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​who we are and what we do

Board of Governors

MISTRA is committed to best practices of good governance and as such is governed by a Board of Governors made up of South Africans with expertise and experience in various areas relevant to the Institute’s work.
MISTRA’s commitment to good governance and strict financial oversight has seen the Institute receive three consecutive clean audits.

The Board of Governors is made up of South Africans with expertise and experience in areas relevant to the Institute’s work. It exercises fiduciary responsibilities in relation to the Institute by ensuring that the Institute operates in accordance with relevant laws, regulations and corporate governance principles. Its general mandate is to supervise management of the Institute and ensure that the best interests of the Institute are served. Its functions, inter alia, are to:

  • provide guidance on the broad direction of the Institute’s work by approving, monitoring and evaluating the strategic plans of the Institute
  • contribute to the Institute’s broad strategic content
  • exercise oversight on governance matters relating to the operations of the Institute, including approval of corporate governance principles as well as human resources and compensation policies
  • act as the public face of the Institute on strategic governance matters
  • contribute to building domestic and international partnerships
  • receive reports from management and take strategic decisions on matters of governance
  • exercise oversight with regard to the management of the funds of the Institute and, in this regard, approve investment policies, budgets and financial statements
  • ensure appropriate systems to manage risks
  • contribute to resource-mobilisation initiatives

The Executive Director of the Institute is a member of the Board of Governors and Vice-Chairperson. The Director Operations is an ex-officio member of the Board of Governors.

The members of the Board of Governors are:

Sibusiso Vil-Nkomo - Chairperson


Sibusiso Vil-Nkomo is Research Professor at the Center for the Advancement of Scholarship at the University of Pretoria and a Fulbright Research Scholar. He is former Executive Director at the University of Pretoria , previously served as the Dean of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences at the University of Pretoria and was responsible for the development of the School of Public Management and Administration and the establishment of the Masters in Diplomacy at the same Institution. 

In 1994, Sibusiso was appointed by then President Nelson Mandela to serve in the first democratic government as Public Service Commissioner with major responsibilities to advance the once racially divided public service.

He received his Bachelors degree at Lincoln University, PA (magna cum laude) and Masters and PhD degrees at the University of Delaware.

He maintains his research interests in public sector economics,  urban economics, political economy and public service development. These are the areas of research he is developing in the Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship.

He is a founder member and Chairman of a Think Tank in South Africa, called the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA). 

It focuses on trans-disciplinary analysis and research. Sibusiso serves and has served on numerous private and public sector boards in South Africa. He is a Fellow of the Fordham University Business School Consortium in New York City,  retains the position of Visiting Professor at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies in Atlanta, Georgia and is on the Board of Advisors of the School of Public Policy and Public Administration at the University of Delaware in the USA.

He is a member of the Advisory Task Team, appointed by the Minister of  the Public Service and Administration, responsible for the establishment of the National School of Government.  He serves on the Advisory Planning Commission for the Metropolitan City of Tshwane (Pretoria) having been appointed by the Executive Mayor.

Sibusiso is a member of the South African Academy of Science, Economic Society of South Africa, South African Association of Public Management and Administration and the Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management.​

Joel Netshitenzhe - Vice Chairperson & Exec. Director


Joel Khathutshelo Netshitenzhe was born in 1956 in the Limpopo Province. He suspended his studies at the University of Natal (Medical School) in 1976 when he joined the African National Congress in exile.

Mr Netshitenzhe has a Master of Science (MSc) degree in Financial Economics and a post-graduate diploma in Economic Principles from the University of London; as well as a diploma in Political Science from the Institute of Social Sciences in Moscow.

Before 1994, he served in various capacities within the ANC: Radio Freedom, Mayibuye editor, member of the ANC Politico-Military Council, Deputy Head of the Department of Information and Publicity, and as part of the ANC negotiating team. He has been a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ANC since 1991.

Before joining the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) as CEO in 1998, he was Head of Communication in President Nelson Mandela's office. In addition to being GCIS CEO, he was in 2001 appointed Head of the Policy Co-ordination and Advisory Services (PCAS) in The Presidency. 

He headed the PCAS on a full-time basis from 2006 until his retirement in 2009. He now works as an independent researcher, and is the Executive Director of the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA).

He is a Member of the Boards of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Nedbank Group and Life Healthcare Group; and a Champion within Programme Pioneer of the Nelson Mandela Foundation and Life College Association. He is a member of the ANC National Executive Committee, and also served as a member of the National Planning Commission (2010 – 2015). 

Tanya Abrahamse


Originally, from Cape Town, Tanya has a BSc in Biology from the University of Zambia: a MSc and DIP in Applied Entomology and Insect Ecology from Imperial College University of London and a PhD from the University of Westminster, and was involved in many policy and decision making processes that contributed to the success of the transition in South Africa before 1994- including land reform, rural development, economic scenario planning as well as worked for the ANC and for rural NGOs in Zimbabwe and South Africa.

In 1994 she was appointed Chief Director in President Mandela's Office: Facilitation and Management of the Reconstruction & Development Programme (RDP) Fund, and later appointed Deputy Director General in the Environment & Tourism Department, where she headed the Resource Use branch (which included Marine and Coastal Management Biodiversity and Heritage Management and Tourism).

She joined the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) in 2000 as its Executive Director and sat on a number of key tourism bodies, played a leading role in the Tourism Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) Charter process and advised on the public/private partnership policy development for nature-based tourism state assets. 

She received the African Tourism Achiever Award 2005 and was nominated as a candidate for Secretary General of the World Tourism Organisation.

She was appointed in 2007 as the first CEO of the South African National Biodiversity Institute. SANBI is a public entity responsible for Biodiversity Research, Policy Support, Knowledge & Information Management; best practice management models as well as running the nine (9) National Botanical Gardens, mandated by the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act (NEMBA) of 2004.

She sits on the global committee monitoring the state of biodiversity for the Convention on Biological Diversity, was a member of the Task Team for Future Earth (the restructuring of global earth science research), is a founder member of The Global Science Collection Group and was second vice chair of the Science Committee of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). She is on the Board of Trustees of WWF-SA and an executive committee member of COHORT (the committee of science institution heads).

Patricia Hanekom


Patricia [Trish] Hanekom was born in Zimbabwe and completed her schooling there. She enrolled for a BSc degree at UCT in 1976. As a student activist, she was arrested for the first time for her involvement in opposing forced removals and ultimately, suspended her studies at UCT in 1978. 

She moved to Magaliesburg where she and her husband farmed. They were involved in underground structures of the ANC and were arrested in 1983 for providing information on the destabilisation of neighbouring countries by the then SADF. 

After an in camera trial and a prison sentence of just over three years, Trish was deported to Zimbabwe in 1987. In Zimbabwe she served in ANC structures until returning to South Africa in 1991 after receiving amnesty.

Trish was the Deputy Elections Co-ordinator for the Gauteng Province in the run up to the 1994 elections and then served as a member of the Gauteng Legislature from 1994 to 1997. 

In 1997 she was appointed as Head of Department for the Department of Agriculture, Conservation. Environment and Land Affairs and in 2004 she took responsibility as Chief Executive Officer for two of the Gauteng Province's strategic economic infrastructure investment projects, the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site and Dinokeng tourism developments.

Dr Trish Hanekom has a Master of Science degree in Financial Economics (2001) and a post-graduate diploma in Economic Principles (1997) from the University of London. She also has a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery degree from the Medical University of South Africa (1993) and a Bachelor of Science degree in Operations Management, Statistics and Computer Science from Unisa (1987).

Trish currently serves in the Ministerial Advisory Task Team for the creation of a National School of Government.  

She is a Board Member and Chair of the Audit Committee of the Medical Research Council and of Onderstepoort Biological Products (SOC) Ltd.  

She is also a Board Member of Maropeng a’Afrika Leisure (Pty) Ltd, the operator of the official visitor centre to the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site Trust.

Jean-Marie Jullienne


​Jean-Marie was born in Mauritius in a town called Curepipe. After completing his -A levels he left for London where he joined the City of London College and graduated in 1973.

He then did his articles with a firm of chartered accountants: Robson Rhodes Lasser and Dunwoody which are based in the City of London. 

He moved to South Africa in 1979 as a Director to a Swiss-based firm operating in the metal trade. He married in November 1979 and has one son David who was born in 1980.

In 1986 he started translating the Bible from the original languages of Hebrew and Greek, which remains his passion to this day. 

Between 1979 and 2009, he was involved with a number of companies. He was joint-CEO of Environmental Resources, a company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

He started a number of organisations including the Association of Pension Contributors and Pensioners as well as the Bee Foundation and the Veterans Foundation Groups of Companies. 

During that period he was also a patron of the arts and helped a number of artists gain world recognition. 

In 2005 he graduated from Newport University USA with an MBA and this year completed his PhD in Management of Technology and Innovation with the Da Vinci Institute for Technology Management. 

In 2007 he was appointed Honorary Colonel of Regiment President Kruger in Randfontein. He is Deputy Chairperson for the ANC in the John Nkadimeng Branch in Johannesburg.

Brigitte Mabandla


​Brigitte Mabandla was born in Johannesburg in 1948. She obtained an LLB from the University of Zambia in 1977 majoring in Corporate Law and International Trade and Investment.

During her years in exile, Brigitte was an ANC delegate to the United Nations treaty conferences as well as to the United Nations Commission for Human Rights.

From 1990 to 1993 she worked at the University of the Western Cape Community Law Centre conducting advocacy and research on women's and children's rights. She served as a Member of Parliament from 1994 to 2009.

She served as Deputy Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology from 1995 to 2002, as Minister of Housing in 2003, as Minister of Justice from 2004 to 2006 and as Minister of Public Enterprise from 2008 to 2009.

Mosibudi Mangena


Mosibudi Mangena was born in 1947 in Tzaneen, in the now Limpopo Province. He is married to Thabile and they have two children.

He matriculated at Hebron Training Institute in 1969. In 1970, he enrolled at the University of Zululand (Ngoye) for a BSc degree where he was elected to the SRC and became active in the South African Students Organisation (SASO). 

He discontinued his studies and moved back to Pretoria where he became active in the local branch of SASO and PRESO,

In 1972, he was elected the first National Organiser of the Black People's Convention at its inaugural Congress. 

In 1973 he was detained under the Terrorism Act in Port Elizabeth. He was later charged, convicted and sent to Robben Island for five years. While on Robben Island and under banning orders, he completed a BSc and BSc Hons degrees with the University of South Africa. He now holds a Master of Science degree in Applied Mathematics.

On his release in 1978, he was banned and restricted to Mahwelereng Township in the then Lebowa Homeland for five years. 

In 1981 he went into exile, and joined the Black Consciousness Movement of Azania (BCMA). He was first elected Chairperson of the Botswana Chapter of the movement, and in 1982 became the Chairperson of the Central Committee of the BCMA. 

In 1983, he moved his operational base to Zimbabwe where, he resided until he returned to South Africa in 1994. On his return from exile he was elected President of AZAPO at the merger Congress of the BCMA and AZAPO.

He was elected a Member of Parliament in April 1999 and appointed the Deputy Minister of Education in January 2001. In April 2004 he was appointed the first Minister of Science and Technology. 

In this capacity he chaired the SADC ministers responsible for science and technology and the continental African Ministers' Council on Science and Technology.

He is the author of four books. viz.. On Your Own (1989); A Quest for True Humanity (1996); A Twin World (1996) and My Grandmother is Permanent (2004).

He has an honorary doctorate from the Vaal University of Technology as well as one from Stellenbosch University. He was recently appointed as a member of the Human Resource Development Council a body chaired by the Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa.




Kgabele Solomon Mapaila


Mr. Solly Mapaila was born on the 19th June 1969 in Thokoza township, an African suburban confluence 25 kilo meters South East of Johannesburg. He is born of a Christian working class family that worked in the sprawling industrial area of Eastern ​Johannesburg. His father was a factory workers and his mother worked in the catering industry. They are both deceased.

After matriculating he skipped (left into exile) the country to join the then underground liberation movement the ANC where he was enlisted in its military wing Umkhonto we Sizwe – MK (the spear of the nation). After completing his basic guerilla warfare, he studied military science at the Dr. Hugo Nkabinde Military Training College in Uganda. He also became a military instructor and rose in the ranks of the army and became a commissar. He came back to South Africa in September 1994 for integration programme of all armed forces into the newly established single South African National Defence Force.

He did political science and taught Marxist political classes to the camp and the new recruits in the army and was made in charge of the Education Centre of the camp which was responsible for teaching and upgrading the levels of education in the camp. He also holds a Diploma in Banking and when he left the army after a democratic elections were held  and ushered in a democratic dispensation in South Africa he worked for the Volkskas Bank now ABSA bank in South Africa. 

Not contend or impressed with the conservatism of the banking sector he left to establish the Swaziland Solidarity Network to promote and advance the struggle for democracy in Swaziland since 1996. He is the chairperson of the Swaziland Solidarity Network - South Africa chapter.

He served in the various structures of the democratic movement, as an underground member of the then banned South African Communist Party, East Rand district responsible for building underground Party cells and units. During this time he also served as a member of the executive committee of Thokoza Youth Congress and later the South African Youth Congress, Thokoza branch.

Upon his return to South Africa was elected as the leader of the SACP branch and the ANCYL branch as executive member and chairperson respectively, ANCYL as its Chairperson in the East Rand region and later elected to serve in its Provincial Executive Committee. He also served in the East Rand, Regional Executive Committee of the ANC. In 1998, he was appointed by the SACP Central Committee to head its National Electoral Committee for the Tripartite Alliance plus one led campaign for the second democratic elections in 1999 elections. 

After the elections in 1999, he was appointed as the National Organiser of the SACP until July 2007 when he was elected into the Central Committee and later its Politburo and elected to lead the PB Portfolio as Secretary for Organising, Campaigns and Ideological Development, the position he still holds.

In 2008, he served in the Transitional Committee established and led by the ANC President to prepare for the new government after the recall of then President Thabo Mbeki, to advice the new president on the structure and priorities of the new government administration. After the 2009 democratic elections that saw the appointment of the General Secretary of the SACP as a Cabinet Minister, he was added with the responsibility to be the Head of the Office of the General Secretary full time at the SACP Head Office.

He has represented the SACP in all key meetings with fraternal organizations and attended many conferences some as a speaker and serves in several other international solidarity organizations. He is a visiting scholar at the South African National Defence College for which he holds a silver accreditation certificate.

He was elected as the 2nd Deputy General Secretary at the 13th Party National Congress in 2012, the position he still holds.​ 

Tshilidzi Ratshitanga


Before starting his career Tshilidzi was involved in the liberation struggle in South Africa and participated in a number of organisations that were part of the Liberation Movement alongside his activism in the ANC. 

Notably he served as General Secretary of both the Congress of South African Students (COSAS) and the South African Student Congress (SASCO) and as Gauteng ANC Youth League Provincial Executive Member.

Tshilidzi graduated with a BA Honours in Politics and Development Studies from Rand Afrikaans University (now University of Johannesburg). 

He also obtained an MPhil in Political Economy from the University of Port Elizabeth. He holds a Certificate in Public Information and Communication Policy and Management from Wits University. 

He also obtained a Certificate in Managing Change in the Public Service from Singapore Civil Service College as well as an Advanced Certificate in Shopping Centre Leadership (ACSCL) from the University of Pretoria.

Tshilidzi is currently Managing Director of Mitupo Investment Holdings, Chairman of Bokamoso Investment Trust, Director of Vuselela Mining, Rakhoma Resources and Council Member of the National Small Business Advisory Council.




Sibusiso Sibisi


​Dr Sibisi took office as President of the CSIR on 1 January 2002. He previously held the position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) at the University of Cape Town (UCT).

Born in Mariannhill, KwaZulu-Natal, Sibisi completed a BSc (Hons) in physics at Imperial College, London and obtained a PhD from the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP), Cambridge University in 1983.

Sibisi joined the Department of Computational and Applied Mathematics, University of the Witwatersrand in 1984 and was a Fulbright Fellow at the California Institute of Technology in 1988.

He returned to Cambridge in 1989 to assume a research position at DAMTP and in 1991, co-founded a research-based small enterprise at Cambridge. On his return to South Africa in 1997, Sibisi joined Plessey as Executive Director (Research &Development) before joining UCT.

He is a former chairman of South Africa’s National Advisory Council on Innovation. Dr Sibisi was awarded the Order of Mapungubwe: Silver by President Thabo Mbeki in September 2007.

National Orders are bestowed on South Africans who contribute to the betterment of the country in their respective fields and represent the highest award that a country, through its President, bestows on its citizens.

Sibisi serves on the boards of Liberty Life and the Mapungubwe Institute.

Bunguza Peter Vundla


Born in 1948, Peter was a black-consciousness student activist at the University of Fort Hare, from which he was expelled.   He holds a BA degree in political science and history from Unisa.

Having formerly served on the Boards of National Chemical Products (NCP), Sentrachem; Alcatel-Lucent; the SABC; Sanlam and New Africa Investment Limited (NAIL), Peter is the Non-Executive Chairman of AMB Holdings Limited.  

He is also Chairman of New Seasons Investments and has chaired the Black Business Executive Circle and the Black Business Presidential Working Group.  

Peter is Chairman of the Mail & Guardian, member of the Unisa Council, director on the boards of Wesbank, Business Against Crime and Special Olympics South Africa.

Peter was a founding member, Managing Director and later Chairman, of South Africa’s first Black-owned and managed advertising agency, HerdBuoys Mc-Cann–Erickson.  

He has served on a number of advertising and marketing industry bodies.

He is also a trustee of a number of non-governmental organizations.

Sonja de Bruyn Sebotsa


Sonja De Bruyn Sebotsa is a co-Founder and Principal Partner of the largest black women-owned fund manager in South Africa, Identity Partners. Identity Partners is an investment, advisory and financing firm. It has an investment portfolio of 12 companies from the insurance, food, ICT, rail and energy sectors.

She was previously, Executive Director at WDB Investment Holdings from 2002 to 2007 after serving as Vice President at the Deutsche Bank. She led several large BEE acquisitions including Bidvest, FirstRand, Discovery and Anglo-Coal Inyosi.

Sonja also has 12 years’ experience as a Company Director, having served on the Boards of FirstRand, Anglo American Platinum, Mr. Price Group and Dimension Data South Africa.

She is currently a Non-Executive Director of RMB/RMI Holdings, Discovery Group and Remgro as well as Chairperson of Aquarius Platinum South Africa. She was previously a Trustee of the National Empowerment Fund and a member of the Presidential Working Group on BEE.

Sonja holds an LLB (Honours) degree from the London School of Economics and an MA in Economics and Business from McGill University in Montreal. She completed the Harvard Executive Programme in 2012 and is also 2010 alumni of the Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum.

She has been the recipient of a number of awards including awards from the Black Management Forum and the Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals with the most recent being ABSIP’s Woman of the Year in 2014.

She is a founding member of a Pan African Women in Finance advocacy forum called New Faces New Voices created under the Graca Machel Trust.​

Malose Kekana


Malose Kekana is the former Chief Executive Officer of Umsobomvu Youth Fund. He has a wealth of experience in deal-making, corporate finance and investment market expertise earned from a long career in the banking industry.

Malose left Umsobomvu Youth Fund to establish Prodigy Capital, a private equity fund associated with Prodigy Asset Management based in Cape Town. He returned to Johannesburg to start MEEG Capital, an investment banking subsidiary of MEEG Bank Holdings which also owned part of MEEG Bank (the former Bank of Transkei). Thereafter he established Baswa Investment Company to participate in Black Economic Empowerment transactions as a youth investment group.

He started his own business venture, investing in property development and coal mining. He has since exited the coal mining investment. In 2012, he bought a 26% stake in property development company, Tri-Star, which has a level 9 CIDB grading.

Malose is also the founder of a black economic empowerment (BEE) consortium, Belelani Capital, that recently acquired a 24% stake worth more than R4 billion in Pareto, one of South Africa’s largest retail property companies with a portfolio valued in excess of R25 billion which he is directly involved in, serving as an executive director in the company.

He has previously served on the Board of the Black Management Forum Investment (BMFI), an investment company of the Black Management Forum, as Deputy Chairperson and Chairperson of the Investment Committee, Council of the University of Limpopo as well as the Council for the Support of National Defence which is charged with supporting the National Reserve Force and the SA National Defence Force.

He serves as the Chairman of Progressive Youth Investment Company and Khaya Car Hire. He is the lead independent non-executive director at Muvoni Technology Group Limited and serves as a Board member of Ideco Group Limited and Crux Technologies.

Malose holds a BCom from the University of Witwatersrand and a BCom Hons from the University of South Africa.

Febe Potgieter Gqubule


Ambassador Febe Potgieter-Gqubule has been the Deputy Chief of Staff at the African Union Commission since April 2015. Ms Potgieter-Gqubule is the Advisor for Strategy and Planning to the outgoing AU Commission Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. Prior to joining the African Union in 2012 Ambassador Potgieter-Gqubule served as the South African Ambassador and Head of Mission to Poland.

She served as a member of the Council of the Mangosotho University of Technology from 2012 to 2014 and previously served on the boards of various not-for profit or public entities, including as a member of the Board of Governors of MISTRA (2010-2013), as Deputy Chairperson of the Board of the State Information Technology Agency (2010-2013), Chairperson of the Board of the Lejweleputswa Development Agency (2009-2013), the advisory board of the University of Witwatersrand's Education Policy Unit (EPU) (2011-2013), the Board of the Education and Training Unit (2002-2012).

Febe has a long history and extensive work experience in youth development and employment. She has served on the National Youth Development Forum and has been a Secretary General of the ANC Youth League during the early 1990s.

She has a Master's Degree from the University of Witwatersrand, with her research focusing on youth labour market policy and institutions in Gauteng. She has since written several articles pertaining to the Youth, Gender, Social Democracy and Institutionalisation among others.​

Zamandlovu Ndlovu


Zamandlovu Ndlovu is the Deputy Managing Director of Livity Africa. She is currently reading towards a Masters in Philosophy in Inclusive Innovation at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business where she is a Bertha Scholar.

She was previously a Management Consultant at Accenture, a director at National Planning Commission’s Secretariat and was one of the co-founders and managing director of Youth Lab from 2011 to 2015.

She is a published author (Bad Black’s Manifesto) and has been a columnist for The Times, The Sowetan, Marie Claire and until recently Business Day.

Zamandlovu holds a BCom in Economics and Econometrics from the University of Johannesburg and Honours in Public Policy and Management from the University of Stellenbosch. She is a UK Government International Leaders alumni (2014), M&G Top 200 Young South Africans 2015, Finweek’s Top Women to Watch for 2015, and Mzansi 100 Young Independents 2016.​