Fact file: Lt Gen Themba Matanzima


Lieutenant General (Lt Gen) Themba Templeton Matanzima was appointed Chief of Joint Operations on September 1, 2007 following the death of incumbent Lt Gen Sipho Binda in a motor vehicle collision a year before.

He was previously the inaugural Chief of Human Resources, formally taking command of the HR Division on its creation on 26 January 2007. Prior to this he had been Chief of Corporate Staff.

Lt Gen Matanzima was born on 2 February 1953 in Cofimvaba. He matriculated at Jongilizwe High School in 1976 and joined the erstwhile Transkei Defence Force (TDF) in January 1977.

He was commissioned on 18 August 1978 and afterwards qualified as a paratrooper officer. Matanzima reached the rank of Brigadier ten years later and was in 1987 appointed Chief of Staff of the TDF. In 1993 he was promoted Chief of the TDF and Major General.

Matanzima transferred to the South African National Defence Force in 1994 and first served on the Joint Military Coordinating Committee (JMCC) that oversaw the integration process of the former TDF and other statutory as well as guerrilla forces into a new, unified military.

He was then appointed General Officer Commanding the SA Army’s Eastern Province Command in 1996. In 1998 he was appointed as the Chief of Army Personnel at the SA Army Headquarters in Pretoria.

The next year Matanzima was appointed as the Chief of Personnel at Defence Headquarters, Pretoria and promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General.

In 2000, the SANDF restructured and he was appointed into a newly created post of Chief of Joint Support.

In 2004 Matanzima was appointed as the Chief of Corporate Staff until 2005, when he was appointed as Chief Human Resources.

The General completed a Senior Command and Staff Course in Ghana and the Defence Studies Course at the Royal College of Defence Studies in the United Kingdom.

He has been awarded the Commander Class Medal (CCM), Southern Cross Medal (SM) and the Military Merit Medal (MMM).

He obtained a Post Graduate Certificate in Public Administration from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration and a Masters Degree in Administration from the Christian University of Potchefstroom, now the Northwest University.