DA cries foul over newly appointed JDA CEO

Newly elected Johannesburg Development Agency CEO, Themba Mathibe. Pic | X (Twitter)

Newly elected Johannesburg Development Agency CEO, Themba Mathibe. Pic | X (Twitter)

Published Jun 6, 2024


Critics have accused the DA of being “racist” amid the party’s expressed concerns about the appointment of Themba Mathibe as Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) CEO.

The DA went as far as labelling the appointment as “cadre deployment”, an accusation some South Africans viewed as racist.

The JDA recently appointed Mathibe as CEO from June 2024 until May 2029.

In a memo addressed to staff from the JDA, HR announced the appointment.

“With his wealth of experience and visionary leadership, we are confident he will steer JDA toward continued growth and success. Before joining the JDA, Mathibe served as the COO of the Johannesburg Social Housing Company (Joshco), the Johannesburg Road Agency, and the City of Johannesburg Group Governance. His expertise and experience contributed to Joshco’s mission of creating sustainable housing solutions for the City of Johannesburg residents,” said the memo.

Mathibe holds five academic qualifications, of which three are Master's degrees, including a Master’s of Laws (Commercial and Business Transaction Law), from Wits University, and a Master’s of Laws in Public Policy and Infrastructure Procurement from Stellenbosch University. He recently completed a Master’s of Management in Public Finance and Development Economics and is awaiting research and results. He has served as deputy director at the City of Johannesburg, acting head of department at the Johannesburg Road Agency, and chief operations officer at Joshco. He has been acting CEO of the JDA for the past five months.

DA spokesperson on Development Planning in Johannesburg, Daniel Schay, speaking in an interview with a broadcaster on Thursday, said this perpetuates a trend of politicising key municipal positions.

“The previous CEO of JDA was suspended without charges before he was dismissed to make way for Mathibe to become a CEO. We have seen job advertisements and they changed the requirements. Previously the requirements for this position was a minimum of 10 years’ experience, The board has changed the requirements for Mathibe to get in, to five to 10 years’ experience,” said Schay.

The DA called on Johannesburg residents to stand with them as they “fight” against what they called “undemocratic practices” that consistently work against the residents.


JDA spokesperson Kenneth Nxumalo confirmed seeing the press release from the DA with the allegation, and promised to respond. However, at the time of print, he had failed to do so.

Political analyst Jamie Mighti questioned how much more qualified does the DA want a person to be.

“As I understand it, this young man has two Master’s degrees. How much more qualified does the DA want him to be before they accept him? Especially when we knew the John (Steenhuisen) education situation,” Mighti said.

South Africans took to social media platform X to express their views on this matter, and they accused the DA of being racist.

“The DA is whining about Themba Mathibe’s appointment as JDA CEO is purely racist and groundless,” wrote Sesinga Mavikithi.

“DA with their matric-less leader must leave Themba alone. He is qualified and capable and deserving,” wrote Lucky Shashaoka.

The Star