Employee success stories: Andisiwe Mangweni

Absolute commitment and a willingness to learn have enabled a young operations management graduate to create a career in the fishing industry. 

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the possibility of securing in-service training seemed like a remote ambition, Andisiwe Mangweni was ecstatic to be offered a 12-month internship with Nalitha Fishing Group in Hout Bay.  

Recognising the opportunity she’d been given, Andisiwe rolled up her sleeves and on her first day at work joined Nalitha’s team of skilled fish processors on the factory floor. Her new colleagues schooled her in the preparation of prime quality hake for the export market and opened her eyes to an industry Andisiwe knew nothing about. 

“I remember on 26 December, Boxing Day, we were here packing baby hake,” recalls Andisiwe. “I was part of the team, packing with them, weighing the fish, writing the tallies and I had to compile the job sheets that summarised what was produced, the tonnage produced as well as the hours work. So that was my internship, I was just part of the production team.” 

Andisiwe needed the internship with Nalitha Fishing Group to complete a Diploma in Operations Management through Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), but her willingness to work hard and learn as much as she could impressed her managers. After 12 months she was offered a permanent job as Factory Operations Supervisor. 

Andisiwe’s new role has challenged her in ways she never imagined: 

“It’s nice working with people,” she says. “I never thought I would be able to do that. I never thought I have this ability that I see in myself now. So I would say that Nalitha brought out a side of myself that I didn’t know about.” 

“I studied operations management, but I never imagined myself managing people at my age, giving them instructions. So, it’s just a crowning achievement that Nalitha has done for me. They just gave me a big opportunity.” 

Finding the courage and an effective way to supervise men and women who are many years her senior, and usually more experienced than she is, was one of the biggest challenges Andisiwe faced when she began her job as a supervisor. She has also learned in detail about the different processing and storage requirements of the various types of fish that are processed by hand at Nalitha’s Sentinel processing plant in Hout Bay, and is informed about the demands of the food safety system HACCP, thanks to the mentorship of Quality Manager and HACCP Controller, Allison Arendse. 

Andisiwe is very aware of the struggles that many of her fellow learners at CPUT have encountered in trying to secure in-service training, and the difficulties that most young South Africans face in finding employment. She is grateful for the opportunities she has been given by Nalitha Fishing Group and excited to learn as much as she can so that she can grow professionally and build a career as an operations manager in the fishing industry. 

I’m putting all my best to make sure that I bring value to my job,” she says seriously, “I’m doing all that I can to make Nalitha a successful company.”