Ending Gender Based Violence is all our responsibility

Social Share:

The work of eradicating gender-based violence should not be left to women alone, but should be for all citizens to champion, observes Velaphi Ratshefola, MD at Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA)

As we commemorate 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children, it is crucial that we do not view this as yet another calendar entry, but a truly sobering moment. We should take pause, reflecting on the far-reaching impact of this scourge on our country and our deeply embedded attitudes and how these influence our actions and perspectives on the rights of women and children, including their bodily autonomy.

Globally, we have seen the rise of the #MeToo movement, spearheaded by high-profile celebrities, exposing decades of sexual harassment and violation perpetrated by leading male figures in the entertainment industry. In our own country, across class and racial lines, we witness a daily litany of ills perpetrated against women and girls, often by close relatives and intimate partners.

The fight against this scourge, what the United Nations refers to as the silent, global pandemic, is not only a women’s fight. It is a fight that we must all take up and to which we must remain committed until we get off the list of the most unsafe country for women and children.

Much the same way that we fought and still fight against racism, we need to prioritise the fight against gender-based violence and the abuse of children. Both of these social ills, as research has consistently shown, are rooted in gender inequality, patriarchy and societal norms and traditions that perpetuate the disempowerment and subjugation of women and children. Unless these are addressed and eradicated, we will not see the end to the abuse of the most vulnerable of our fellow citizens.

Even as we seek to rebuild our country’s economy, we have to always remember that a nation where more than half the population feels unsafe, unprotected, and vulnerable can never thrive. As the Nobel Laureate, Amartya Sen has so eloquently argued, if women and children do not enjoy freedom, there can be no development; economic or otherwise.

As a company, we reflect the social context in which we operate and from which we draw our employees and leaders. But we may also consciously and unconsciously, for instance, perpetuate the very stereotypes that underlie GBV or,  through our silence on these and other social ills, inadvertently preserve – rather than challenge – regressive social attitudes. We therefore cannot absolve ourselves from what is happening around us in the communities where we live and work.

Our responsibility is to actively work towards and support the eradication of all forms of violence against women and children.

The long-term scars and trauma that women and children must bear as a result of their violation ultimately place a very high cost on us as a people through, among other things, their intergenerational transmission.

South African corporates have developed platforms that we can leverage and we have a captive audience that we can and should engage with, to not only raise awareness but deal with this pressing issue.

This is not just a battle for government, police, and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). We have a crucial part to play. We can contribute to initiatives that equip men with psycho-social skills to talk openly about issues that affect them. Indeed, we can create a corporate culture that fosters more caring masculinities. We can also provide women with support through the various wellness programmes in place to help them deal with the aftermath of abuse, or to empower them to recognise it before it translates into physical and sexual harm from intimate partners. We can also provide adequate support to both mothers and fathers as they navigate parenting, particularly when they transition to parenthood for the first time. 

While we can certainly do more, it is important to highlight what we have already put in place. For instance, we launched our Men of Honour programme in 2019 as a  platform and most importantly, a “safe space”  for men to be vulnerable and talk about the complex issues that affect them in a fast-changing world. The forum is also aimed at helping men see where they might need help, offering them the necessary support when they feel overwhelmed. It has become an important space for men to talk without feeling judged.

We also encourage them to use our Phofula Wellness Programme, which is a comprehensive service for all employees and their families to get counselling.  

Let us not forget that, although we have made strides as a society to create equal opportunities for all races and genders, we are still in the infancy of building a culture that truly embraces diversity in the workplace. Women’s rights in and outside of the workplace, for instance, only started gaining traction in the modern world in the early 20th century, and some countries much later, with pockets of oppression remaining to this day.

This means that even in the most progressive countries, there exists remnants of socio-economic inequality. For many, both men and women, the very necessary normative changes can be difficult to grasp, psychologically and emotionally, let alone practice.

What we need is to take everyone on the journey with us and always articulate that, the growth, development and empowerment of women does not take anything away from the boy child.

If anything, the advancement of women’s agenda will propel our nation to a more successful future where more perspectives, voices and energies can be harnessed to generate innovative solutions needed for our country and the world’s advancement.

We are a country that continues to deal with tremendous levels of trauma from our past; and this includes the forced militarization of boys on all sides of the political divide. We have worked hard to be where we are. But our work is far from over and we cannot afford to add further challenges that will inhibit and retard our progress. Some challenges can and should be avoided. Gender-based violence and the abuse of children is one of them. If we don’t confront and eradicate it, history will judge us harshly.



Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) is a proudly South African company which began operating as a legal entity in July 2016, after the merger of six non-alcoholic ready to drink bottling operations. We are level 1 B-BBEE empowered company. We employ over 7000 people at 13 manufacturing facilities across the country. As a subsidiary of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) and a bottler for The Coca-Cola Company, our vision is to refresh Africa every day and make our continent a better place for all. We manufacture and distribute Coca-Cola beverages that make life’s everyday moments more enjoyable, while doing business the right way. The result is shared opportunity for our customers, our employees, our communities, and our shareholders. We conduct our business ethically, transparently, and conscientiously. We espouse an inclusive business culture to reflect our African identity. We accelerate sustainable, profitable revenue growth across all categories and offer an innovative portfolio of products that respond to customer needs and consumer preferences. Profitability is important, but not at any cost. People matter. Our planet matters. We do business the right way by following our values and partnering for solutions that benefit us all.

Related Press Releases

Topco Media Sets the Stage for Robust Dialogue at the Future of Sustainability Conference 2024

This year is set to be pivotal for global sustainability initiatives across all industries and Topco Media is committed to fostering robust dialogue at the Future of Sustainability Conference scheduled...

CCBSA Study Buddy Fund bursary programme calls for student applications

Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) has opened the application process to matric students and first time University applicants across the country for its Study Buddy Fund bursary programme for the...

CCBSA partners with Henley Business School to empower suppliers

Teaching specialised business skills to small enterprises is key to growing the economy and supporting job and wealth creation. ...
© Copyright CCBSA 2024 | All Rights Reserved
Rakesh Rajbally

Managing Director: South Africa

Rakesh is C-Suite leader with 26 years of experience in General Management, Sales, Marketing, Logistics and Finance within the FMCG space. He currently leads the South African business for Coca-Cola Beverages Africa. He has a strong growth mindset and has successfully led CCBSA’s Commercial business unit. He is a sought after thought leader in developing & implementing revenue growth and route to market strategies in both modern and emerging markets. Under his leadership CCBSA recently completed a R6bn/ $400m investment in an Affordability growth strategy. He has also led CCBSA’s strategic and operational Customer management and recently achieved the #1 ranking across FMCG in the Advantage survey for 2 consecutive years.

Rakesh leads the CCBSA executive team that has been instrumental in successfully leading a large organization across major transformation changes including the merger of six entities to form CCBSA, the Sugar Tax introduction, Talent diversity strategy and other major productivity initiatives. He is a trusted partner and builds trust-based relations with business partners, stakeholders, and authorities.

His purpose statement “We have 2 hands, one to help yourself, one to help others” reflects in the many young leaders he has successfully coached and mentored.

Janett Forbes

Commercial Excellence Director

Janett is a seasoned financial, logistics, and commercial executive who joins us from Vector Logistics previously a division of RCL Foods where she held position of Finance Director.

Prior to this, Janett was part of the Coca-Cola family, having occupied various senior roles of Finance Manager, Category Manager, Revenue Growth Manager and Channel Development Manager within ABI in 2002 and 2016.

Janett is a qualified Chartered Accountant (CA(SA), has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Rhodes University in Grahamstown and a higher diploma in Accounting from University of Natal in Durban.

Desilan Pillay

Logistics Director

He joined the Coke system as a Unit Manager Designate at ABI Midrand in 2008. Desilan encompasses 20 years of management experience from companies including Afrox (Linde Group), the South African Breweries (ABI soft drinks and SABMiller – now ABInbev), and Unilever.  

He has a wealth of experience and a vast skillset within South Africa and across the African continent – all at executive levels. This includes, but is not limited to, project management, engineering, production (gases), packaging (FMCG), as well as operations management, financial management, sales and distribution, procurement, and planning (demand, supply, and production). Desilan has managed portfolios across end-to-end Supply Chain (Sourcing, Demand, and Supply Planning), Warehouse Management, Production, and Distribution, including Customer Care, After-sales and reverse logistics. He was also accountable for the delivery of service excellence in order fulfilment, cost of goods sold enhancement via strategic sourcing, and the overall cash optimisation (inventory) across the business. His most recent role before re-joining the CCBSA family is as the Chief Operations Officer at Anchor Holdings, one of the largest privately-owned warehousing companies in South Africa.

Desilan is a qualified Mechanical Engineer and has completed a Management Development Programme from UCT. His areas of expertise include building high performance teams and E2E supply chain and commercial acumen.

Desilan has been happily married for the past 16 years and has a 12-year-old daughter and 18-month-old twins – a boy and a girl. In his spare time, he enjoys seeing new sights locally and abroad. He is always planning his next trip to an exciting destination together with his family.

Nozicelo Ngcobo

Public Affairs, Communications & Sustainability Director

Nozicelo started her corporate career in 1994 when she was recruited by Sasol into their Management Trainee Programme of the top 16 academic graduates in South Africa – class of 1993. In addition to Sasol, Nozicelo has since worked for listed companies such as Telkom SA, South African Breweries (SAB) as well as multi-national organisations such as Philip Morris International (PMI). In 2020, Nozicelo joined Coca Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) as Director for PACS.

Nozicelo has a demonstrable track record in successfully developing and managing corporate affairs and regulatory strategies for complex industries such as alcohol, tobacco and recently the beverages industry. Nozicelo has strong professional networks spanning more than 25 years in both public and private sectors. Her strategic insights, value creation, solutions orientation, strong business/political acumen, solid networks and ability to mobilise teams to successfully execute towards a common vision are just some of the many attributes she brings into any organisation.

Nozicelo is an advocate of human rights, animal rights and has a passion for youth/women empowerment.

Michael John Wilson

Finance Director

Michael started his working career at KPMG as a Manager and Trainee Accountant from 2002 until 2006. After completing his articles, his highest position held at KPMG was Audit Manager and Office Administration Manager. In 2006 to 2009, he worked at BASF South Africa (previously known as Engelhard South Africa), where he was appointed as Site Controller – Mobile Emissions Catalysts Division. He also served as a Team Leader for Finance when the company changed its ERP from JD Edwards to SAP. In 2009, Michael joined Coca-Cola Fortune (CCF) as Finance Manager – Business Support.

In 2015, he was assigned to the CCBA integration team as a Finance work stream member and later that year, Michael was appointed Finance Manager for Marketing, Sales and Distribution. Michael relocated to Windhoek, Namibia in January 2016 as Financial Director for Coca-Cola Beverages Namibia. In October 2017, Michael returned to Port Elizabeth as Group Financial Controller for CCBA, a position he currently holds. He serves on a number of boards and audit committees within the CCBA Group.

In 2000, Michael graduated with a B.Com (Accountancy) Degree from the University of Port Elizabeth and a year later, he completed his B. Com Honours (Accountancy) at the same university. He was admitted as a Chartered Accountant (CA) in 2005. In 2010, he completed his Executive Development Programme at the University of Stellenbosch Business School.

Moses Lubisi

Manufacturing & Technical Director

Moses has over 20 years of extensive experience spanning various industries such as Sugar, Food and Beverages, and Mineral processing, including 15 years within the Coca-Cola system, Moses brings a wealth of knowledge to this role.

His journey within CCBSA has seen him excel in positions ranging from Plant Manager, Regional Manufacturing Manager (Coastal) in CCBSA to Executive Director for Appletiser (Pty) Ltd. Before returning to CCBA within Group Office, Moses served as an Operations Director at Illovo Sugar (Pty) Ltd. His expertise lies in strategy formulation, governance and execution, with a focus on end-to-end value chain orchestration across manufacturing, warehousing, logistics and supply chain management.

Moses has held senior and executive management roles for over six years, overseeing regional and enterprise-level strategies, assets and resource allocation.

Agatha Masemola

Strategy and Performance Director

Agatha joined CCBSA in April 2020 from Absa Corporate and Investment Bank Africa, where she held various roles in the past nine years, including as Managing Principal for Strategy & Business Transformation and Chief of Staff to the Chief Executive of Barclays Africa Corporate Bank. She was a key figure in the build-out and integration of the Corporate Bank across 13 African markets.

Prior to joining Absa, Agatha was a Senior Management Consultant in Strategy and Innovation at Deloitte Consulting, South Africa. At Deloitte, Agatha worked on several executive-sponsored strategy and innovation projects across various sectors, as well as driving new business development. Prior to Deloitte, she worked in Life Sciences R&D for over ten years, both as a full-time researcher with publications in peer reviewed journals, and as a Portfolio Manager & COO for a biotechnology fund management, focusing on investment in early-stage biotech ventures and commercialisation.

Agatha holds a PhD in Medical Biochemistry from the University of Cape Town and has completed post-Doctoral research in South Africa and the USA. She obtained her BSc (Biochemistry and Physiology) and MSc (Biochemistry) from the University of the North. She completed a Management Advancement Programme at Wits Business School to help her transition from laboratory to business.

Agatha loves to travel and enjoys experiencing different cultures and sampling local cuisine.

Hannes Prinsloo

Country Sales Director

Hannes comes with a wealth of experience and strong commercial operations expertise stretching over 30 years within the Bottling system; truly an example of “home grown timber”.

In his most recent role, of General Manager Commercial, he managed the Revenue Growth, Route to Market, Category management, Channel Development and Knowledge and Insights. His previous experiences include that of General Manager Operations, District Manager and National Account Manager.

Among his career achievements, he counts being inducted as a Grand Master in 2021, which is a true testament to his passion for people, strong work ethic, and unwavering commitment to performance. The Masters are seasoned professionals in our core functions (Commercial, Logistics & Manufacturing) who have consistently delivered exceptional results in their 20-plus years of service in the organisation. CCBSA bestows its highest honour these professionals who have shown exemplary commitment, fortitude, passion, loyalty and most importantly, value-adding leadership.

In May 2023, at the annual Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) General Management Meeting (GMM) Awards, he was honoured to receive the CEO Award, which honours exceptional leadership that sets a clear example of consistently living our values. In his leisure time, Hannes follows a wide variety of debate platforms and sports.

Mkuseli Dlikilili

Human Resources Director

Prior to Mkuseli’s appointment to CCBSA, Mkuseli was Group Executive: Human Resources at Pioneer Foods, he  worked for leading South African organisations, including Eskom, SAB, Dulux and Portnet.

Mkuseli’s extensive experience in the FMCG environment includes playing a leading role in Pioneer Foods’ successful listing on the JSE and the integration of SA Dried Fruit and Ceres Fruit Juices. Mkuseli is passionate about empowering and developing people to realise their full potential, as well as contributing positively to all the spheres of their lives, and the accentuation of human dignity. He describes himself as an authentic, resilient, reliable, courageous, humble, principled and value-based person, and a committed Human Resources professional.