Cabinet has announced the appointment of Ambassador Jerry Matthews Matjila as Director-General of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO). A seasoned diplomat, the 59 year-old Ambassador Matjila is currently South Africa’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Other International Organisations in Geneva.
Amb Matjila holds a Masters Degree from the University of Stratclyede, Glasgow, Scotland, which was awarded in 1999, and also holds Diplomas in Diplomatic Training from Belgium (EU-ACP), France, Germany, Oxford (UK) and Norway (1992-1993).
Before he was appointed to his current position, he served as Consul-General of South Africa to the French Speaking Cantons in Switzerland in 2010. Between March 2006 and January 2010 he served as DIRCO’s Deputy-Director-General for Branch: Asia and Middle East. He also served as the National Focal Point of IBSA; National Coordinator for Tokyo International Conference on Africa’s Development (TICAD); National Coordinator of Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the National Coordinator for India-Africa Dialogue Forum.
His achievements in 2011 include having been elected to the Chair of the Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) as well as Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Elaboration of Complementary Standards in the Human Eights Council.
His diplomatic postings between March 2001 and February 2006 included serving as South Africa’s Ambassador to the European Communities (EU), Kingdom of Belgium and Grand-Duchess of Luxembourg. During his tenure, he also served as the Chair of the ACP Political and Cultural Sub-Committee. He was also appointed the first South Africa’s High Commissioner to India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Nepal (1995 to 1999).
After joining the then Department of Foreign Affairs (now DIRCO), as a Deputy Director in 1994, he occupied various senior positions. These included (1999 to 2001) Deputy-Director-General of Asia and Middle East; (2000 to 2001); (1995 to 1999) Chief Director in the Department of Foreign Affairs; Director (October 1994) after serving as a Deputy Director for two months.
Between May 1988 and June 1994, Amb Matjila served as the ANC’s Chief Representative to Japan and North East Asia (Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Phillipines, Singapore and Brunei). This was following his stint from April 1985 to May 1988 where he served as the movement’s Assistant Representative to Sweden and Finland.
Between 1976 and 1985 he occupied various positions as an ANC operative – these included ANC’s Regional Education Department in Lusaka, Zambia (1984 to 1985); Secretary of the ANC Senior Organ in Botswana and Chairperson of ANC Political Committee (1978 to 1984) responsible for Guiding and Management of ANC Underground Activities in South Africa; Member of the ANC Youth Committee in Botswana. He underwent military training between November 1976 and April 1978.
Before skipping the country in 1976, he was a Mathematics, English and Physical Science Teacher in Thutolove High School, Meadowlands, Soweto.
“Amb Matjila is a seasoned diplomat after having joined the department as a Deputy Director in 1994 and working his way up the ranks,” says Minister Nkoana-Mashabane. “His political credentials are impeccable as a former cadre who represented the ANC in various countries during the most difficult period in our struggle against apartheid colonialism. DIRCO, and the country as a whole, will continue to benefit from his deep knowledge of diplomacy and his desire to see the country, and Africa, win space in the global psyche. I am confident he will steer the DIRCO ship in a better direction during this transition.”
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Issued by: Department of International Relations and Cooperation
26 May 2011