Mandlesizwe Lionel Isaacs is a public policy analyst and communication expert, and Managing Director of Zehuti Advisory: a strategy and communications consultancy.
He spent 4 years as a senior public servant between 2014-18, as head of research and speechwriting in the office of the Minister of Home Affairs (2014-17, 2018) and Minister of Finance (2017-18) during the fifth democratic administration. As a policymaker, he played a significant role in the overhaul of South Africa’s immigration policy (Home Affairs), and in shaping fiscal policy, economic policy and state-owned enterprise governance (Finance).
As a cabinet minister’s speechwriter, he was entrusted with the responsibility of writing some of the most closely anticipated government communications annually. These included two national budget speeches on behalf of cabinet – the medium term budget policy statement speech in October 2017, and the main budget speech in February 2018 – as well as countless other speeches to Parliament, communities, media, business groups, investors and foreign diplomats.
He has over 9 years of consulting experience, advising businesses and governments across Africa on strategy, operations and organization topics. He was a member of the first cohort of the McKinsey Leadership Programme in 2011-12, ultimately spending four years at McKinsey & Company as a management consultant.
Mandla’s writing on public affairs has appeared in various print and online publications, including City Press and Daily Maverick. He is a regular contributor on radio and television as well, providing analysis on public affairs on SABC News, Radio 702, Power FM and ENCA.
Mandla was educated at Howard University in Washington DC, USA (B.A. Political Science) and the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa (M.A. International Relations).
He was part of the first-ever cohort of Obama Foundation Africa Leaders in 2018-19, and was one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans in 2016. He is a former Pan-African Universities Debating Champion (2010).