“I think, therefore I am.” — René Descartes


Mining & Manufacturing



“I lead the business to be competitive in the future by implementing innovative business practices today,” says Pogiso Mthimunye, 33, an industrial engineer and MBA candidate at UCT. Pogiso is the digital value chain head at Exxaro Resources.

He is leading the digital transformation of the mining industry through innovative technologies and practises at the beneficiation complex, the Grootegeluk mine in Lephalale, Limpopo. Pogiso has developed a digital strategy to make mining safer, more efficient and more productive.

His focus is on enhancing the safety of mines through systems for collision avoidance and fatigue monitoring technologies, proven successful at Grootegeluk. He has developed technology roadmaps for the core business and services sectors to transform Exxaro into a fully digital operation by the end of 2027.

The aim is to use the mine as a digital transformation beacon for the entire sector in South Africa to enable it to compete with the best by collaborating with peer companies across the world to keep the industry up to date with the latest technological developments.

He believes South Africa can become the gateway for investment into Africa and the global South, as it has become known for its entrepreneurial spirit, friendliness with other countries, and ease of doing business.

  • BEngTech Engineering (cum laude) University of Johannesburg
  • BSc(Hons) Industrial Systems University of Pretoria
  • PDBA – University of Pretoria, 
  • MBA* University Cape Town

  • Mining Industry Rising Star of the Year 2022 Top 10 Finalist
  • 2016 GIBS Shooting Star of the Year
  • Representing Exxaro at International Mining and Resources Conference 2022

In Grade 11, I won the Top National Schools Debater in South Africa award. This has filled me with lifetime confidence in my abilities to reach the goals that I set for myself in my life.

Taking on the most difficult tasks, and going through them will make you stronger and wiser to do even bigger things in the future.

South Africa would have a thriving economy that is characterised by rapid industrialization with exports to the world creating jobs and advancing towards a sophisticated knowledge-based economy. As a country, we would have revolutionised our basic education to offer world-class curricula that are modern and provide real skills for the world. People would be safe and protected by a well-trained, well-resourced, high-tech security force that would drive down the crime rates. We will have a thriving society that is providing basic human services to all, fighting poverty, providing decent living opportunities, and an enabling socio-political environment for hardworking people to be successful. South Africa would be the gateway for investment into Africa and the global South known for its rule of law,  entrepreneurial spirit, friendliness with other countries, and ease of doing business.

View previous winners from 2018 to 2022

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