Executive profiles

Executive profiles

Chief Executive Officer: Thulani Nzima

Thulani Nzima’s appointment as Chief Executive Officer at South African Tourism became effective at the beginning of January 2012.

With a wealth of experience in the field of travel and tourism, Mr Thulani Nzima took up his current position as Chief Executive Officer of South African Tourism in January 2012. Mr Nzima is responsible for all operations of the national destination marketing organisation’s head office and its country offices.

His illustrious career began in the banking industry in 1987. In 1991, he joined South African Airways (SAA) and spent 14 years honing his skills in all aspects of the local and international travel and tourism sector. Nzima worked his way up through the national airline, holding numerous key positions along the way. He worked in the African, Asian, Australian and Benelux markets, as well as locally, culminating in his position as Senior Executive Manager and the driving force behind the strategic realignment of SAA’s Voyager programme.

After a stellar career at SAA, Nzima joined the South African Travel Centre (SATC) in 2005 as the company’s Chief Executive Officer, where he excelled at re-energising the business model, creating new revenue streams.

Chief Financial Officer: Thomas Bouwer

Thomas (Tom) Bouwer is the Chief Financial Officer of South African Tourism.

Tom joined South African Tourism in 2013 after 38 years of experience in public financial management, across a number of national government departments.

His key focus includes delivering effective and efficient financial management in the key markets that South African Tourism operates in.

An expert in governance issues such as policy formulation, Tom came to South African Tourism from the South African National Biodiversity Institute, where he was the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Prior to this, he worked at the Department of Water Affairs, and was an Associate Director with Saha International.

Between 2000 and 2006, he was CFO at the National Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (now known as National Department of Tourism), and before that he was Director of Financial Services at the National Department of Housing.

During his tenure as CFO at the National Department of Tourism, Tom received the Southern African Institute of Government Auditors (SAIGA) Award for Best National Department – Financial Statements, as well as the SAIGA Award for the Most Consistent Financial Statements of the past five years.

Tom has a Master Business Leadership degree from Unisa and a Bachelor of Military Science (Commerce) from the University of Stellenbosch.

Chief Operating Officer: Ms Sthembiso Dlamini

Ms Sthembiso Dlamini is the Chief Operating Officer for South African Tourism.

Dlamini joined the South African Tourism team in 2014. Prior to SAT, she was employed by the National Development Agency (NDA) in the capacity of Senior Manager: Office of the CEO, a role she occupied since August 2012. 

Prior to her role at the NDA, Dlamini worked for the South African Revenue Services (SARS) as a Director of Corporate Affairs (Acting) from 2007 to 2012. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Criminology and a Post Graduate Diploma in Project and Programme Management.

Amongst her responsibilities in her new role as COO of South African Tourism, Dlamini will lead business planning and budgeting processes, ensure optimal management of resources and adherence to good corporate governance through prudent financial management. She will also ensure compliance with Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and all other legislations affecting South African Tourism.

“The role of COO is an integral one for our organisation as it requires operational excellence in order to provide coordination for the delivery of South African Tourism’s strategy. We are therefore pleased to welcome Sthembiso to the team as we believe that her previous experience and expertise will stand her in good stead. We are confident she is the ideal candidate for this job. We look forward to welcoming her to the team and we wish her every success in her new venture in our organisation,” said South African Tourism Chief Executive Officer, Mr Thulani Nzima.

Chief Quality Assurance Officer of the TGCSA: Thembi Kunene

Thembi Kunene is the Chief Quality Assurance Officer of the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA).

Thembi Kunene, obtained her BA Communications degree from Fort Hare University in 1988. Her postgraduate studies include a Management Development Program (University of Pretoria).

Her Executive and Business experience since 1988 include, Banking, Advertising, Public Relations, Airport Management as well as Freight and Logistics. In 1997, Thembi became the first woman, the first Black person and the youngest person ever to manage an airport in post-apartheid South Africa.

In August 2007, Thembi joined the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) as its new CEO with her main responsibility being to ensure quality graded tourism accommodation in South Africa.

During 2009, the TGCSA was fully integrated into South African Tourism, resulting in Thembi being appointed on the SAT Exco, the highest decision-making body over 17 Business Units reporting to the SAT, CEO – which meant a title change to Chief Quality Assurance Officer, a position she currently still holds.

Thembi was appointed by the Minister of Tourism, Minister van Schalkwyk, as the Interim Chairman of the Lilizela Tourism Awards, an inaugural tourism awards programme in South Africa that recognizes and celebrates service excellence in the tourism industry.

Thembi has served in a non-Executive capacity on the following:

  • MATCH Advisory Board -body that advised FIFA on the delivery of a successful 2010 World Cup in South Africa. (2 years: 2008- 2010).
  • Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (10years: 2001-10)
  • Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) (6years: 2002-08)
  • Tourvest (8years: 2005-13). Thembi remains a shareholder within Tourvest.
  • Siyazi Investment Holdings, (2005 to date), a family owned interest.