Mpho Mookapele scoops top prize in the SAICA Top-35-under-35 CA(SA) competition.

Mpho Mookapele (35), CFO and Acting CEO: Energy and Water SETA, has been announced as the overall winner of the 2019 Top 35-under-35 chartered accountants [CA(SA)] award.

The Top-35-under-35 competition was launched by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) in 2014 to recognise its young CA(SA) achievers. It has proven to be a huge success in recognising and promoting young CAs(SA) under the age of 35 who are not just achieving extraordinary results in their professional capacity, but also have a significant impact on society.

The winners are considered by the judging panel as the cream of the crop among this year’s Top-35-under-35 CAs(SA), who have gone the extra mile to achieve their career aspirations. Indeed, all 35 finalists are individuals who have not only successfully pursued their career dreams, but have also excelled and moved swiftly through the ranks to lead operations within notable organisations.

The overall winner Mpho Mookapele has confidently stepped into sectors that aren’t so appealing to other CAs(SA), like the public sector, and turned it into ‘sexy’. She’s not afraid of the unknown, taking charge to develop a capable workforce with the right skills in the energy and water sector.

Mpho’s career spans more than 10 years in the finance and regulatory environment in both the private and public sectors. She served in the public space first as a consultant and currently serves as a public servant. One of the lessons Mpho learned is that the public sector is not ‘sexy’ enough for trainees; it comes across as being the place for the less ambitious. But most importantly, she learned that CAs(SA) play a critical role in South Africa’s growth. She made it her mission to ‘bring sexy back’ to the public sector.

The SAICA Senior Executive for Brand, Willi Coates, congratulated all the participants and especially the award winners. “It is gratifying to see that our young CAs(SA) are committed to trust leadership,” says Willi. “Our young CAs(SA) are a beacon of light and hope that points to the fact that our economy is in good hands, led by responsible young business leaders who, through their commitment, engender trust in the profession. I applaud all our Top-35-under-35 CAs(SA) finalists for their commendable commitment and success. Congratulations to the winners on their fine achievements.”

The judging panel included 10 prestigious judges: Andile Khumalo CA(SA), CEO of Brodkast Group; Dineshrie Pillay CA(SA), Specialist in Leadership Development; Brett Tromp CA(SA), Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Discovery Health; Abed Tau CA(SA), Co-founder of Thamani Consulting; Gugu Mtetwa CA(SA), Company Director, Writer, Speaker, Fellow for Centre for African Management & Markets (GIBS); Ismail Lambat CA(SA), Finance Business Partner/CFO/Business Coach/Lecture; Grant Fortune, Head Private Wealth Segment: Absa; Aucamp van der Schyff, Commercial and Financial Manager: Syspro; and Ayanda Sebone, Group Executive Marketing: PPS. Each finalist has been interviewed personally, after which an overall winner was selected along with five category winners, the categories are: Develop, Influence, Lead, Power of Professional Thinking and Simplifying your Success.

The competition’s proud sponsors are ABSA, Syspro and PPS, who have recognised the value of the competition as it provides a platform to recognise young CAs(SA) who are making a valuable contribution to the economy of South Africa, as well as in their communities. SAICA is grateful for the contribution made by our sponsors in recognising emerging business leaders.


The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), South Africa’s pre-eminent accountancy body, is widely recognised as one of the world’s leading accounting institutes. The Institute provides a wide range of support services to more than 46 000 members and associates who are chartered accountants [CAs(SA)], as well as AGAs(SA) and ATs(SA), who hold positions as CEOs, MDs, board directors, business owners, chief financial officers, auditors and leaders in every sphere of commerce and industry, and who play a significant role in the nation’s highly dynamic business sector and economic development.

This information was extracted from the press release issued by SAICA

Additional Information

Download media statement from Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology here.

Click here to read the full cover story on Acountancy SA.