CDE Staff Profiles

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).

Refiloe Benjamin is CDE's Digital Communications Officer

Refiloe Benjamin
Digital Communications 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.

Michelle Breytenbach is CDE's Personal Assistant and Human Resources Coordinator

Michelle Breytenbach
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.

Mxolisi Dhlamini is CDE's Digital Designer/ Developer

Mxolisi Dhlamini
Digital Designer/ Developer

Mxolisi Dhlamini is a creative artist who practices in concept development, digital design, photography, cinematography, and web development.

Aletta Dlamini is CDE's Office Assistant and Catering

Aletta Dlamini
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.

Charlotte James is CDE's Office and Project Manager

Charlotte James
Office and Project Manager

Charlotte joined CDE in 2018. She recently completed her Masters degree in Public Administration and holds and Honours degree in Public Administration as well as a BA Law and Politics degree. She has worked in the government and NGO sector for the past 18 years, both locally and in the UK. She is passionate about social change, and is involved in several local charities.

Brenda Lunda is CDE's CRM, Events and Office Coordinator

Brenda Lunda
CRM, Events and Office Coordinator

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.

Mpume Matome is CDE's Accountant

Mpume Matome

Mpume holds a BCom. (Hons) Financial Management and Post-Graduate Higher Diploma in Tax and has experience in various finance positions across the energy, mining, financial services and non-profit sectors.

Motlhabane Modupe is CDE's Communications Assistant

Motlhabane Modupe
Communications Assistant

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).

Tintswalo Mofokeng

Tintswalo Mofokeng
Financial Consultant

Tintswalo Mofokeng is a Chartered Accountant and she holds a Bachelor of Accountancy honours degree from University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. She has over seven years of solid experience in financial accounting and management both in the government and private sector. She completed her articles with Deloitte within the Financial Services Department. She is registered with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA). She held senior positions at the Competition Commission, Office of the Auditor General, Department of Public Enterprises. She also served as CFO and acted as CEO for the Wholesale and Retail SETA. She is an independent member and chair of the Audit and Risk Committee of the Competition Tribunal.

Oarona Moleko Project and Administration Officer

Oarona Moleko
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.

Mike Mphahlele is CDE's IT/AV Support Specialist

Mike Mphahlele
IT/AV Support Specialist

Mike holds a BSc: Computer science and Informatics from the University of Johannesburg. He has three years’ experience working as a cyber security engineer specialising in consultative technology and solutions. Mike also has experience in business development and developing IT solutions by providing technical support that enhance existing security capabilities. He has a passion for big data and artificial intelligence, which he hopes to explore further in the future.

Luzane Naidoo is Ann Bernstein's Personal Assistant

Luzane Naidoo
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 is CDE's Policy Analyst

Sibongile Nkomana
Policy Analyst

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.

Luveshni Odayar is CDE's Junior Policy Analyst

Luveshni Odayar
Junior Policy Analyst

Luveshni holds an MSc in Sustainable Development and Environmental Economics from the University of St Andrews, as well as an MSc (Res) in Geography from Rhodes University. She additionally participated in Linnaeus-Palme International Exchange Programme, which allowed her to spend a semester abroad studying Climate Science and Policy at Linkoping University, Sweden. She is an alumnus of the Canon Collins Scholars Network, a network of professionals and emerging professionals identified as leaders with the potential to contribute towards transformative growth in southern Africa. As an interdisciplinary thinker, she is passionate about integrating often divergent mandates of economic growth, social welfare and environmental sustainability — to promote holistic growth in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Stefan Schirmer is CDE's Research Director

Stefan Schirmer
Research Director

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.

Lydia van den Bergh is CDE's General Manager

Lydia van den Bergh
General Manager

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 Visser is CDE's Policy Analyst

Rehan Visser
Policy Analyst

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.

Tessa Yeowart is CDE's Senior Manager: External Relations

Tessa Yeowart
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.

Thobile Zulu is CDE's Communications and Media Manager

Thobile Zulu
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.