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News & Press: 2019 News Items

QS in the news

Friday, 25 October 2019  
Posted by: Bert vd Heever
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From quantity surveyor to heading 2 firms: Sandi Mbutuma is engineering value

As reported by in City Press

‘I was a single mum, depending on my salary, and had to prepare myself that as an entrepreneur I was my own personal assistant, my own tea lady, my own everything’

From the streets of East London’s Mdantsane to the leader of two companies, Sandi Mbutuma is building a reputation in the construction sector.

A single child, Mbutuma was fortunate to have had an opportunity to have her career path plotted out for her in high school.

“When I was at Cambridge High School in East London, we went to a career guidance and assessment programme at the then University of Port Elizabeth.

“Before that programme, I wanted to be a dentist. After a week of assessments, we sat down with professionals and they found my personality was more inclined to analysing quantity, which was not far off from my second option of accountancy.

“From then on I knew what to work towards academically,” she says.

Mbutuma’s numerical literacy at school was a good springboard for her as she met the requirements for entry into the quantity surveyor programmme at Durban’s ML Sultan Technikon.

Sadly, it lasted only a year because she was physically abused by a fellow student.

“I did my first year there but I was manhandled and physically abused by a male student. My parents took a decision to look for an institution that was more likely to offer protection,” she says.

It was then that she enrolled at the Wits Technikon (now the University of Johannesburg’s Doornfontein campus) to do her first year again.

“The high number of dropouts is partly because pupils have a certain picture of what the career should be, but when they get to varsity they’re shocked. And at that point you are already in a new environment. I remember in my first class, I could not switch on a computer, so I raised my hand and said my computer was not working. The lecturer had to switch it on because I was too embarrassed to say I didn’t know how to,” she says.

Please click here to read how Sandi went on to win the Young Business Achiever Award in 2013 and start Azarro Quantity Surveyors two years later