Former MTN, Vodacom execs join Cell C board

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 14 Jun 2023
New Cell C board members Maya Makanjee and Godfrey Motsa.
New Cell C board members Maya Makanjee and Godfrey Motsa.

Former MTN SA CEO Godfrey Motsa and former Vodacom Group chief officer of corporate affairs Maya Makanjee have joined Cell C’s board.

According to a statement, the appointment of the ICT industry heavyweights is part of the Blue Label Telecoms-controlled operator’s strategic focus on accelerating growth and fuelling investor confidence.

Motsa has over 25 years of experience in the telco, financial services and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industries, and is known for driving transformative growth and delivering results for companies he has led. He has 17 years of telecoms experience between MTN and Vodacom, obtained in the South African and rest of Africa markets.

Motsa stepped down from his role at MTN in December 2021, after he joined MTN in 2016, coming from rival Vodacom.

He resigned from Vodacom in December 2015, after 10 years with the telco. A year ago, he joined Telesure Investment as non-life CEO for brands, including Auto & General Insurance, 1st for Women Insurance, Dialdirect Insurance and Budget Insurance.

Motsa is billed as a “turnaround” specialist for making MTN among the most profitable telcos in the market, says Cell C.

His appointment, it adds, signals a new era of growth and strategic direction.

"We are thrilled to welcome Maya and Godfrey to our board," says Cell C board chairman Joe Mthimunye.

"Their impressive track records and diverse experiences will strategically guide Cell C into the future. Maya's expertise in stakeholder engagement, corporate citizenship, and sustainable development, coupled with Godfrey's transformative leadership and market insights, will accelerate our growth, and reinforce our position as a serious contender in the telecommunications industry.

“This move underscores our commitment to South Africa and our dedication to delivering exceptional value to our stakeholders."

Makanjee is an accomplished business leader, with experience in various executive director positions across multiple industries spanning close to 30 years.

With a Master's degree in Business Leadership and a Bachelor of Commerce degree, she has a diverse skill set, ranging from FMCG, telecommunications and financial services. Her track record includes serving as a former director of Vodacom SA, CEO of FinMark Trust, and holding strategic positions at SABMiller and Nestlé.

Makanjee serves as an independent non-executive director on several boards, both in the public and private sectors, as well as non-profit organisations.

According to Cell C, her strategic business acumen and comprehensive understanding of governance will be instrumental in guiding Cell C towards a future of success.

According to Blue Label Telecoms, Cell C is valued at R3.1 billion, after the struggling telco received fresh capital in September.

The long-awaited Cell C recapitalisation was closed in September, after its lenders accepted an offer of 20c for every R1 of debt.

At the time, Blue Label joint-CEOs Mark and Brett Levy detailed assistance to Cell C, saying a Blue Label company, The Prepaid Company, will “purchase Cell C prepaid airtime for a purchase price of R1.2 billion (inclusive of VAT)”.