Trade and Industry


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Mr Lionel October

Mr Lionel October is the Director- General in the Department of Trade and Industry (dti), a position he has held since January 2011. He has a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of London, and a legal degree from the University of Western Cape. Mr October was instrumental in key trade negotiations with the European Union. At the dti he has also spearheaded key industrial and enterprise development policies such as the National Industrial Policy Framework and Action Plan, and the development and implementation of broad-based black economic empowerment legislation, to name a few. Mr October was responsible for the enterprise and economic development portfolio, and served as an economic and trade diplomat at the South African Embassy in Brussels from 2007 to 2011.As an experienced economist, he has held various senior positions related to trade unions, including that of general-secretary of the South African Clothing and Textile Union.

He previously served on the boards of a number of public policy bodies and government agencies, such as the Industrial Development Corporation and the Coega Development Corporation.


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Deputy Director-General: Industrial Development Division

Mr Nimrod Zalk

Mr Nimrod Zalk was appointed to his current position in June 2009. He holds an MSc in Economics from London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. Mr Zalk is responsible for the development and implementation of industrial and sectoral policies and strategies and their co-ordination and implementation.He has been involved in a range of processes related to South African and African industrialisation which include the development of South Africa’s National Industrial Policy Framework and Action Plans, development of the Department of Trade and Industry ‘s customised sector strategy methodology, and measures to address monopolistic behaviour in the South African economy.

Mr Zalk has also played an active role in Joseph Stiglitz’s Initiative for Policy Dialogue: Africa Task Force and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development process. He has authored papers on a range of topics including industrial policy, export dynamism and competitiveness. Mr Zalk sits on the boards of the Industrial Development Corporation, and Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies.


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Deputy Director General: Empowerment & Enterprise Development Division

Mr Sipho Zikode

Mr Sipho Zikode was appointed to his current position in April 2011.

He holds an MBA from the University of Pretoria, a BCom degree from the University of the Witswatersrand and an engineering diploma from the then Mangosuthu Technikon.

Mr Zikode is responsible for managing the division responsible for policies and programmes that promote enterprise development, economic empowerment, infrastructure and logistics, skills for the economy, and innovation and technology.

He previously served at the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology where he managed the science and technology foresight project.Mr Zikode’s private sector experience includes working as district manager for Cash Paymaster Services, and as a chemical engineering technician at Unilever South Africa.


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Deputy Director General: Group Systems and Support Services Division

Ms Sarah Choane

Ms Sarah Choane was appointed to her current position in 2007.

She holds a BCom (Hons) degree from the University of South Africa and has participated in the University of the Witswatersrand and Harvard’s senior executive programme hosted locally and abroad. Ms Choane served as a chief financial officer and deputy director-general: Corporate Services at the then Department of Land Affairs. In 1996 she joined the former Department of State Expenditure (now part of National Treasury) and was later appointed as a deputy director for Finance before being promoted to director: Financial Management.

Her professional career also includes serving as chief director for Corporate Services, and as chief financial officer in National Treasury. Ms Choane was a trainee accountant at Theron van der Poel, before becoming an audit manager at the firm. In 1992 she joined Bophuthatswana Broadcasting Corporation as a television accountant and proceeded to become a general manager: Finance at the broadcaster.