Dr Emil Nothnagel

Emil grew up with his first childhood memories of a small town in the Western Cape Province to the Southern Cape region called Mossel Bay. He experienced a household where entrepreneurship and small business development were encouraged. His mother owned a restaurant and two retail shops. His father was one of the founding members of the well-known Irvan and Johnson factory in the fishing industry.


In 1981, Emil was part of the first student group in South Africa where all races were allowed to register as students at a so called “white tertiary educational institution”.  His field of study was Local Government Management and his second major was Labour Relations. This subject matter was newly introduced in the tertiary education curriculum as “labour movement” was a new concept in the South African economy.


After achieving his B.Admin (Hons) from the University of Stellenbosch, the ANC employed him at the Cape Town City Council. Emil was dedicated to become one of the first nine employees at the newly established Ikapa Local Municipality for the townships of Langa, Nyanga, Gugulethu and Kayalitsha on the Cape Flats.

From there, Emil was seconded in CODESA as one of Nelson Mandela’s advisors in the local government portfolio.   Due to the space he found himself in, he had the opportunity to meet a variety of special individuals, all of whom were part of Madiba’s inner circle.

Post our democratic elections in 1994, Emil chose to play a role in local government management.  During the next twelve years he was deployed as Municipal Manager at a variety of local authorities in the new Northern Cape Province. Part of the strategy was to apply his experience in supporting local government through its transitional phase, with special focus in the conservative, agricultural segment dominating small towns.

At this point in time he had completed a Master’s degree in Local Government Management majoring in local economic development (LED) from the School of Government, University of the Western Cape.  Being a vigorous student of LED, Emil also completed a PhD through the University of the Western Cape in partnership with the University of Leuven in Belgium, having received a scholarship from the Belgium Government.

Currently, he is completing his post-doctoral studies in Integral Development (research topic: Integral Local and Green Economic Development on the African Continent) through a partnership between the University of Geneva, Switzerland and the Da Vinci Institute, South Africa.

Post his political deployment, Emil started pursuing a career in supporting local government in its mandate to deliver social and economic development.  He currently applies his practical and academic knowledge through his range of AFlead product offerings in Local and Green Economic Development.


Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality
Develop a Long Term (5 Year) Economic Development Strategy

Amatola Green Power
Facilitate Green Energy Wheeling Agreements with identified Local Authorities

Nkomazi Municipality
Establishment and LED Capacity Building of the Nkomazi LED Forum

Municipalities of Nkomazi, Mossel Bay, Hessequa, Bitou, George, Knysna, Langeberg, Overberg, Overstrand, Stellenbosch, Swellendam, Theewaterskloof, Joe Gqabi, Matzikama, Thembisile Hani, Tswaing, Francis Baard DM
LED Capacity Building
LED Participatory Appraisal For Competitive Advantage
LED Maturity Assessments

Department of Economic Development and Tourism: Western Cape
LED Maturity Assessments for all Western Cape Local Authorities, LED Capacity Building to Municipal Councillors and Senior Officials, Participatory Appraisal for Competitive Advantage to all Local Authorities

Development of LED Business Plans for Harrismith Youth Development Programme

LED Consortium
Develop LED Training Programme for Local Authorities, Corporates and SMMEs supported by the University of Pretoria and AHI

Department of Trade and Industry
Partnership with Centre for LED, University of Johannesburg.
Mentorship and Capacity Building of Municipalities
LED Maturity Assessment of 133 Local Authorities in 9 provinces
Appointed as Programme Manager for Mentorship Programme for 20 South African Local Authorities based on the outcomes of the LED Maturity Assessments

Gauteng Provincial Department of Housing
Implementation of 13 LED projects in Westonaria

City of Tshwane, Gauteng Province
Manager for Legacy and Sustainability (LED) for 2010 FIFA World Cup™

University of Pretoria
Development of Local Economic Development Training Programme

Department of Corporate Governance and Traditional Affairs, GIZ, FEDHASA, AHI Partnership
Small Town Local Economic Development Initiative