The challenge for a leader is looking ahead and making the changes before it’s too late.

Themba Mathibe



Organisation / Company

Johannesburg Social Housing Company


Themba Mathibe is strongly driven to develop South Africa — so much so that at the age of just 28, he is the chief operations officer of the Johannesburg Social Housing Company (Joshco). He is responsible for many of Joshco’s daily operations, oversees more than 500 employees and operationalises the company’s strategies and business plans. He also raises funds for building construction and improvement and is involved in securing accommodation for students and the homeless for the City of Johannesburg. The first battle is won by always being positive, and he’s accomplished much to back that attitude up. For example, he helped the city to build no less than eight estates in just one year, exactly on the set budget, which created numerous work opportunities — the lion’s share of which went to small businesses. Themba says: “It’s never too late to change the status quo.” He believes that looking ahead and making the necessary changes are responsibilities leaders must bear. Perhaps our politicians can learn from this inspired man, and help him to fulfil his dream of developing our disadvantaged areas and providing all South Africans with public amenities.


Bachelor of Arts, University of the Witwatersrand
Bachelor of Law, University of the Witwatersrand
Master of Laws (commercial law), Stellenbosch University
Master of Laws in public procurement policy and regulation, Stellenbosch University


I am proud that I have managed to assist the City of Johannesburg in resolving the housing backlog by building eight estates with a total yield of 1 000 units in one financial year and with no funds going back to the treasury. Secondly, I created 700 work opportunities through the department of economic development’s grant and placement opportunities. Thirdly, during the construction of these estates we managed to create over 90% SMME opportunities. Fourthly, we delivered over 100 student accommodation beds in the Auckland park area, to assist in dealing with the student accommodation crisis. Lastly, being young doesn’t limit one but rather presents one with an opportunity to learn and work with those who have experience to leverage, so you can create something better. My biggest lesson is that it’s never too late to change the status quo.


My role model is business executive Indra Nooyi, who has been ranked as one of the world’s most powerful women.