Ruli Diseko

Head: Office of the CEO, Lonmin

Thirty-one-year old Ruli Diseko’s job as head for the office of the chief executive at Lonmin is worlds away from his childhood dream of owning spaza shops in Orlando East.

He credits his fervent belief in the power of education for his success, starting with his BCom and MBA completed at the University of Cape Town, followed by a postgraduate diploma in business administration from the Gordon Institute of Business Science.

The third of four children raised by a single mom, Diseko affirms the need for tenacity and empathy as critical foundations for success, whichever career path a young person chooses – and that execution is critical.

“You have to constantly follow through to ensure that you close the gap between promises and results,” he says.

His approach stood him in good stead when he started working as a commodity trader after graduation, eventually leading him to run his own trading firm until he was head-hunted by Lonmin to run its by-product metals business.

His current responsibilities include managing the chief executive’s strategic work streams, including strategy development and working on value optimisation with the company’s top executives.

Every day is surely a challenge in the platinum mining sector – particularly at present.

“The industry is dealing with serious legacy issues, and among the most important things to consider are the wellbeing and living conditions of employees,” he says. “To address these, we need a pragmatic and effective compact between business, government and labour where they all partner to deliver tangible social development, and thriving businesses that create jobs.”

Diseko has a clear vision for his future: “I’m going to keep learning and working hard to make sure that when all is said and done, they say that those young Africans put their all into making the continent great again,” he says. — Kerry Haggard