Dr Johan van Zyl, the initiator of the Public-Private Growth Initiative (PPGI), an ITI project focussing on growth and investment in the South African economy, sadly passed away on Friday, 30 July, at the age of 63. During the last three years his leadership in the PPGI project was visionary and dynamic. Johan at the time of his death was the executive chairperson of Toyota South Africa (TSA).
Dr Johan’s career in the automotive industry spanned more than 28 years and during this time, he held many important positions in the Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC). Most notably he was appointed as the CEO of TSA in 2003. He was also the Former President and CEO of Toyota Motor Europe and the CEO of the African Region for the TMC.
He was not only an important leader in the automotive industry, but also in South Africa as a whole. Dr Johan, along with other business and social partners, established PPGI to focus on resolving some of the socio-economic challenges that the country faces.
Stavros Nicolaou, one of PPGI’s key participants, had the following to say about Dr Johan: “In my experience, all the accolades that have been referred to since yesterday [30 July] and more are true, however the one that rings out most is Johan’s patriotism. His untimely demise is a devastating blow for our country, particularly at this time.”
Roelf Meyer, another key PPGI initiator and an ITI Director, said in an interview with Rapport that Dr Johan “wanted a better life for all”, because he “cared for all South Africans”. He added the words of Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma saying Dr Johan was a “pleasure to work with” and was a “beautiful soul”.
Dr Johan is survived by his wife, Santie, his two daughters, sons-in-law, and his grandchildren.
We at ITI will miss him dearly and his memory will continue to inspire us to make this country a better place for all.