The Trustees


Shafika Isaacs

Shafika was appointed on the Telkom Foundation's Board of Trustees in 2015, and was appointed Acting Chair in 2016. She is an independent international consultant who specializes in the role of digital technologies in enabling quality education for all. She is also a qualified Professional Consciousness Coach®. She has worked with a range of international and local organisations including UNICEF, UNESCO, The Commonwealth of Learning, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Cisco, Intel, Microsoft and the Department of Basic Education. She was formerly the founding Executive Director of SchoolNet Africa, Education Director at Mindset Network, Partner Development Lead for Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential Group in the Middle East and Africa, Program Director of eLearning Africa, Senior Program Officer for the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and Director of the Trade Union Research Project (TURP). Currently she serves as a Trustee for The Lewis Foundation, as member of the Board of Directors of Bridge, on the Steering Committee of Online Educa Berlin and as a member of the Advisory Board of the New Media Consortium Horizon K-12 Report. She has authored a number of reports and papers related to technologies in education and human development in Africa and served as Editor for The eLearning Africa Report in 2012 and 2013.


Linda Vilakazi

Linda Vilakazi is an educationist involved in numerous educational programs. She is a Visiting Associate at the Wits School of Education where she co-founded the Executive School Leadership Program. A teacher by profession who has over the years broadened her skill and knowledge into various fields. Her work profile includes teaching; holding senior positions at the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR); Thebe Investment; The African Leadership Group; City of Johannesburg; Bridge; and others. Linda is a non-executive director on various Boards and currently chairs both the Thebe Foundation Trust; and the JMBusha Investment Board. She is a UNIFEM award winner; an ALI Fellow; an ENSP graduate; and past President of the Rotary Club of Johannesburg. Her world view is driven by the need to provide social justice for all.


Rakesh Garach

BCom, Postgrad DipAcc, CA (SA)

Mr Garach is a business consultant and an independent non-executive director. He currently serves on the boards of directors of the National Empowerment Fund (NEF) and the KZN Growth Fund Managers. He is also an appointed trustee of the Gauteng Partnership Fund (GPF), an integral player in social housing and urban rejuvenation. He serves on the audit committees of both the NEF and GPF. He served on the board of Hoskens Consolidated Investments Limited and chaired the audit and risk committee until January 2012. He served as a chief operating officer for Deutsche Bank in South Africa from May 2005 to November 2007, as part of the BEE transaction completed with Utajiri Investments.


Laetitia Rispel

PhD (Wits University)

Laetitia Rispel is Professor and Head of the Wits School of Public Health and also scientific director of the Medical Research Council Health Policy Research Group in the Centre for Health Policy. She has published on different aspects of health policy and health systems research central to many of the issues involved in re-structuring and transformation of the South African health system in the post-apartheid period. On 2 September 2015, she was awarded one of 42 new DST/NRF SARChI chairs for South African women. Laetitia is a member of the editorial board of the international Journal of Public Health Policy. She serves on the governing council of the World Federation of Public Health Associations since May 2011. In January 2014, Laetitia was appointed as the vice-chair of the Board of the Office of Health Standards Compliance, a regulatory authority that will oversee and monitor quality of health care in South Africa. In October 2014, she received the Wits University vice-chancellor’s academic citizenship award for her contribution to the development and growth of the Public Health Association of South Africa and to the growth of the discipline of public health both nationally and internationally. She was appointed on the Board of the Telkom Foundation in July 2015.


Executive Trustees


Gladys Machinjike

BCom, Certificate of Theory in Accountancy, CA (SA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)

Gladys Machinjike is an Executive at Telkom; responsible for Financial Accounting and Reporting (Group Finance). She also serves as a Trustee on the Telkom Retirement fund, where she is a member of the Investment and Audit Committees.


Ian Russell

BSC(Hons), MBA

Ian Russell is currently Chief Administration Officer for Telkom. Ian is British, and has lived in South Africa since 2005. Previous South African roles have included Head of Procurement for South African Breweries (SAB) Ltd, Group Integration Director, Chief Administration Officer and Chief Procurement Officer for the Absa Group. Ian holds a BSc (Hons) in Economics from the University of Wales and an MBA (Distinction) in Strategic Procurement from Birmingham University, and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS). Amongst other activities, Ian has set up the Telkom FutureMakers enterprise development programme, aimed at stimulating the sustainable development of small businesses in the technology sector.


Alphonzo Neville Samuels

B Tech. NatTech Dip (Telecoms) NatTech (HR), numerous Executive Leadership Programmes

Alphonzo has been at Telkom for 31 years in various positions in the organisation. He was appointed as Chief Technology Officer in February 2014. Prior to this, he served as Managing Executive: Network Infrastructure Provisioning from July 2010 and as Group Executive: Wholesale and Marketing Operations from November 2007 until June 2010. He has held various senior management positions in numerous divisions during his tenure at Telkom, including Broadband Technology, Planning, Engineering, Operations, Capital Project Management and Human Resources. He also completed a nine-month assignment with SB C (AT&T) in 1998.