From herding cattle to Chief Quantity Surveyor of GVK Siya-Zama

Posted on 12 October, 2022

You will always become what you are meant to be if you put in the hard work. These are the words of Mthokozisi Maduna who was recently appointed Chief Quantity Surveyor of GVK-Siya Zama. It’s a leadership role to which he brings his inspirational personality, charisma and pragmatic approach to business and life.

Maduna’s journey to becoming Chief Quantity Surveyor is underpinned by dogged perseverance and self-improvement to overcome many obstacles in his way, including limited resources available to him when growing up, difficulty in speaking English after matriculating and a lack of finances to further his studies.

Now – at the age of 37 and with 14 years of construction experience under his belt – he’s one of the leading quantity surveyors at GVK-Siya Zama where he handles several multimillion-rand projects.

Raised in the small town of Hlabisa in northern KwaZulu-Natal, his formative years were spent herding cattle in this rural town. When he completed school, he knew that he wanted to study engineering, but he lost his chance of obtaining funding during a bursary interview because he was unable to articulate himself properly. He returned to his hometown to herd cattle and grappled to come to terms with failing an interview that could have changed his life.

"It bothered me that I had lost a possible life-changing opportunity. I would herd cattle with my little radio and my German Shepherd dog for company. Sometimes I’d even herd the neighbour's cattle and continued to question where I had gone wrong, what I could have done better and what steps I could take to improve,” says Maduna.

One day he heard a presenter on East Coast Radio explain how human beings complicate their lives by thinking they are scientifically astute but are unable to communicate an ideology with another human being. “So, the first interface that we need to bridge is to be able to communicate. Communication is always about effectiveness because if we can't communicate with one another, we can’t achieve anything. That's when I started forcing myself to read and listen to more English to improve my articulation," he explains.

This changed everything as he upskilled himself and pushed forward with his dream to study and succeed in whatever career path opened for him.

His hard work led him to GVK-Siya Zama in 2012 where he was appointed to a junior position, quickly progressing in the company, and leading to him being given responsibility for some of the largest projects the company was building at the time.

"For me, GVK has been excellent in supporting me and my aspirations. I'm a process-driven person and the company has enabled me to grow. By its very nature, the job that I do offers some independence, which means it has been up to me to explore my potential to the fullest and take responsibility for what I’ve been given as a leader by the company,” notes Maduna.

He says the best part of working for GVK is delivering well-built profitable projects. “I enjoy achieving targets and knowing that a project will be delivered efficiently and with the highest calibre of workmanship while making a profit for the company. We've seen tremendous growth not only in the region where I work but also nationally. The key for us remains simplicity, doing the simple things in the best way possible and simplifying processes," he adds.

Looking to the future, Maduna hopes to see more eager and talented youth join the ranks of GVK-Siya Zama and hear more stories of people breaking boundaries and overcoming challenges in pursuit of their dreams.

“You're not going to have more than three real chances to drastically change your life, so you have to make sure that out of the three, you choose the best one and are ready for when it arrives. Stick to it and trust the process. You need to take it by the scruff of the neck, fight for it, push the boundaries, and embrace the pain. You are the only master of your destiny, and your future, success and dreams are in your own hands,” concludes Maduna.

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