CDE Advisory Board

Simon Ridley
Chairman of the board

Simon Ridley attended the University of Natal where he obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree in 1980 and a Higher Diploma in Accounting in 1981. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1982. In 1994 he completed an Advanced Management Programme at Oxford University. He held various finance positions at Momentum Life, United Bank and ABSA before joining Standard Bank in 1999 as Director, Finance and Operations in Standard Corporate and Merchant Bank (now Standard Bank: Corporate and Investment Banking).  He was appointed Chief Financial Officer of the Standard Bank Group in 2002 and retired as Group Financial Director of Standard Bank in 2016. He is currently a non-executive director of several companies and entities affiliated to the Standard Bank group.

Ann Bernstein
Executive director

Ann Bernstein heads the Centre for Development and Enterprise, South Africa. CDE is regarded by many including the London Financial Times as the country’s leading policy centre for social and economic development.

In addition, CDE has a special focus on the role of business and its contribution to development. Ann was a member of the Transition Team and then the Board of the Development Bank of Southern Africa (1994 – 2001). In 2005 she was a Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy, Washington DC. In 2007 she joined the Board of the Brenthurst Foundation. In 2008 and 2009 she was an invited faculty member at the World Economic Forum in Davos and participates in their Global Agenda Council’s Initiative.

Her book, The Case for Business in Developing Economies was published by Penguin in 2010. She is a regular public speaker and has been published by newspapers around the country, often appearing on radio and TV. Her many other publications and books include Migration and Refugee Policies (with M. Weiner, London, 1999), Business and Democracy: Cohabitation or Contradiction? (with P.L. Berger, London, 1998), and Policy Making in A New Democracy: South Africa’s Challenges for the 21st century (CDE,1999).

Antony Ball

Antony Charles Ball
Board member

Antony Ball obtained a B. Comm and B.Comm (Honours) from the University of Cape Town, and Master of Philosophy (Management Studies) from Oxford University (Rhodes Scholar). He is a qualified Chartered Accountant.

Antony completed his articles with Deloitte and founded The Strategy Group, a unit within Deloitte advising clients on Strategy and Organisation. In 1990 he co-founded Capital Partners, South Africa’s first independent private equity firm. In 1998, Capital Partners was merged with the investment banking interests of Capital Alliance Holdings to form Brait. Antony acted as its CEO until he assumed a Non-Executive role in 2011.  During this time, he played a key role in the raising, management and organisation of Brait’s private equity funds and led numerous investments covering industrial services, technology, manufacturing, media, agricultural services, chemicals.

After relinquishing his executive position at Brait, he expanded his business, philanthropic and personal interests. Antony is the director of the Centre for Development and Enterprise, a leading policy think tank based in Johannesburg. He serves as a senior advisor to J.P. Morgan with respect to their Africa, Middle East and European businesses, and he is a director of Ascension Partners. Furthermore, he is a Non-Executive Director of Altron Limited, PPC Limited and a Chairman of Value Capital Partners.

Brian Figaji
Board member

Prof Brian Figaji is the Chairman of  I&J Fishing. He was Chairman of WESGRO – a Western Cape Agency that promotes Tourism, Trade and Investment for the Province. At the end of 2004 he retired as the Vice Chancellor of the Peninsula Technikon in Cape Town. He serves on a variety of education-related trusts and NGOs, and  he served as South Africa’s representative on the Executive Board at UNESCO (United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation). Before joining Peninsula Technikon Prof Figaji spent ten years working as a consulting civil engineer and as a site agent for a large civil engineering construction company. He also taught at a high school in Cape Town for a short while.

Prof Figaji is a Fellow of the SA Institute of Civil Engineers, a Fellow of the SA Society for Professional Engineers, a Fellow of the Academy of Engineering and a member of the SA Academy of Science. He served two terms as a member of the Council on Higher Education (CHE). Prof Figaji is a graduate of the universities of the Western Cape, Cape Town, UNISA and Harvard.  He has also been awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Coventry in the UK and California State University.

Cas Coovadia
Board member

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 and 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 the leading force in the establishment of the White Blocks Residents Association in Laudium during 1980’s, South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO) and the Civic Association of Johannesburg, which was the trailblazer in negotiations around the restructuring of local government in the early 1990’s.

He is currently the Chairperson of the National Business Initiative and first Deputy Chairman of the African Union for Housing Finance and serves on the Board of the Centre for Development and Enterprise, Nepad Business Foundation and Business Unity South Africa. He is also the First Deputy-President of the International Union for Housing Finance, the President of the International Banking Federation (IBFed) and a Council member of the University of Witwatersrand. He serves on the Steering Committee of the CEO Initiative and Deputy Chairperson of the SADC Banking Association. He was also the Managing Director of The Banking Association SA (BASA).

Cas is currently the Chief Executive Officer at Business Unity South Africa (BUSA).

Ishmael Mkhabela
Board member

Ishmael Mkhabela founded the Interfaith Community Development Association. He was a co-facilitator, organiser and leader of Dinokeng Scenarios Public Engagement Programme. He served as the Chairperson of National Housing Board, Johannesburg Social Housing Company (JOSHCO) and others. He currently is chairperson of the Steve Biko Foundation and the Central Johannesburg Partnership. He serves as Trustee of many organisations, including the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, Finmark Trust, and the Centre for Development and Enterprise. He received SA Council of Churches Award for selfless contribution to the South African Struggle for Democracy.

Monde Nkosi CDE boardmember

Monde Nkosi
Board member

Monde Nkosi is an executive director of Value Capital Partners. He is also a non-executive director of several private and public companies including Lesaka Technologies, which is a financial technology business listed on the Nasdaq, and ADvTECH, which is a private education business listed on the JSE.

Monde holds a Bachelor of Business Science from the University of Cape Town, a Master of Arts in Education from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education and a Master of Business Administration from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, where he was an Arjay Miller Scholar.

CDE Board member Murphy Morobe

Murphy Morobe 
Board member

After finishing a seven-year stint as CEO of Kagiso Media Limited (2006-2013), Mr Morobe assumed the role of Chairman and National Director of the Programme to Improve Learner Outcomes (PILO) (Sept 2013-2020).

A committed social and development activist, Mr Morobe has since his release from Robben Island in 1982, continued to involve himself – apart from previous roles in the public service, Chairman and CEO of the Financial and Fiscal Commission (1994-2004) and private sector – with various social causes, mainly relating to youth development, environment, and conservation. He served until 2015 on the boards of the Steve Biko Foundation, City Year South Africa and Food and Trees for Africa, and until November 2020 served as a non-executive Director on the Board of WWF-SA.

He has also served in various board capacities, in the NGO, private and public sector spaces, including the Council on Higher Education (1999–2000); Chairman South African National Parks Board (1999–2005); Chairman Ernst & Young (SA) (2001– 2005); and Chairman Johannesburg Housing Company (2003–2006); Head of Communications in the Presidency (2004-2006)

Currently he’s a Trustee on the Boards of the DG Murray Trust and Rothschild Foundation and is also a Non-Executive Director on the boards of Remgro Ltd, RMBH, RMI and TotalSA.

Sipho Maseko
Board member

Sipho Maseko was educated at the University of the Witwatersrand (BA, LLB). He has previously worked at Werksmans and the Financial Services Board (Financial Markets). He joined BP in 1997 and held various roles, both in South Africa and London. He then went on to serve as Chief Operating Officer, BP Africa BU and Deputy CEO BP Africa. He is a former CEO of BP Africa. Most recently he served as MD of Vodacom. In April 2013 he was appointed CEO of Telkom.

Sipho Nkosi
Board member

Sipho Nkosi is the chairman of Talent 10 Holdings, he founded Eyesizwe Holdings and served as CEO before its merger into Exxaro in 2006. With 20 years’ experience in the mining and industrial sectors, he sits on a number of boards. Sipho holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Zululand, an Honours degree in Commerce (Economics) from the University of South Africa and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts in the United States. Sipho joined the CDE board in 2017.

CDE patreon Laurie Dippenaar

Laurie Dippenaar

Laurie Dippenaar is one of the founders of the FirstRand Group which is one of the eight largest companies on the JSE Securities Exchange.  The Group employs just over 54 000 people, has total assets well in excess of R1 trillion and a market capitalisation of approximately R350 billion.  Laurie retired as Chairman of FirstRand on 31 March 2018 after a tenure of almost 10 years.  He will be devoting more time to the investments of the Dippenaar Family Office.

He is also the non-executive Chairman of OUTsurance and serves as a non-executive director on the boards of two listed entities, RMB Holdings and Rand Merchant Insurance Holdings.

He is also on the governing body of the University of Pretoria. In 2021 he resigned as CDE’s chairman after serving the board for nearly 15 years.

He holds a Masters degree in Accounting from the University of Pretoria and is a qualified chartered accountant.  Laurie is married to Estelle and they have three children.