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Young CEO aims to grow quality healthcare in leaps and bounds

Bandile Mathandela, the 30-year-old new CEO of Aurum Innova which specialises in innovative healthcare.
Bandile Mathandela, the 30-year-old new CEO of Aurum Innova which specialises in innovative healthcare.

Bandile Mathandela has hit the ground running after he took over Aurum Innova which runs 25 quarantine sites in Johannesburg.

These sites have seen about 5,500 people placed there.

Since mid-April, just days after the lockdown came into effect, the national department of health and Aurum Innova entered into a joint venture to ensure the health and wellness of repatriated South Africans, healthcare workers and hotel staff during the recommended 14-day period of isolation for patients.

"All healthcare workers deployed at any of these quarantine sites were also required to stay for the full 14-day period to prevent any form of transmission and to ensure repatriates have access to medical care at any given time," said Mathandela.

Mathandela, 30, took up his new CEO role on July 1.

Mathandela previously held the position of chief operating officer and formed part of the executive as well as the board of directors.

Aurum Innova is a young, dynamic and vibrant company specialising in innovative healthcare.

"This includes the day-to-day of saving lives through mobile TB and HIV screening, medical surveillance and community mobilisation.

"My job also entails playing an integral role in combating Covid-19, providing screening services at department of health offices and forensic chemistry labs in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban," Mathandela said.

Furthermore, Aurum Innova has been providing risk assessment, clinical screening and medical support services at quarantine sites in the country.

Mathandela was born in Mount Fletcher, a small town in the Eastern Cape.

"I faced numerous challenges growing up and often found myself moving from town to town as my mother struggled to make ends meet and I fought to go to school, so I could give her a better life," said Mathandela.

He said his parents divorced when he was eight years old.

"In 2001, I moved to Johannesburg, but I came for soccer and was just 11. I pushed and matriculated in 2007, at Sir Pierre van Ryneveld High School in Kempton Park. I knew I was closer to achieving my dreams," he said.

Mathandela said he was committed to making his life a success from a very young age, watching his mother determined to raise him together with nine of his siblings.

"Things began to materialise when I graduated at Wits University and Wits Business School with a bachelor of commerce degree and postgraduate diploma in management, respectively," he said.

He said he continued to pursue his dream of making an impact in the world by entering the corporate world and continuing to grow with each company.

Mathandela has experience in several industries and across sectors through his entrepreneurial ventures as well as professional career.

"I have acquired skills and experience in growth strategies, SME [small medium enterprises] development, investments, media, and most recently healthcare.

Mathandela said he has been providing the necessary leadership and guidance in running Aurum Innova programmes.

"My leadership was critical in forming a partnership with Vue Architects to develop and distribute the Shesha-Geza basins [sanitising basins designed to be placed in under-resourced areas to minimise the spread of the coronavirus]."

Mathandela said there are currently 15 of these units distributed in clinics on the East Rand.

As part of his role, he has been tasked with developing and overseeing Aurum Innova's five-year growth plan and oversight over all operational and administrative matters.

"I joined Innova as a project manager in May 2019, and through dedication and hard work, I was promoted to COO," he said.

Prior to joining the company, Mathandela worked as a consultant at Agis Holdings, forming part of a team of management consultants.

Mathandela is also a contributor on Radio 2000 on its drive time show, The Glenzito Super Drive, co-hosted by Glen Lewis and Nathi Ndamase.

He co-hosted a business talk show for Voice of Wits FM for two years, receiving a nomination for best business talk show in SA.

"I have never been afraid to be different and to pursue even the most absurd ideas. I also founded Mathandela Investments in 2012, a company I started for youth development and job creation.

"It is my long-term plan as one day I would love to use all the skills I have learnt in corporate to run my own company and grow many others regardless of where they come from," Mathandela said.

In his spare time, Mathandela said you'll find him reading or watching soccer.

"It's exciting to take over as role as interim CEO of Aurum Innova. I aim to set up Aurum Innova in such a way that we help improve access to quality healthcare in South Africa, through the use of innovation and leveraging technology."

He said he also wants to build a people-centric business that "places the interests of the communities we serve, our people and clients first."

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