In 2014 I bought my first publicly traded shares. It was an extremely hassle-free process thanks to the easiness of EasyEquities. My initial investment was into the Satrix Top 40 index and Purple Group. I have since invested in many other shares and ETFs, both in rands and US dollars, and also started a tax-free investment.

It’s been a constant learning process. At first I didn’t know what to buy, but the EasyEquities team provided loads of info that helped me make the decision. Then I branched out into baskets and bundles, tax-free investing and a USD portfolio. Now I’m attending AGMs and getting the skinny on what’s happening on company boards.

As Purple Group is close to my heart – it’s a CN&CO partner and the holding company for EasyEquities itself – I follow what’s happening there quite closely. It’s great to see that the company has transformed its board in recent months.

“We took the decision to restructure the board in October 2018, with the primary objective at that time being to increase its diversity,” says Purple Group CEO and board member, Charles Savage. “The implementation of the restructuring was expedited after the passing of Ronnie Lubner in December 2018 and Denis Alter’s not standing for re-election at the company’s AGM on 7 January 2019.

“In addition, Mark Barnes has stepped down as chairman, but remains on the board as a non-executive director.”

Three new directors joined the board effective 7 February 2019:


Happy Ntshilinga, independent non-executive director and chairman of the board

Happy is chairman of Washirika 3 Oaks and was previously CEO at Supersport International. Prior to that he was group chief marketing and communications officer at Barclays Africa.

He is the former deputy chairman of Brand South Africa, sits on the council of the University of Fort Hare, and is chairman of the Eminent Persons Group (tasked with transformation in SA sport) as well as chairman of NPI Governance Consulting. Happy is the former CEO and founder of HerdBuoys Advertising agency.


Bonang Mohale, non-executive director

Bonang is currently the CEO of Business Leadership South Africa. He previously served as vice president of Upstream and chairman of Shell Downstream South Africa. He was CEO of Drake & Scull FM SA, an integrated facilities management company owned by the Tsebo Outsourcing Group, where he was also a member of the Exco.

Bonang also served as chief executive of shared services and associated companies of Sanlam, and served as a member of the Exco; alternate director of the Sanlam Limited main board; chairman of the board of TASC; a director of Innofin; Gensec Property Services and Fundamo. He also held an executive position at South African Airways.

Bonang led the black empowered consortium that advanced funding of R25 million to Purple Group in August 2018. He is also involved at Hollard, where many of the CN&CO team cut our teeth in insurance.

Arnold Forman, independent non-executive director

Arnold is a chartered accountant and current CEO of The Lubner Group of Companies, which includes interests in real estate, property development, retail, sporting, financial investment and share trading activities, as well as a wide range of private equity businesses.

He has 24 years of experience in strategy, operations, financial and marketing aspects of these businesses.

His latest business passion is The Houghton Residential and Hotel development.

From a CSI perspective, he was one of the founders and former financial director of the NPO Afrika Tikkun, which focuses on the education and career development of underprivileged township children and youth in South Africa. Today this NPO has 480 employees with more than 11 000 beneficiaries.

“We are delighted to have Happy, Bonang and Arnold on board and look forward to the insight and diversity they will bring to our business well into the future,” says Savage.

Now if only our SOEs could get their board issues sorted. But that’s another topic for another blog.