Cementing PPC’s position at the top
In the latest edition of Meet the Boss, Voice Money’s KABELO ADAMSON talks all things cement with PPC Botswana’s Head of Business Unit, Tuelo Botlhole.
The hard-working family man joined the country’s leading cement-makers 16 years ago as a Sales and Distribution Manager. Having impressed in that role, Botlhole was later promoted to Area Manager, before rising to his current position in 2017.
In this interview, Botlhole reveals what it’s like to work for such a massive organisation, while also reflecting on his own professional journey and a career that began as a trainee graduate with Sefalana at the turn of the millennium.
Take us through a typical working day for you?
It starts off with a 5am jog – time permitting – then a catch up with current affairs.
I then focus on the office work, which mostly comprises of working on several corporate decisions, managing overall operations, resources of PPC Botswana – it is imperative that our stakeholders are kept abreast of what is going on in our business.
How long have you been at PPC Botswana?
I started working at PPC Botswana in 2005 as a Sales & Distribution Manager.
This has been an amazing environment that has taught me the importance of community development and building one another.
And before that?
Prior to working at PPC Botswana I was at Sefalana, where I joined as a Graduate Trainee.
I worked there for five years and grew through the ranks, leaving as a Branch Manager.
How did you cope with the change of environment from the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector to the construction world?
It is normal for every environment to change and come with various developments.
It’s a matter of us industry players adapting and learning survival skills in the different environments we find ourselves in.
What would you describe as the highlight of your career to date?
The highlight of my career has been to lead PPC Botswana, which is a hard-working team that has also played a role in the development of the country’s economy through various community development projects that have been suggested by different members of our team.
And the lowest moment?
I can say the lowest point was when I saw several local cement producers shutting down their businesses due to cement product dumping, which affected sales of local players who had employed hundreds of Batswana.
How has Covid-19 affected the business?
Just like every business we were affected by the pandemic.
Business operations are not the same and the industry is facing several challenges.
Any steps you put in place to counter the situation?
We always have a contingency plan for such situations.
When the pandemic struck we were one of the few companies that did not lay off some of their staff or cut salaries.
We have several strategic plans that we are using as guidelines to counter this situation.
On a personal note, away from the office, how do you while away time?
I always ensure that I spend time with the family when I am away from work.
I also make it a point to prepare lunch for them every Sunday afternoon.
FULL NAMES: Tuelo Botlhole
PLACE OF BIRTH: Ramotswa
MARITAL STATUS: Married
MENTOR: Njombo Lekula, the Managing Director of RSA Cement and Materials Division. Over the years he has mentored me and shared a number of corporate management skills
FAVOURITE FOOD: Paleche and seswaa
FAVOURITE DRINK: Gemere
WHAT MAKES YOU ANGRY: Seeing people not utilize opportunities when they are available