. The Small Business Champion finds ways to introduce new suppliers to more buyers by actively championing them through performance reports, introductions and recommendations. They spend time fostering relationships and managing the supplier relationship.

“Amongst other important factors, Fridinia showed suppliers the ropes when dealing with government, advised on how to manage their existing capacity to deliver on big orders, ensured they met negotiated deadlines and very importantly, made sure that the supplier was paid on time,” says Tagg. Special Mention went to Jacques du Plessis, Supply Chain Director, JD Group.

Jenine Zachar. Head Enterprise Development, Standard Bank, received the Network Ninja award. The Network Ninja helps a new supplier to explore ways in which to open new markets by looking for networking opportunities within their supplier and customer base, and by assisting the small supplier to gain sales opportunities by recommendations and introductions.

“Jenine Zachar is a shining example of a person who has used her extensive network, at the risk of her own personal reputation, to open doors for the SMMEs she mentors, and she is a role model to other companies looking to extend their ESD efforts in a meaningful way,” says Tagg. Special Mention went to Jerome Naicker, Workshop Manager, Paint A car.

The Guiding Guru has implemented support structures and processes to help new suppliers with settling into new contracts. Deano Govender (previously with Impala Platinum, now an Inventrepreneur, Red Edge Holdings) was the winner of the Guiding Guru Award. According to the judges: “Through his guidance on how to navigate the processes of larger customers, the small business which nominated him have not only gained the confidence of Impala but have since spread their wings because he developed them so that they could seek and acquire business elsewhere.” Special Mention went to Mack Felonza, Project Manager, Davtech Civil.

The Hero award is the nomination from a supplier to acknowledge the supply chain practitioner that made them feel supported when things ‘got a bit scary’. Sharon Hill, Facility Maintenance Support, City Power was the recipient of the award. “Her relentless drive to ensure a small company made good resulted in a clear understanding of customer expectations and needs that was embedded in how this SMME now approaches all projects,” says Tagg. Special Mention went to Nilesh Ramjuthan, Procurement Manager, Bidvest Facilities Management.

 “We would like to thank the judges – Cornelia Olivier, Head of Sourcing, Corporate Services, Absa; Elmarie Goosen, COO, Collective Value Creation; Bernie Van Niekerk, CEO, Commerce Edge; Louise Paulsen, Consultant, ESD Consultant; Litha Kutta, Enterprise and Supplier Development Director, Tiger Brands; and Dennis Mlambo, CPO, Denel – for their sterling work in sifting through and carefully analysing and assessing the plethora of entries we received,” says Tagg.

For more information on the upcoming series of Smart Procurement World events for 2019 and 2020, please visit the website at:


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