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Keeping up with the CEOs amid Covid-19: Naspers SA head

Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa misses the social interaction with her team.
Moving entirely to virtual meetings has not been a huge shift for Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa. Image: Supplied

Many companies have had to change their business operations during the lockdown period. We caught up with several CEOs to find out how they’re holding up, and whether or not it’s ‘business as usual’. Here’s what Naspers SA CEO Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa said:

Where are you working from?

I am working from home. We took an early decision to encourage our employees in South Africa to work from home, and on March 18 we asked all of our employees to do this, well before the lockdown was announced.

How are you conducting your meetings?

I am conducting my meetings through video or audio calls, which is working well. As we are a global consumer internet group, with companies and investments around the world, my meetings are often with colleagues who are not in Johannesburg, where I am based. Many of these meetings would ordinarily have taken place as video calls, so moving entirely to virtual meetings is not a huge shift for me.

What has working remotely been like for you?

I miss being in the office and the social interaction that comes with working closely with our team in Johannesburg, as I find this very rewarding. But I am well set up to work from home and we are making every effort to provide support for all our employees to do so during this time, including providing them with internet access and online learning modules on remote working.

Is the lockdown causing a huge disruption in your business?

These are extraordinary circumstances that require decisive and urgent action to contain the situation, and the government has taken the right action. Prior to the SA lockdown, we confirmed a global work-from-home policy for all our office-based teams who are able to carry out their work remotely.

What does your company have to do to keep up with the changing times?

We had flexible working arrangements for most of our office-based workers in place well before Covid-19. For our teams that directly serve our customers, we were early to implement a variety of measures designed to safeguard both them and our customers as we deliver the products and services they need.

We are monitoring the situation, we have business continuity plans in place, and we are continuously assessing our response to the changing situation.

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Keeping up with the CEOs? How narcissistic, but we are talking about corporate SouthAfrica here….

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