The Dynamics of Assuming a New CEO or Leadership Role under Global Lockdown Restrictions

17 June 2022

CEO Perspectives and Horizons as Covid-19 takes a grip

The SAHPRA CEO, Dr Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela shares her journey since she assumed the position of CEO. She unpacks how she had to face a “sink or swim” situation as the COVID-19 pandemic gripped South Africa and the world at large. It was through sheer resilience and developing coping mechanisms that she was able to forge ahead. In today’s world, responsible and decisive leadership is virtually obligatory in order to ensure that an organisation such as SAHPRA remains relevant and adds value. It is this decisive stance that ensures a “make or break” situation.

SAHPRA was a fledgling health products regulator. Getting SAHPRA off the ground was certainly a daunting task. What was the game plan? Where does one start? What was the best strategy? In answering these questions, this is what Dr Semete has to share.

December of 2019 was filled with a lot of reading in preparation for this exciting role of CEO of the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA). I spent days reviewing the historical and current context of the authority, planning my first 100 days and strategising on priority areas I needed to focus on to ensure urgent quick fixes could be achieved whilst assuming this role. As my appointment was announced around November 2019, those who knew me began requesting meetings with me so they could share their ideas, suggestions and and perceptions of the regulator as well as proposing synergy and partnerships. This made me feel less intimidated!

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