Influential businessman, Sandile Zungu is Chairman of Goldrush Gaming Group. Besides the many previous high powered positions, Mr Zungu has been involved in financial services, mining, general services, gaming, book publishing and media. He has Science Degree and a Masters in Business Administration.
Mr Zungu also attended the programme for global leadership at Harvard Business School. In 2000 he represented South Africa at 6th finals of World Young Business Achievers, which were held in Florida, USA and won the much-coveted Outstanding Business Strategy award. Zungu features in Financial Mail’s Little Black Book profiling South Africa’s most influential blacks and is member of World Economic Forum in his capacity as Young Global Leader.
Mergan Naidoo is the Chief Executive Officer of the Goldrush Group of Companies. He is a CA (SA) who has obtained Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Accounting Sciences and Accounting Science honours degrees.
Over the course of his career, Mergan has received numerous accolades including:
- Being identified as one of the Top 35 under 35 Chartered Accountants in the inaugural list published by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants;
- In the same year he was recognised by Destiny Man in their Power of 40 Report as “one of 40 incredible men establishing themselves in their respective field;” and
- Most recently, as a finalist, along with the founder of the Goldrush Group of Companies, Raymond George Hipkin, in the Exceptional Entrepreneur category of the EY World Entrepreneur Awards 2016 Southern Africa “in recognition of outstanding contributions made by the entrepreneurs of Southern Africa in the areas of entrepreneurial spirit, financial performance, strategic direction, community/global impact, innovation, personal integrity and influence.
The awards were in recognition of Mergan’s defining role in the success of the Goldrush Group of Companies. When Mergan joined Goldrush (then Viva Bingo) in 2009, the companies were fragmented and technically insolvent. He initiated and drove a consolidation process that saw the creation of a structured and consolidated group of companies that now employs approximately 2000 people, has a significantly improved BEE rating and is considered a significant role player in the gaming industry. “The process lasted three years and involved negotiations with multiple stakeholders, tax structuring in South Africa and the UK, BEE structuring, as well as mediating with multiple provincial gambling boards for regulatory approval. This culminated in the formation of the Goldrush Group of Companies in December 2013 – now one of the largest alternative gaming groups in South Africa.” Mergan’s success in significantly increasing the profit, success and recognisability of the Goldrush brand was accompanied by a rise through the ranks within the company from a joiner to Chief Financial Officer to Chief Executive Officer in just 7 short years.
Mergan has not stopped at consolidating the Group. Post the consolidation process, he has also been at the helm of creating further efficiencies, structure and definition within the Group that has seen the creation of three thriving and growing divisions: Bingo & Casinos, Limited Pay-out Machines and Sports Betting.
Finally, he has ensured that the profitability of the Group is shared by the communities in which the Goldrush Group of Companies operate by the creation of the Goldrush Foundation NPC.
Katleho Thejane is the Goldrush Group’s Managing Director: Bingo & Casinos. Katleho obtained his Baccalaureus Procurationis Degree (B Proc) and Post Graduate Diploma in Labour Law from the University of Durban Westville and Rand Afrikaans University respectively.
In addition, Katleho is an entrepreneur, who was employed as a legal advisor for 5 years and held the position of Head of Company Security for 4 years. In addition, his experience includes management and structuring of public and private partnerships, negotiations and dispute resolution in the public and private sector.
His wealth of business experience and knack for handling difficult situations makes him the perfect all-rounder required to head the Goldrush Bingo division.
Sundri Padayachee, popularly known as Mrs Naidoo; completed her National Diploma in Property Practice and Administration. She is well recognized for her association with various community-based organizations. She has held positions as President of the KZN Provincial Eisteddfod Movement and was actively involved in the promotions of arts and culture within the community and religious organizations. She is presently a Trustee for the Greenwood Park Education and Cultural Trust.
In 1998 she joined Balele Leisure as administrator and successfully coordinated the bid application for the casino licence in Newcastle, KZN. Thereafter she held the position of Internal Audit and Compliance Manager. In the year 2001 Mrs Naidoo was instrumental in establishing a Casino Management Operation company and was appointed the CEO as well as the Internal Audit and Compliance Manager of Winlen Casino Operators for the Monte Vista Casino in Newcastle. She was part of the team that successfully operated the casino until 2006 ensuring casino compliance.
In 2006 she joined as Director for the Viva Bingo Group and is currently the Operations Director for Goldrush Gaming Group responsible for the operations of the Route Operation in Gauteng, North West and Limpopo. The expertise gained in the internal audit and compliance sector within the gaming industry will make a significant and valuable contribution to the LPM industry in the Free State.
Allan Scott is the Director responsible for New Business Development in the Goldrush Group. Although he is now a South African resident, Allan is originally from the United Kingdom where he completed his apprenticeship as an approved electrician in 1982. He went on to study further and completed a number of electronics and microprocessor courses before taking up a position as workshop manager for a UK electronics company.
In 1986 he entered the gaming market and joined one of the UK’s largest designers and manufactures of gaming equipment as their national service engineer where he quickly rose through the ranks to become the Project Manager responsible for numerous large gaming projects.
Allan was offered and accepted the challenge and opportunity to join the Viva Bingo Group in South Africa as one of the founding directors at the inception of the company in 1997. Since 1997 Allan has thrived in the Goldrush Group and has gained extensive knowledge of the South African gaming market and in particular the compliance, licensing and development side of the industry. He has been pivotal in the development and licensing of all new Goldrush Bingo centres and route operations across all provinces.
Allan has also represented the Bingo Association of South Africa and the Limited Payout Machine Association of South Africa.
Naren Pillay joined the Goldrush Group from Hollywood bets as Managing Director: Sports Betting. Naren joined Hollywood Bets in 2003 when the sports betting industry was new to South Africa and horse racing was the primary source of income that business.
While at Hollywood Bets, was actively involved in growing the business and, consequently, the sports betting industry to thriving field is today. By time he left Hollywood Bets in July 2015, the business as grown to 75 trading shops nationally and Naren ran operations in three provinces. Naren brought at invaluable experience to relatively new division within the group.
Michael joined the Goldrush Group in 2016 as the Chief Financial Officer. Michael completed his BCom and BAcc degrees at the University of the Witwatersrand before obtaining his CA(SA) qualification in 1998. Michael completed his articles at Fisher Hoffman Sithole after which he took up management positions during which he was involved with several due diligence reviews and managed one of the firm’s audit groups.
Michael left the auditing profession when he joined Medscheme in January 2001 as a Financial Manager, a role he held for almost five years before he took up the role as the Senior Financial Manager of Bonitas Medical Fund, South Africa’s second largest open medical scheme. In June 2008 Michael was promoted to the position of General Manager: Group Financial Reporting.
Michael left Medscheme in June 2010 to join the Netcare Primary Care Division as General Manager: Finance and Commercial. During his five years at the company he was responsible for setting up the financial reporting systems of a new medical scheme administration company which administered the Netcare Group Medical Scheme.
Ray’s experience in the Bingo and Limited Payout Machine industry totals almost 40 years. He is one of the best-known gaming personalities in the United Kingdom and South Africa. He is a Board Member of the National Bingo Game Association, the company that operates and manages the United Kingdom’s National Game, the biggest wide area networked Bingo game in the world.
Ray is one of the United Kingdom’s most active authorities on Bingo and LPM’s and is widely respected as a key motivator within the industry. He is currently a Director of four UK gaming companies including Meeron Ltd who are the largest independent wide area link operator in the UK. Prior to commencing Bingo operations in South Africa, Ray was Executive Chairman of Bingo’s third largest public company, Vardon Bingo PLC operating over 20 Bingo sites that included over 1,000 Limited Payout machines.
Ray founded Viva Bingo in 1997 and as the Chairman of the Viva Bingo Group; Ray was instrumental in the start-up and development of the licensed bingo industry in South Africa. He was elected as the first Chairman of the Bingo Association of South Africa, an association that looks after the interests of all licensed Bingo operators in South Africa. Ray was also a shareholder and Executive Director in the successful bid for the Monte Vista Casino licence in Newcastle, Kwazulu Natal.
Mr Jan van Niekerk is the CEO of RECM, a Cape Town based global asset manager. He is also a Non-Executive Director, and one of the three shareholders of a company called RECM and Calibre, which recently bought a large shareholding in Goldrush, which has led to his joining the Goldrush family. He completed his Honours degree in Mathematics at Stellenbosch University, after which he qualified as an Actuary through the Institute of Actuaries in London, and qualified as a Chartered Financial Analyst through the CFA Institute in the USA.