Only 30 years old, Waseem Carrim is one of South Africa’s youngest-ever CEOs. 

Carrim, who has a master’s degree in commerce specialising in taxation and is a CA(SA), took over from former CEO Khathu Ramukumba. 

It’s an appointment that makes a lot of sense, given that the government agency is tasked with tackling problems facing the country’s youth. ‘I always wanted to be a journalist, but my dad said I’d end up writing for a community newspaper and becoming his problem for the rest of his life, so he pushed me to study chartered accountancy just so I wouldn’t bother him. I basically ended up in this career because I did not know what else to do with my life,’ he said in an Accountancy SA interview. 

After completing his articles traineeship with KPMG, he was admitted as a member of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) in 2013. In 2016, he was named one of the Top-35 under-35 chartered accountants by SAICA. Carrim said that occupying the NYDA’s top position was not without its challenges. 

Together with his team, they had worked hard to maintain credibility and good governance within the organisation’s structure. The results were a turnaround in the NYDA’s finance and supply chain management divisions. This rigorous process culminated in three clean audits and a fundamental reduction in irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure amounting to R100 million. 

His success is attributed to his willingness to stick to a cause and being receptive to constructive criticism. Carrim believed that the current generation saw integration and globalisation not as threats but as opportunities for education, exploration, employment, and exchange. 

This generation saw differences of pluralism and diversity not as a curse, but as a great gift. “Public service and youth development are my calling,” he proudly said. 

In addition, Carrim’s vision is to see the SADC region create strong, tangible and realistic partnerships, as he believes there is a lot that member states can learn from each other.