Executive Manager: Financial Services

Mr Jan-Willem De Jager
Executive Manager: Financial Services (CFO)

Since March 2019, Jan-Willem De Jager has held the position as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM). He describes the position as ever evolving, with new challenges and dynamics every day.

“The chances of me getting bored soon are very slim,” he added.

Jan-Willem was born in Oudtshoorn in the Klein Karoo and finished his matric at Oakdale Agricultural High School in 1997. He completed his B. Accounting (Hons) at Stellenbosch University in 2001 after which he started his three-year articles at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Paarl. The company offered him the opportunity to finish the last three months of his contract at any one of their global branches and he subsequently decided on Amsterdam. For the next 6 years he remained overseas, working at KPMG in Ireland and other companies in London, including Goldman Sachs – an investment banking company, before returning to South Africa.

His interest and passion for government was ignited while he worked for Moore Consulting in 2011, of which about 90% of his clientele were local municipalities. In 2015 Jan-Willem was appointed as the Chief Audit Executive of GRDM.

The question of why he did not stay overseas is raised quite often and his answer has always been the same. “My wife and I did not want to raise our children in a small London apartment in the grey and cold English weather. We love South Africa, enjoy the outdoors and that is the reason we chose to come back.”

Jan-Willem is not naive about the challenges South Africa still faces and soon became aware of the magnitude of responsibility Government has towards its people. When he started out as an Accountant, he held a simple black and white approach to most matters in life. There were processes and each had clear instructions on how to approach and execute them. Since joining Local Government, his mindset shifted to one where grey areas do exist. “Our history created very complex problems which require multi-dimensional thinking,” said De Jager.

“Corruption and mismanagement in government remain a sad reality in our country and it can make a person want to rather forge one’s career in another industry. Then there is a part of me that asks myself –  in relation to making a contribution to society and improving the lives of many – ‘If not you, then who?’ I’ve chosen to make an attempt to become part of the solution.”

When Jan-Willem is not spending quality time with his wife and their two children playing tennis or hiking, he likes to pass the time by playing piano.

Another favourite pastime of his is having a braai with friends. “We could not do it often when we lived overseas, so we are permanently in the process of catching up and love every minute of it!’