This nation needs Peter Matlare - Friends remember the larger than life Matlare

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Peter Matlare.
Peter Matlare.


If you wanted to see an excellent business presentation, late ABSA deputy chief executive officer Peter Matlare (61) was the man for that job.

Happy Ntshingila, a well-known businessman and brand manager, said that Matlare’s passing was a huge loss to South Africa.

“Very few people were like him. He was so eloquent, so intelligent and he had the ability to turn struggling businesses around. One case in point is the SABC…when he got there it was struggling. If you wanted an excellent business presentation you needed Peter Matlare,” Ntshingila said.

Matlare died on Sunday morning due to Covid-19 complications. Ntshingila said he first met Matlare when he was 25 years old, and at that time Matlare worked with businessman Ruel Khoza at Coordinated Marketing in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

“He was a wonderful brother. He was arrogant because he was intelligent,” Ntshingila said. Outside the workspace, Ntshingila said that Matlare was always with his family.

“His frame of reference was his family. What a loss at such an early age,” he said.

Matlare’s footprints in the corporate world remain unmatched.

He was one of the people who founded South Africa’s first black-owned advertising agency, Herdbuoys McCann-Erickson. Matlare also served as chief executive officer of the SABC and Tiger Brands.

At Vodacom, he was chief strategist and development officer.

When he died, Matlare was ABSA’s deputy chief executive responsible for banking operations in the rest of Africa.

Matlare’s friend, veteran public relations specialist Dick Foxton, said that he had lunch with him about six weeks ago just before he went into the intensive care unit. They also shared a professional relationship, and Foxton said Matlare was “hugely competent with an impeccable spoken diction”.

Modest and elegant are some of the adjectives Foxton described in Matlare.

Foxton remembered how Matlare turned to be a “star of the show” when they travelled together on a business trip in the Middle East some years back when Matlare worked at Vodacom.

“We were a group of 20. Peter played the piano and sang for the group in the evenings,” he said.

Foxton said that Matlare’s death was a huge loss for South Africa. “This nation needs a Peter Matlare,” he said.

Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairperson Irvin Khoza said that he first came to know Matlare when the PSL was renegotiating the sponsorship rights. Matlare was SABC CEO at that time.

“He let me know that he knew and took very seriously that together with the PSL, the SABC was in the audience business. His thinking was fresh,” Khoza said in a statement on Sunday.

“It was in working of the final presentation by our 2010 FIFA World Cup Bid Committee that vintage Peter came through. Together with Ravi Naidoo they re-worked, overnight, the audio-visual presentation after it was met with disapproval by the vivacious minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma arguing “we can’t present South Africa that way,”” he added.


Sizwe sama Yende 


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