Mpho Mookapele – Under 35 champion of what?

Mpho Mookapele scoops top prize in the SAICA Top-35-under-35 CA(SA) competition

Johannesburg, Thursday, 03 October 2019 – Mpho Mookapele (35), CFO and Acting CEO: Energy and Water SETA, has been announced as the overall winner of the 2019 Top 35-under-35 chartered accountants [CA(SA)] award.

The Top-35-under-35 competition was launched by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) in 2014 to recognise its young CA(SA) achievers. It has proven to be a huge success in recognising and promoting young CAs(SA) under the age of 35 who are not just achieving extraordinary results in their professional capacity, but also have a significant impact on society.

There were also five category winners:

  • Develop: Léan Boezaart (34), Co-founder: Freedom of Movement
  • Influence: Lize Lubbe (32), Principal: Phatisa
  • Lead: Rhett Finch (34), CFO: King Price Insurance
  • Simplifying Your Success Award: Gideon Botha (35), Senior Financial Manager: Nedbank Group
  • Power of Professional Thinking: Hlengiwe Ndlela (32), Auditing Lecturer: University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)

More on the winners

The winners are considered by the judging panel as the cream of the crop among this year’s Top-35-under-35 CAs(SA), who have gone the extra mile to achieve their career aspirations. Indeed, all 35 finalists are individuals who have not only successfully pursued their career dreams, but have also excelled and moved swiftly through the ranks to lead operations within notable organisations.

The overall winner Mpho Mookapele has confidently stepped into sectors that aren’t so appealing to other CAs(SA), like the public sector, and turned it into ‘sexy’. She’s not afraid of the unknown, taking charge to develop a capable workforce with the right skills in the energy and water sector.

From a single leather bag, The Develop category winner Léan Boezaart and the team, have ignited Freedom of Movement (FOM) to a premium South African lifestyle brand that creates everything from the trendiest leather bags and footwear to timepieces. Today they proudly boast 10 FOM Concept stores, with one based internationally.

Influence category winner, Lize Lubbe’s pioneering spirit has led her to deliberately choose the road less travelled at every pivotal moment. And with investing and entrepreneurship being the golden thread that runs throughout her career, the results of her leading huge impact investment projects across the African continent have been extraordinary. In her spare time, she is a professional musician.

Lize has an intrinsic part of the African Agriculture Fund impact of delivering 2,6 million tonnes of food and food-related products, supporting more than 9 000 permanent jobs and more than 78 000 small-scale farmers and entrepreneurs in rural communities from investment to date.

As CFO of King Price Insurance, Lead category winner Rhett Finch, has successfully guided the R100-million start-up to a R3,3-billion company in six years. Their business model has saved their clients over R150 million in decreasing premiums. And best yet, their 900 staff members are like one big ‘royal’ family who enjoy ‘fun with a little madness’ as a family value. They kind of do everything differently, and it’s definitely working!

The Simplifying your success award winner, Gideon Botha is a well-rounded researcher and futurist with a balanced outlook on life. He is that exceptional example of an academic who intelligently puts all the knowledge gained to work by addressing core issues in South Africa’s private healthcare system. And to top that, he’s put a great deal of effort into leading his team and develop them to be their best

Giving up is just never an option for the Power of Professional Thinking category winner, Hlengiwe Ndlela. She knows exactly how hard failure can knock one down. But she has overridden ‘fail’ multiple times, settling it with the final stamp of success. Today, she mentors scores of students into confident professionals because she knows sometimes all you need is someone to give you that rainbow of hope.


The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), South Africa’s pre-eminent accountancy body, is widely recognised as one of the world’s leading accounting institutes. The Institute provides a wide range of support services to more than 46 000 members and associates who are chartered accountants [CAs(SA)], as well as AGAs(SA) and ATs(SA), who hold positions as CEOs, MDs, board directors, business owners, chief financial officers, auditors and leaders in every sphere of commerce and industry, and who play a significant role in the nation’s highly dynamic business sector and economic development.

SAICA Media Contact:

Kulani Chauke

Communication Coordinator: Corporate
SAICA Brand Division

011 479 0698 or 071 266 0019