CONNIE MDLADLA BIOGRAPHY
International commercial transactions are, by nature, an exceptionally complex science. After the back-and-forth of lengthy negotiation processes, the deals are finally inked and currencies exchange hands. Then the hard part begins.
This precious and extremely high-priced merchandise cargo has to be transported across the seas to international destinations. It is a mission that has to be executed with a great deal of precision and efficiency. These conglomerates cannot do it themselves, so they seek the help of freight forwarders who can. Cue Connie Mdladla, founder and managing director of Khaas Logistics, to whom this is basic marginal utility economics.
The Wits School of Business alumna, felt the burning desire to establish her own clearing and forwarding company after she had logged in a few years in a vast myriad of logistics firms in Johannesburg. She cut her teeth in shipping at Intertek Testing Services, coordinating pre-shipment inspections for exports to African countries. Making an emphatic punctuation to her career were decisions to join such reputable freight forwarding companies as UTI (Union Transport International); Sebenza Forwarding; Vanguard Shipping; and Expeditors.
In 2008, both inspired and intimidated, she put everything on the line and took a second bond on her house in an effort to raise enough start-up capital. Having logged in a few years in the industry, she knew the freight logistics ropes and snares well enough to set out on this tough course. While the process was not easy, her confidence grew as she managed to get wood on every pitch. Although she was young, she articulate and punched above her weight. She is a woman of resourcefulness, fortitude and steely resolve. The risk paid off. Seven years later, Khaas Logistics is hailed as the go-to-guy for competency and efficiency in freight logistics.
Khaas Logistics is one of South Africa’s fastest developing freight clearing and forwarding companies. Since 2008 this firm has been fine-tuning the skill of transporting commodities cargo to any international destination. Based in Centurion, Pretoria, the company has names of some of the world’s largest corporations on its client list. A comprehensive portfolio evaluation reflects the value and opportunities in the company’s existing list of clients, as well as growth potential in revenues and client base.
Freight forwarding in South Africa is a male-dominated industry. That is an uncomfortable truth that many of us implicitly acknowledge but not publicly accept. Sometimes, Mdladla does feel the momentum moving rapidly against her. There have been times when she has felt she was barreling down the highway to disaster and had to pull back from the brink. She has learnt how to always stand her ground and challenge the status quo – sometimes with subtle finesse and sometimes with defiance. She fights and wins that war with unremitting, iron-lady resolve.
Entrepreneurs are never entirely free of anxiety. For a woman, running one of the country’s fastest-growing while battling a chronic neurological disorder, is all-absorbing enterprise. An interesting combination of circumstances, hardwork and Divine Providence has shaped her life. Mdladla was born and is living with epilepsy. This is one of the most misunderstood conditions in medical science. It is a neurological condition, but not mental retardation. If you didn’t know that Mdladla was epileptic, you would not say. She has defied all the odds that had been set before her and gone on to successfully navigate some of the most challenging institutions of life, among which are marriage, motherhood and business.