8 March 2021
ABSIP mourns the loss of Bambatha Peter Matlare
Exactly 115 years ago this week, the seeds of what became one of the defining battles in South African history were sown. After the introduction of the Natal Poll Tax, King Bhambatha kaMancinza took note of the general opposition to the tax by black citizens and led the protest that culminated in the Bhambatha Rebellion.
Many years later, another trailblazer was born and shared a name with the famed king. Bambatha Peter Matlare – who has tragically succumbed to Covid-19 – became a trailblazer that was transcendent and transformational in equal measure. As a member of the group of black professionals that rose to leadership structures across the public and private sector, Peter left a business leadership legacy noted for its unusual diversity.
As the CEO of Primedia and then Group CEO of the SABC during the times of its transition from a mouthpiece of the previous government to a credible, sustainable broadcasting business, Peter showed an ability to master the business of media in a manner few have matched since. When he moved to Vodacom to head up its strategy, Matlare exhibited unique versatility in navigating different business environments. As traditional telecommunications companies made the tentative transition into communications and broadcasting businesses, Peter’s insights into the world of broadcasting became a key trump card for Vodacom. When Tiger Brands poached him and elevated him to CEO, he was to lead it during its period of great transition where expansions into Africa and beyond were initiated and executed.
The inherited sins of old – particularly in relation to the bread cartel and the Adcock Ingram business dilemmas which hit the headlines just before Matlare was appointed at Tiger Brands in 2008, tested Peter’s business acumen and leadership resolve in ways that would have left many a man less committed to carrying on. But just like the Bambatha of a century before him, Matlare was able to summon the collective insights and lessons learnt previously into a leadership arsenal that proved valuable and handy to the ABSA Group as it looked for a champion to assist it through its transition into the African region and away from Barclays. Such was Matlare’s capacity and capability he commanded a ship within ABSA’s stable that generated more than a quarter of the group’s R40 billion revenue.
His untimely loss has come as a shock to the Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals (ABSIP) whose efforts at transforming the financial services sector resonated with Peter’s own mission to continuously transform the various organisations he was tasked to lead.
ABSIP would like to pass its sincere condolences to Nomvula Matlare and the rest of the Matlare family during this difficult time. We hope they find comfort in the realisation that during his six decades on earth, Peter left a legacy of change that will live in the national consciousness for many years to come.
Bambatha Peter Matlare.
10.06.1959 – 07.03.2021
Polo Leteka Radebe
For and on behalf of ABSIP