Founders Note: Cas Coovadia is Managing Director of the Banking Association South Africa, has been a longtime supporter of the Operation HOPE movement there, from our early days in the country, and we are thrilled to now announce his appointment to the board of directors for Operation HOPE of South Africa. This photo actually shows Cas at his best — talking to young people about the power of financial dignity and empowerment in their lives, during an Operation HOPE/Banking Association of South African collaborative effort in Soweto, South Africa. While Cas Coovadia is a prominent leader in South Africa, he is always ready to engage community, and to meet people where they are. This makes him an ideal director for Operation HOPE South Africa, and we are fortunate and lucky to have him. Honored even. – John Hope Bryant
Cas obtained his B.Com from the University College – Durban in 1971. He completed the Housing Finance Course with the Wharton Real Estate Centre at the University of Pennsylvania. He also completed the Effective Directors Programme with the Kagiso School of Leadership. He has contributed to numerous articles and publications on housing finance, civil society, local government and the role of civic organisations in governance.
Cas became involved in anti-apartheid politics in the early 1980’s. He was very active in the civic movement, starting in Laudium, Pretoria in 1980. He was the leading force in the establishment of the White Blocks Residents Association in Laudium during 1980. This was the first organized civic body in the country and mobilized low-income people around their day-to-day issues. Cas subsequently was instrumental in the formation of the Civic Association of Johannesburg, which was the trailblazer in negotiations around the restructuring of local government in the early 1990’s. The Civic Association of Johannesburg, which included the Soweto Civic Association, Alexandra Civic Organisation, Lenasia Civic Association and others, was the central party from the Mass Democratic Movement in negotiations around the restructuring of the Johannesburg Metropolitan Council. Cas was General Secretary of the Civic Association of Johannesburg and led the negotiations. He was also instrumental in the formation of the South African National Civic Organisation and was its Vice-President. Cas played a critical role in the United Democratic Front (UDF) and was leading its Johannesburg Area Committee. He also played a critical role in the defiance campaign during the mid 1980’s.
Cas served 4 periods of detention at Modderbee Prison in Benoni, Pretoria Central Prison, John Vorster Square and Diepkloof Prison. His longest period of detention was 7 months.
Cas is currently the Managing Director at The Banking Association South Africa. He has played a central role in the negotiations leading to the signing of the Financial Services Charter and is playing a critical role in the implementation of agreements reached in the Charter.
Cas is chairman of The Johannesburg Civic Theatre and Vice-Chairperson of the Trust for Urban Housing Finance. He is also Chairperson of the National Business Initiative and 1st Deputy Chairman of the African Union for Housing Finance and also serves on the Board of the Centre for Development and Enterprise.
Cas was instrumental in the conceptualisation and establishment of Community
Bank in South Africa and is passionate about the area of access to financial services to the broad spectrum of people in South Africa. He has considerable experience in housing finance, SMME support, local government restructuring, dynamics of organised business and the financial environment in the SADC region.
He served articles for training as a chartered accountant and ran an accounting practice for a number of years. He also spent time with the Kagiso Group managing a small venture capital company that invested in emerging manufacturing enterprises. He is thus proficient in the financial environment and able to get on top of issues fairly quickly.
Cas is married to Sabera Bobat and has a sixteen-year-old daughter by the name of Nabeelah. He has a son, Bilal, from a previous marriage.