Mkhwanazi would assume overall responsibility for BHP Billiton’s corporate activities in South Africa, operating out of the company’s regional office in Johannesburg.
Mkhwanazi, a former South African National Electricity Regulator, had headed BHP Billiton Aluminium as COO.
His responsibility would include leading the implementation of BHP Billiton South Africa’s strategy, the company’s transformation and sustainability agenda, and leading government engagement at all levels.
Maphai, who joined the company as chairperson in May 2004, had decided to leave the company to pursue business and other interests.
Between now and the end of the year, Maphai would ensure a smooth handover of his responsibilities to Mkhwanazi, whose appointment was effective from October 15, 2008.
Mkhwanazi would also chair BHP Billiton Energy Coal South Africa (Becsa) as well as the company’s South African operations committee, which comprised the global presidents of the aluminium, coal and manganese business groups. He has held prior roles with BHP Billiton as Becsa president and previously BHP Billiton Aluminium COO.
BHP Billiton Ferrous and Coal CE Marcus Randolph said that Maphai had provided solid leadership for BHP Billiton in South Africa and on the African continent through a period of consolidation and growth.
Throughout, he had remained “passionate about transformation and sustainability” and had provided "great insights" that had helped the company grow its South African businesses, which included the current R11-billion capital investment in coal expansion.
Mkhwanazi’s appointment was an opportunity to renew the company’s commitment to both South Africa and its transformation agenda, Randolph added
Mkhwanazi had been involved in establishing a committee to study the feasibility of building a proposed 4 000 MW Inga Three hydroelectric project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Becsa supplies coal to three Eskom power stations, Hendrina, Kendal and Duvha.