Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Former Shell Botswana chairman lands top energy job in SA

After working for over 24 years at Shell Botswana, former chairman, Boitumelo Sekwababe, has landed the top post of founding Chief Executive Officer of Thebe Energy in South Africa.

Sekwababe revealed that he got the offer to lead the South African black-citizen-owned energy company, which belongs to Thebe Investment Corporation. Some 28 percent of the company’s shares belong to Shell South Africa, while 25 percent are owned by Shell Refinery.

The former Shell Botswana chairman said his immediate task was to manage the implementation of Thebe Energy’s business strategy while continuing to deliver business results in a safe and environmentally responsible way. Working with stakeholders would be critical for the business to ensure Thebe Energy’s goals are met, he said.

“It is critical for government to engage citizens to control the energy sector as well as establish an energy regulator and help seasoned companies,” Sekwababe said.

He expressed optimism that under his watch, the newly established company is set to rise to the top of South Africa’s energy sector and become a great player in the region.

As founding CEO, Sekwababe started from ground zero, but expressed confidence that he has hit the ground running as Thebe Energy begins trading.  

“I am proud to have been chairman of an oil industry company in Botswana. ┬áDuring this time, the oil industry spoke with one voice and established a robust relationship with government, avoiding major supply disruptions in Botswana. The oil industry is currently working with government to finalize alternative supply routes, which will further improve supply into Botswana,” he stated.

Highlighting the oil industry’s challenges, Sekwababe said the big issue is that the region has small oil refineries. South African refineries are old, while the one in Zambia is small. He observed that refinery companies experience frequent breakdowns, making it tough and expensive for them to survive in an industry that needs a lot of money.

“We need to harmonize oil industry regulations as well as the environment in the region,” Sekwababe said. “There should be a balance in taxes and the pricing of fuel, which differs from one country to another.”

Sekwababe joined Shell in 1988 as the Head of Methods and Procedures and rose through the ranks as Management Accountant, Sales Manager, Retail Development, and Regional Retail Marketing Manager responsible for South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland and Mozambique to Country Chairman. In the middle of it he did projects for Shell in Turkey and Ghana.

In an interview with Sunday Standard, he revealed that his contract is open while his work permit is valid for three years. He started with Thebe Energy officially in 2011 August.

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