Dr. Bonginkosi Emmanuel "Blade" Nzimande

Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

Dr Nzimande was appointed as Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology on 30 May 2019. He was Minister of Transport from 27 February 2018 to 25 May 2019. Dr Bonginkosi Emmanuel "Blade" Nzimande was the Minister of Higher Education and Training in the Republic of South Africa from 26 May 2014 until 17 October 2017.

Dr Nzimande holds a Doctorate in Philosophy specialising in Sociology from the University of Natal.

Dr Nzimande has lectured at the University of Zululand in 1985, and was a lecturer in Industrial Psychology at the University of Natal in 1987.


Prof. Toshio Fukuda

2020 IEEE President & CEO

Toshio Fukuda is a professor of mechatronics engineering at Meijo University in Nagoya, Japan. He is also a professor at the Beijing Institute of Technology and professor emeritus at Nagoya University. His research focuses on intelligent robotic systems and micro-nano robotics. He has published more than 2,000 articles in scientific journals, conference proceedings, and reports.


Dr Jacques Ludik

Dr Jacques Ludik is a smart technology entrepreneur, Artificial Intelligence (AI) expert, investor, ecosystem builder, and award-winning AI Leader with a Ph.D. in Computer Science (AI) and 25+ years' experience in AI & Data Science and its applications.

He recently won the Africa AI Leader of the Year Award and is currently, amongst other roles, the Founder, Group CEO & Executive Chairman of Cortex Group, Founder & CEO of Cortex Logic and Founder & President of the Machine Intelligence Institute of Africa (MIIA) and has also founded CSense Systems (Africa's first AI company that was sold to a multi-national company, specifically General Electric in 2011), Bennit.AI, Mosaic, and SynerG.

Apart from his executive management responsibilities in these companies, he was previously Vice President Data Science & Chief Data Officer at Jumo, Director and Big Data & Analytics Leader at General Electric and Senior Lecturer & Researcher at Stellenbosch University.


Siya Madyibi

Executive Director: Microsoft

Siya Madyibi is the Executive Director responsible for Microsoft’s Corporate, External and Legal Affairs (CELA) in South Africa. His work today is focused on supporting Microsoft’s sales and business operations in SA and helping customers both public and private sector to navigate novel regulatory and policy issues that have surfaced as a result of the transition from traditional, on-premise software solutions to hyperscale cloud and digital transformation services.


Stafford Masie

Stafford has lived and thrived in a world of disruption for more than 25 years, having been closely involved in such pre-eminent ICT companies as Telkom, Dimension Data, Novell and Google. His passion for technology led to him being appointed to senior executive positions at Novell USA (based in Utah for 7 years) and thereafter at Novell South Africa.


Dr. Luz Helena Hanauer

Dr. Luz Helena Hanauer holds a Ph.D. in International Economic Law from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, an LLM in International Business Law from the University of Liverpool in the UK, and an LLB in Law from the Universidad Externado de Colombia.

She currently serves as the Executive Director of the WDB Trust, a Public Benefit Organization which enables platforms for microfinance, training, social development and advocacy for rural women living in poverty. In the past, she has served as Head of Research and Publications at the Zanele Mbeki Development Trust advocating for gender equality through pan African dialogue; She acquired corporate experience by working as an International Trade Manager at a Public Health organization facilitating trade and investment to and from South Africa.

She is fluent in Spanish, English, and French and has a thorough knowledge of the cultural, historical, policy and societal landscape of South Africa. Luz Helena is interested in Global South issues, Development, Governance, Feminism, Economics and Law.

Raesetje Sefala

Raesetje is a Machine Learning Researcher at the Data Intensive Development Lab(DIDL) at UC Berkeley focusing on creating economic status maps for governments of certain developing countries to help them identify regions in most need of financial assistance for Covid19 relief.

Raesetje is also currently completing her computer science masters degree; focusing on creating ground truth datasets and using machine learning to study spatial segregation in South Africa, post-Apartheid.

She is actively involved in organising and building communities like the Deep Learning IndabaX SA and Women in Computational Science Research which aim to increase the capacity and quality of work of underrepresented groups in AI.

Bhaso Ndzendze

Bhaso Ndzendze is the Research Director at the University of Johannesburg Centre for Africa-China Studies, and a Lecturer in the UJ Department of Politics and International Relations on ‘Technology Dynamics in International Relations,’ and Commissioning Editor at E-International Relations, the world’s largest open-access publisher on international relations, with over 3 million annual unique visitors.

His journal articles focus on African trade, security and FDI trajectories through the framework of rational choice theory. A PhD candidate at Wits University in International Relations, he has also completed executive courses on Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain Technology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Karabo Maboka

Karabo Maboka is a qualified Data Scientist.Completed his Data Science qualification at Deviare.He is also an undergrad at University of South Africa in Information Technology.He is currently working on AI & Machine learning projects as a freelancer. He is a great young contributor and role player in the 4th Industrial Revolution.In June 2020 he was recognized as one of the Top 15 young geeks in SA.

Mr Frans Baleni

Frans Baleni holds the position of Chairman at The Petroleum Oil & Gas Corporation of South Africa (Pty) Ltd. Mr. Baleni is also on the board of Development Bank of Southern Africa Ltd. and Member of Golden Key International Honour Society, Inc Frans Baleni was one of the youngest negotiators during the 1987 gold and coal strike.

Members of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) were determined to challenge the system, having declared it ‘The Year the Mineworkers Take Control’. It was the largest and costliest strike the country had seen, with the union demanding huge improvements in pay and conditions.

Baleni was at the forefront, even when the union had to deliver bad news, including when an agreement was reached in the face of mass dismissals, even though the demands had not been met. Mr Baleni is now a retired Mineworker.

Mr W. Carrim

Currently only 31 years, Waseem Carrim is one of South Africa’s youngest-ever CEO’s bringing with him his belief in the current young generation. Waseem believes that the current generation sees integration and globalization not as threats but as opportunities for education, exploration, employment, and exchange.


Dr Reabetswe Kgoroeadira

Partner & Group CEO, Beryl Group

Dr Reabetswe Kgoroeadira is the Group Chief Executive Officer and Partner of Beryl Group. She serves as a board member of Bollore Africa Logistics South Africa. Before joining the Group she held various executive positions at Standard Bank and South African Breweries (SAB), including senior management positions at SAP Africa.

She was an external examiner in the school of Electrical and Information Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) and served as a board member of the UJ-NYDA Institute. She holds a PhD in Economics from Cranfield University (UK), an MBA from Kent University (UK) and a BSc Electrical Engineering degree from The University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.

Adv. Mtho Xulu

President, South African Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Adv. Mtho Xulu holds a Bachelor of Law (LLB) degree from UNISA and prides himself on attaining this qualification by means of a distance learning programme. Having honed his skills in terms of discipline, self-reliance and independent thinking, he is currently in the process of concluding a Masters of Law (LLM) degree. His areas of specialisation include Commercial Law and Corporate Governance.

After completing his LLB degree, Mtho was admitted as an Advocate of the High Court of South Africa in 2011. He is the current President of the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

He is also a Member of the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa (IoDSA), a Director of the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA), a Director of Business Unity South Africa, Commitee Member of the BRICS Business Council Deregulation Working Group and Governing Member of the African Peer Review Mechanism.

As a successful entrepreneur, Advocate Xulu is the founding CEO of JSX Investments (Pty) Ltd, an investment holdings company with interests in several sectors.

Shakir Mohamed

Research Scientist in Statistical Machine Learning and AI

Shakir Mohamed is a research scientist in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. Shakir is a Senior Staff Scientist at DeepMind in London. Hi research covers a broad range of work from generative models and probabilistic machine learning, applications in healthcare and environment, to work in ethics and diversity. He is also a founder and trustee of the Deep Learning Indaba, whose mission is to Strengthen African Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. You can find him on twitter @shakir_za and more info on his website at shakirm.com

Tilson Manyoni

Managing Director of Vision Wave (Pty) Ltd. Chairperson of Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) ,Head of Policy for the Black Business Council (BBC), member of BRICS Council Digital Economy working group, member of Swiss International Smart Factory 4.0 forum,Co-chair of the BBC-BUSA corporation, member of the Business for South Africa (B4SA) which is the business collaboration platform in response to Covid -19.

Tilson holds two Masters (MSc.) namely Major Programme Management from Saïd Business School - University of Oxford (United Kingdom) and Project Management from University of Southern Queensland (Australia),Bachelor of Technology in Industrial Engineering and Post Graduate Diploma in Information Technology from University of Johannesburg (South Africa).

Over the last 15 years, he started three companies in the field of technology, namely Acutech Business solutions(Pty)Ltd ,a portfolio, programme and project management (PPPM) company, Milestone Pty (Ltd ) a SA -UK Joint Venture company which is an Oracle Primavera Platinum partner and Vison Wave (Pty) Ltd- a Cloud solution provider company focuses on cloud computing,i.e..Microsoft solutions 365 and Internet of Things (IoT).

Adv. Ghandi Badela, MCIArb

I am an admitted advocate of the High Court of South Africa since 2011 and also a member of the Johannesburg Bar since 2012. Prior to being called to the Bar I worked for local and international companies (SAB, PEU and SAAB Grintek) at senior executive and strategic level for over 16 years. I have also been a non-executive director of various Sate owned Entities including City Power, Denel, CSIR.

Accordingly, I have experience in both the private and public sectors. I hold Masters Degrees in Electromechanical Engineering, Engineering Management and Packaging Technology. Further, I obtained degrees in LLB, Business Administration (MBA) and LLM in Intellectual Property Laws. I have completed various courses in mediation and arbitration in Domestic and International arbitration in Commercial and Construction disputes.


Sandile Donald Muziwenkosi Zungu

President of the Black Business Council

Sandile Donald Muziwenkosi Zungu (“Zungu”) was born in Durban on the 10th of February 1967. He did post-matric at Hilton College in 1994.

Zungu completed a BSc (Mechanical Engineering) degree at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 1988 as well as a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) at the UCT Graduate School of Business in 1995. In 2000 he completed a Program for Global Leadership certificate at the Harvard Business School in Boston, USA.

He serves on the BBBEE Presidential Advisory Council and is President of the Black Business Council. He is also a non-executive director of Novus Holdings, listed on the JSE Securities Exchange. He is executive chairman of Zungu Investments Company (Proprietary) Limited (Zico), which is the holding company of his business interests.

Ambassador Mathu Joyini

Mathu Joyini is a Deputy Director-General (DDG) at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, heading the Diplomatic Academy and the Mediation Support Unit of the Department.

Prior to joining Government in 2001 January, she held various positions in the private sector in different industries, including Mining, Finance, Petroleum and Consulting, since 1991.


Dr Nick Bradshaw

Director - AI Media PTY Ltd

Dr Nick Bradshaw is a South African based Entrepreneur helping clients understand the value of Artificial Intelligence powered technologies. With 20+ years experience in the technology sector mainly focused around Enterprise collaboration software platforms, he has worked in Europe, North America & Africa with a diverse set of Multi $bn global clients. Having built and exited a Microsoft Gold Consulting business and consulted with multiple tech start-ups, Nick has gone onto launch Cape Town based AI Media Group creators of Africa's largest business focused AI trade community (AI Expo Africa) and Africa's first AI & Data Science Trade Magazine (Synapse).

Dr Maria Seithati Motebang

Dr Motebang is the former CEO of the Film and Publications Board. She’s currently the Managing Director of Seithati Consulting and Coaching. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Development Studies, Public Administration and Political Science; Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Development Studies (1993 - University of York; a postgraduate Certificate in Business Management and Economics (2001 Rand Afrikaans University). She has been an academic as a Senior Lecturer at several Universities including the University of Johannesburg and Pretoria. She has also worked extensively in learning and development for various entities including the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality where she worked as a Divisional Head for Learning and Development for more than five years. As a certified life and business coach she is able to support individuals and companies to enhance their performance in various development endeavours. Dr Motebang has served as a Non-Executive Director of the West Rand Development Agency and City Power – City of Johannesburg Municipality Entity. She also been an independent consultant for many clients such as the Kellogg Foundation, Department of Local Government, European Union, World Bank and other Provincial Departments. She describes herself as a ‘learning teacher and transformational leader’.

Ron Richman

Ron Richman is an experienced actuary and risk manager, currently an Associate Director at QED Actuaries and Consultants, where he is responsible for client work on life and general insurance clients and performing research into applications of machine learning and AI to actuarial and insurance topics. Before this, he led the Enterprise Risk Management and Actuarial Functions for the AIG group within Africa for several years.

Ron combines deep technical and commercial expertise within the P&C and Life insurance sectors with a view of the cutting-edge possibilities enabled by modern machine and deep learning and has published several papers showing how these techniques can be applied. Ron’s focus is on leveraging technical expertise to achieve value creation and has engaged closely with senior management in many organizations to provide innovative solutions to business problems.

Ron is a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) and the Actuarial Society of South Africa (ASSA), holds practicing certificates in Short Term Insurance and Life Insurance from ASSA, and a Masters of Philosophy in Actuarial Science, with distinction, from the University of Cape Town. Ron chairs the Enterprise Risk Management Committee of ASSA and is a member of the Research and Thought Leadership Board of the IFoA.

Dr Nompumelelo Obokoh

Dr Nompumelelo Obokoh (nee Masubelele) holds a PhD in Plant Molecular Biology from the University of Cambridge, Magdalene College UK. She is the Chairperson of the NRF Board and a Commissioner in the Presidential Commission on the 4th Industrial Revolution. Before joining the Companies & Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) as the head of the Innovation Support and Protection Division, she was the CEO of AfricaBio, a Biotechnology stakeholder association.

Nompumelelo has extensive local and international experience in Biotech research, development, management and advocacy. She also worked in West Africa heading the Abuja-Nigeria office of the Nairobi-based, African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF). She led innovative public-private partnership initiatives involving access to and the development of proprietary and regulated agricultural technologies geared to address food insecurity, climate change & poverty reduction in sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr Obokoh has received a number of awards and accolades, including the Mandela Cambridge Scholarship, Mandela Magdalene College Scholarship, Fellow of the Cambridge Commonwealth Society, research grants from the NRF and the NRF/Royal Society (UK) for the South Africa-UK Science Networks to establish and extend collaboration with international partners. She also received the Rothamstead International - African Fellowship that enabled her to foster mission-oriented research with world-renowned scientists in Aberystwyth, Wales.

Hyram Serretta

Hyram is an experienced senior executive of operations, supply chain and business, having worked in multi-national environments with experience in Europe, North America and across various regions in sub-Saharan Africa. His experience transcends various sectors such as engineering and software, management consulting, banking and FMCG.

Hyram has an MSc. in Electronic Engineering, using signal processing and neural networks. These skills have been complemented by courses with MIT Sloan (AI) and Stanford (Machine Learning). This, combined with commercial business skills, equips him with the ability to align AI with business and society and to play a pivotal role in AI stewardship.

Rendani Mbuvha

Rendani Mbuvha is a lecturer and researcher in Statistics and Actuarial Science at the University of Witwatersrand. He is a qualified Actuary and a holder of the Chartered Enterprise Risk Actuary designation. He holds a BSc with Honours in Actuarial Science and Statistics from the University of Cape Town and an MSc in Machine Learning from KTH, Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden. He is a recipient of the Google PhD fellowship which supports his current PhD research at the University of Johannesburg.

Kele Boakgomo

Co-Founder and CEO of Yugrow

I spent 15 years working as a management consultant at Accenture. As a Managing Director, my last role was setting up the Innovation Services Practice. I gained insights into how leading organisations’ are able to counter disruption and build new business models in response to the rapid disruption taking place as a result of exponential technologies.

I am passionate about technology and innovation and in my role at Accenture, I particularly enjoyed helping organisations’ understand how to unlock value leading with user centered design.

I am equally passionate about inclusion and diversity, specifically as it pertains to women, in the workplace. I am now the Co-Founder and CEO of Yugrow, a BehaviourTech platform for women that enables growth through personalised micro actions, high-impact coaching and a support network.

Hamilton Ratshefola

General Manager IBM Southern Africa

Hamilton Ratshefola is the General Manager of IBM Southern Africa. He rejoined IBM in 2013 as a Sales Director for IBM South Africa. He was later appointed Country General Manager for South Africa in June 2015. In January 2019 Hamilton was given responsibility for 13 more countries in Southern Africa, and assumed responsibility as IBM General Manager for the region.

Prior to re-joining IBM, Hamilton was co-founder of Cornastone Technology Holdings (Pty) limited, of which he as CEO for 13 years from 2000 to 2012. Cornastone as a local systems integrator with over 300 employees at its peak and had investments companies.

Prior to starting Cornastone, Hamilton was an IBM employee for 10 years, starting his career as an IBM Systems Engineer, when he moved to Sales, and became an IBM executive, Sales Director.

Polo Leteka

Chairman and Founder – IDF Capital
Managing Partner and co-Founder – Alithea IDF Managers
Founder – I'M IN Accelerator

Polo Leteka is a highly accomplished and experienced entrepreneur and private equity investor. She is the Chairman and Founder of IDF Capital – South African based entrepreneurial financier and advisory firm.

Through IDF Capital, Polo has contributed towards channelling investments into women-owned SMEs across South Africa. In 2015, she co-founded Alitheia IDF Managers to continue investing in high growth businesses across Sub-Saharan Africa is women-owned and led.

She was also part of South Africa's version of the Dragons Den show and is co-author of a book called "...and for all these reasons, i'm IN...", which seeks to assist entrepreneurs to become investor-ready

Geaneth Pertunia Mashile

A result driven young researcher that prides herself in maintaining high quality science. As a result she is the current recipient of the National Research Foundation Research Excellence Award for Next Generation Researchers (2019). She has also won first runner up for the National Three Minute Thesis competition in 2019, 2nd Place winner, Three-minute thesis competition, University of Johannesburg 2019 and People’s choice award, Three-minute thesis competition, University of Johannesburg 2019. In 2018 she was awarded the Excellent Shotgun Communication Award at the 3rd International Caparica Christmas Conference on Sample Preparation (Portugal).

Mameetse Masemola

ICT sector Lead in the Investment and Infrastructure Office in The Presidency

Previously Ms Masemola served as the Head of the ICT Policy Review Project Management Office (PMO) responsible for development of the National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper, the first consolidated, converged ICT policy of government.

Prior to joining the DCDT, she served in various capacities at the Department of Trade and Industry, including as the Government Convener for the Trade and Industry Chamber at NEDLAC, managing stakeholder and intergovernmental platforms of engagement such as the Presidential International Investment Council, under the leadership of former president, Mr Thabo Mbeki. Prior to her tenure at the DTI, she was the Economic Research Intern at the Western Cape Trade and Export Promotion Agency (WESGRO), part of which term was served at the Antwerp Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Belgium.

Ms Masemola holds an Honours Degree in Economics from the University of the Western cape, part of which was completed at the University of Missouri in the United States of America. She also holds a Post-Graduate Diploma in Public and Development Management from University of the Witwatersrand.