Born in Paarl, Kobus is one of three children. He spent his younger years in Paarl and moved to Pretoria after school to serve his time in the army. Once his two years came to an end, Kobus went on to study engineering. “I am one of three children, raised in a strict, Christian home.” Kobus says he was brought up in a home with strong values that helped him to become the disciplined individual he is today. “We were poor, but we never felt as if we had less than any other middle-class or rich children.”
In his school days, Kobus describes himself as an over-achiever in sport and someone with good leadership qualities. “I matriculated as the vice head boy of my school.” After Kobus’ studies, he joined an engineering company, H.G. Molenaar, as a qualified fitter and turner in 1992. “I worked very hard and grabbed every opportunity with open arms. Within a year I had climbed the ladder and became the workshop manager in my department. One year later, I was appointed as the general and overall workshop manager. After 5 years, I was appointed as the production manager and today I am the operations manager. I have 20 designers, 10 engineers and 150 other employees who work under me.”
What are some of the opportunities you’ve had in your life?
“I am privileged to have had the opportunity to attend good schools and receive the education I did in my life. My parents raised us with strong values and made us feel safe and cared for without any need to worry. Despite our financial situation, I was able to experience and learn what I did. Not many young people, today, have the privilege of having that.” Kobus believes that his sporting abilities helped him in creating a great platform to network and get to know influential people. “It also added to my skills that helped me to obtain the successes that came later in life. My upbringing truly helped me to embrace every opportunity that came my way and to work hard to achieve success in life.”
What are some of the challenges you face and how do you overcome them?
“We are often faced with the frustration of businesses that have people in jobs that are not well-trained and/ or motivated to do what is expected of them,” says Kobus. “I find it to be a great concern, as people are not employed according to their strengths. Companies employ according to B-BBEE and quota systems and not according to what would benefit the employee and the needs of the company.”
What are your words of encouragement for those in need of hope?
Kobus believes that you should always take advice from seniors. “If you want to work and learn, there is a bright future for you in this country. Anybody who is prepared to start at the bottom with integrity will build a foundation for success. No one can do without employees with these qualities.”