Our advisors

Meet our panel of experts

Four eminent South Africans have agreed to serve on an advisory panel of experts to help guide the future development of The Sukuma Fund, which provides crisis assistance to small businesses affected by the economic impact of the coronavirus.

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba

The Most Reverend Dr Thabo Makgoba is the Archbishop of Cape Town, head of the Anglican church in Southern Africa and an outspoken church leader. He is also chancellor of the University of the Western Cape, serves on the board of various non-governmental organisations and is a trustee of the Archbishop Thabo Makgoba Development Trust.

Dr Makgoba grew up in Alexandra Township before he and his family were forcibly removed to Soweto, where he became caught up in the youth uprising of 1976. He began his church ministry at St Mary’s Cathedral in Johannesburg and became Bishop of Grahamstown in 2004 and Archbishop of Cape Town in 2008 – at 48, the youngest person elected to this office.

He holds a BSc, a BA (Honours) in Applied Psychology and a MEd in Educational Psychology, all from the University of the Witwatersrand, and a PhD from the University of Cape Town. He was awarded an honorary doctorate of divinity by the General Theological Seminary (of the Episcopal Church) in New York City. He has been described as an influential and trusted voice in South African civil society, and widely respected for his forthrightness and integrity.

Cas Coovadia

Cas Coovadia brings a wealth of business, organisational and strategic skills to his new advisory role at Sukuma. After 15 years as managing director of the Banking Association of South Africa, he has just been appointed chief executive officer of Business Unity South Africa, the representative body for organised business in South Africa. He is credited with strengthening the Banking Association and positioning it as a credible voice for the banking industry and will now lead the country’s top business body at a time of huge economic uncertainty.

His involvement in anti-apartheid politics in the 1980s led to leading roles in the SA National Civic Organisation, the United Democratic Front and the defiance campaign. It also led to four periods of detention. Since 1994 he has had leadership positions in a number of local and international bodies, while also gaining experience in small business support and housing finance and promoting access to financial services for all South Africans. He holds a BCom from the University College, Durban.

Thabi Leoka

Dr Thabi Leoka is a prominent economist working in the financial sector. She was recently appointed by President Ramaphosa to the Public Investment Corporation Commission of Inquiry.

Dr Leoka is a non-executive director of MTN SA, the Small Business Institute and ACT-Afrique (based in Senegal). She sits on the advisory board of Deloitte SA, as well as the Council of Statistics South Africa where she chairs its economic committee. She was appointed by the Minister of Finance in 2018 to review zero-rated products in order to support the poor and vulnerable in the country.

Dr Leoka started her career as an economist at Investec Asset Management in South Africa and London. She has worked as an emerging markets economist at Barclays Capital, London and was Head of Economic Research, SA at Standard Bank and Chief Economist for SA at Renaissance Capital.

She has a PhD in Economics from the University of London, an MSc in Economics and Economic History from the London School of Economics and MA (Distinction) from the University of the Witwatersrand. She was named the Economist of The Year 2017 by The Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals.

Thami Mazwai

A former journalist and editor, Dr Thami Mazwai has spent decades understanding and promoting small business. He has a Doctorate in Commerce from the University of Pretoria in entrepreneurship and small business development and headed a small business task team for the National Planning Commission. He has also served on the council of the National Small Business Advisory Committee and was special advisor to the Minister of Small Business Development. Dr Mazwai’s academic career includes Professor in Entrepreneurship at the University of the Western Cape and the University of Fort Hare, and resident executive at the Wits Business School.

Known for his sharply critical writing during his years at the Sowetan newspaper in Johannesburg, Thami Mazwai was jailed for his opposition to apartheid, including a term on Robben Island. He said in 2014 that it was because of the legacy of the past that he had decided to devote his life to small business development “because that’s the only way in which you can really catapult people into a productive life and being part of the economy”.