skip to Main Content

NEF announces the appointment of new Board Chairman & Trustees


Leading development financier, the National Empowerment Fund (NEF), welcomes the appointment by President Jacob Zuma of Mr Thando Mhlambiso as the new chairman of the NEF’s board of trustees.


Mr Mhlambiso, who previously served the NEF as a trustee and as chairman of the board investment committee, was appointed together with Ms Jacqueline Williams and Mr Sipho Zikode as the three new non-executive members of the board. The trustees that have been reappointed are Ms Zukiswa Ntlangula, Mr Allon Raiz, Ms Nomalanga Mosala, Ms Angelina Makwetla, Mr Rakesh Garach, Ms Avril Halstead and Ms Jacky Molisane. The two executive trustees are the CEO, Ms Philisiwe Buthelezi, and the CFO, Ms Innocentia Pelo.




Fostering black economic participation


For more than twenty years, Mr Mhlambiso has worked in various capacities in asset management, principal investing, investment banking and corporate law across Africa and in the United States.

“It is enormously exciting to return to the NEF, on whose board I served for five years until 2010. I re-join an organization that is far more dynamic than the one that I left, and a team of accomplished trustees and executives who are as passionate as I about fostering black economic empowerment in our country, and possibly further afield. Together with my colleagues, I look forward to leading the NEF as it strives to contribute meaningfully and constructively to nation-building, to be relentless in operating an effective organization, and in promoting prosperity in other African countries,” says Mr Mhlambiso.

NEF CEO, Ms Philisiwe Buthelezi, says “under the esteemed leadership and counsel of the new board, the NEF should grow substantially as a development finance institution in South Africa. Our organisation enjoys a combination of new depth and acumen, and the retention of proven excellence. The chairman, Mr Mhlambiso, has a reputation as a thinker, a leader and a visionary in financing and building productive businesses and under whose oversight the NEF, together with contributions of the board in its entirety, is certain to help catapult black economic empowerment to greater heights”.


About the new trustees


Mr Thando Mhlambiso is an executive director of Allan Gray where he leads the firm’s operations and expansion plans across Africa (excluding South Africa). Formed in 1974, Allan Gray manages approximately $45 billion in assets on behalf of institutions and individuals and is Africa’s largest privately-owned investment manager. Prior to Allan Gray, he served in South Africa on investments across the continent as managing principal and head of infrastructure equity investments at Absa Capital, as CEO of Sanlam Private Equity, and as a founding partner of Kagiso Ventures Private Equity Fund. In the United States, Mr Mhlambiso rendered cross-border advice as a mergers & acquisitions associate with JP Morgan, and as a corporate finance attorney with the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Mr. Mhlambiso has also served as chairman of E2 and as vice-chairman of council (and chairman of the remuneration committee and a member of the executive committee) of the University of Cape Town. He holds an AB in Biology from Brown University, an MBA in Finance from Columbia University Graduate School of Business and a juris doctorate from Columbia University School of Law (where he was an editor of the Columbia Business law Review).

Ms Jacqueline Williams has attained a broad spectrum of experience and expertise as a political scientist, theologian and gender activist. Her point of focus has always been the empowerment of people, especially of the historically marginalised groups in society, with regard to race, gender and class. She is the owner and managing director of the Johannesburg-based Williams & Calmer Management and Training Consultants, which provides a range of solutions in organisational development, training, facilitation and project management.

Mr Sipho Zikode, a deputy director general of the dtic, is responsible for the department’s Empowerment Enterprise Development Division. Among other things, EEDD fosters the growth of SMMEs and cooperatives by creating an enabling environment and overseeing the support provided by agencies such as the Small Enterprise Development Agency and the South African Micro-finance Apex Fund. EEDD’s goal is to increase the number of SMMEs (currently 2 million) and cooperatives (17 000 registered, but many more informal, including an estimated 800 000 stokvels) in South Africa, and to grow their contribution to GDP from 40% to 45% over the next 5 years.


Over R4,5 billion approved


Since its inception, the NEF has approved over R4.5 billion for black empowered businesses, which have collectively created more than 31 000 decent jobs countrywide. “In excess of 30% of NEF funding has gone to businesses that are owned and managed by black women,” adds Ms Buthelezi.

For Media Enquiries

Moemise Motsepe

Manager: Marketing & Communications

083 533 4114 / 011 305-8127 /

Emmanuel Mohlamme

Deputy Manager: Marketing & Communications

071 671 9560 / 011 305- 8190







Established by the National Empowerment Fund Act No 105 of 1998, the NEF is a driver and a thought-leader in promoting and facilitating black economic participation through the provision of financial and non-financial support to black empowered businesses, as well as by promoting a culture of savings and investment among black people.

Back To Top