CDE Staff Profiles
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).
Communications and Media Officer
Refiloe Benjamin joined the CDE team in 2016, assisting with media and communications related affairs, now with an added responsibility of monitoring the effectiveness of the website and other digital platforms. She has obtained an Honours degree in Journalism at the University of Johannesburg. Throughout her four years spent at University, Refiloe gained practical experience through internships and freelance writing. With a background in online journalism and feature-writing, she also enjoys conducting research, photography and has a new set of basic skills in graphic design.
Personal Assistant and Human Resources Coordinator
Michelle Breytenbach joined CDE in November 2015 and is a highly experienced and resourceful PA/Administrator with more than 20 years’ experience in Executive Assistant and Project Manager positions working for CEO’s and Board Members of Blue Chip South African companies.
Digital Designer/ Developer
Mxolisi Dhlamini is a creative artist who practices in concept development, digital design, photography, cinematography, and web development.
Office Assistant and Catering
Prior to joining CDE, Alletta worked for a leading Interior Decorator /Designer. She was mainly focusing on manufacturing of curtains & soft furnishings such as cushions , throws and re-upholstery.
Alletta currently assist with catering during meetings and events.
Tshegofatso holds a BA Honours degree in Political Sciences, and a BA degree in Public Governance with Public Administration majoring in Politics from North-West University. She is passionate about human development through progressive policies. Her research interests are migration and refugee policies, humanitarian law, education and gender equality. She looks forward to completing her masters in Migration and Displacement at the University of Witwatersrand in the near future.
Prior to joining CDE in 2018, Brenda most recently worked with Pearson where she was a team leader in Business Development. She has many years’ experience in administration specifically sale’s administration and CRM. She has also worked in recruitment and client retention. She is currently studying towards a Higher Certificate in Economics and management.
Finance and Admin Manager
Tanja is a qualified CA (SA). After completing her articles at Deloitte, Tanja joined Scaw Metals as an Asset Optimisation Reporting Manager. In 2014 she moved to the role of Financial Manager of the Distribution Network, a division within Scaw Metals. This involved looking after a network of twelve branches and a subsidiary in Namibia. She remained in this position until joining CDE as Financial Manager in October 2022.
Communications and M&E Administrator
Motlhabane holds a BA Politics degree from the University of Johannesburg, and has experience in fundraising in the NGO sector. Prior to joining CDE, Motlhabane was a Junior Regional Analyst focusing on political economy and regional integration in the South Africa Development Community (SADC). He has completed a short course in entrepreneurship through the Awethu project Business Incubation Programme as well as a certificate in African Political Economy from the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute (TMALI).
Project and Administration Officer
Oarona holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences from the University of Cape Town as well as an Honour’s Degree in Development Studies from Nelson Mandela University.
She has 4 years’ experience as a Research Associate. Her previous role has equipped her with experience in stakeholder engagement, research pertaining to small enterprises and studies to support industrialisation in the Maritime and Chemical Industries.
Oarona would like to complete her LLB in the near future and also has plans to further her education.
Personal Assistant to Executive Director
Luzane Naidoo joined CDE in October 2019. Luzane has been in the Administrative field for over 20 years and has varied industry experience. While being with CDE she has not only gained a lot of additional experience, but has formed great relationships with each team of the organisation.
Luzane is a self-motivated, organised employee who takes great pride in the work that she does.
While she mainly works on independent tasks, she enjoys the stimulation and sense of achievement of being part of the greater CDE team.
During her spare time, Luzane enjoys reading, gardening and spending time with her family.
Sibongile Nkomana holds a BCom Honours degree in Economics from the University of Johannesburg, and a BCom (PPE-Politics, Philosophy and Economics) degree from St Augustine College of South Africa. She is currently doing a Master’s degree in Development Economics at the University of Johannesburg. She has many years’ experience in economic and policy research. Her research interests are youth unemployment, poverty and education reform in developing countries. She has also done research in small business development where she undertook analysis and review of over 70 laws, regulations and policies relevant to SMMEs in South Africa, as a key component in the design of South Africa’s SMME baseline study. Her other expertise include data modelling and analysis, and coding. She is interested in finding practical ways to economically develop South Africa. She would love to learn how to do Randomised Control Trials (RCTs). In the near future, she would like to be the Chief Economist of the World Bank.
Stefan Schirmer spent most of his career as an academic at the University of the Witwatersrand, where he taught courses in economic history, development and political economy. He has published more than 30 academic articles. He also held short visiting positions at the London School of Economics and at Oxford University. He has consulted widely on issues relating to agricultural development, land reform, rural development, education reform, city management and economic policy. After many years as a consultant, Schirmer has now taken up the position of research director at CDE. His goal is to strengthen the research capacity within CDE, and to help ensure CDE remains the most important development think tank in South Africa.
Siyabonga holds a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics as well as a BCom Honours in Economics from the University of Johannesburg. Prior to joining CDE, Siya was interning as a researcher at a boutique management consulting firm and also working as a Junior Investment Analyst at E4E Africa. His research interests include the Political Economy, Monetary Policy, and Development Economics.
Lydia van den Bergh
Lydia van den Bergh joined CDE in 2008. As the General Manager she is responsible for the day to day operations of CDE. Previously she worked as the Managing Director of the Thembalitsha Foundation a non-profit organisation based in the Western Cape. She was responsible for managing a team of professional staff and volunteers that focussed on pediatric HIV/AIDS in-patient and home based care, education for children at risk, early childhood development and skills training for adults.
Rehan holds an MA in Philosophy from the University of the Witwatersrand, as well as a BA Honours in Philosophy and a BSocSci in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Cape Town (with a semester at the University of Wisconsin-Madison). Prior to joining CDE, Rehan worked as a media analyst. He is interested in the political economy of development.
Senior Manager: External Relations
Tessa Yeowart joined CDE in 2008 where she has been responsible for managing the design and implementation of strategic intervention. Tessa has an MBA (University of Cape Town), a BA with honours in Economics and a Higher Diploma in Education (both from the University of Natal, now UKZN). Her prior experience comprises almost ten years spent in various operations and planning positions for the organization representing South Africa’s higher education institutions, Higher Education SA (previously the SA Universities Vice-Chancellors Association.) She has also spent time in a senior position at a financial communications firm and has previous experience in education policy analysis.
Communications and Media Manager
Thobile is a Tshwane University of Technology graduate who holds a BTech: International Communication majoring in International Relations and Communications. She has a little over 10 years’ experience in media relations, internal and external communications, strategic development, and social media management, among others. Thobile has a passion for development communications which was discovered and nurtured mainly through working in the non-profit, research and development sectors. She was previously employed at the Centre for Development in Africa (CSDA) based at the University of Johannesburg, as well as at the British Council before that. As a means to enrich her skills and knowledge in development communications and in leadership, Thobile looks forward to furthering her studies in the near future.