Magda Wierzycka. Photo: Netwerk24
  • Sygnia CEO Magda Wierzycka will be the judge of a new South African season of The Apprentice.
  • Now American President Donald Trump made the position famous for fourteen seasons in the United States.
  • Wierzycka has been a vocal opponent of state capture, but has seen her share of controversy too.
  • For more articles, go to

South Africa is getting a new season of The Apprentice – and the sometimes controversial CEO Magda Wierzycka will take the position made famous by Donald Trump.

Wierzycka is the co-founder of the fund manager Sygnia, and will follow Tokyo Sexwale as judge in the South African series.

The Apprentice features more than a dozen young business people who compete over the course of a season, with one contestant eliminated per episode. The winner will get a “sizeable salary” and a position in one of Wierzycka’s companies - or she will invest capital into the contestant’s start-up.

“I want to invest in people and companies that can potentially change the world for the better, this is why I am excited to play the role of executive chair in the new series of Apprentice South Africa,” says Wierzycka.

Gray Matter Media secured the rights to produce a new South African season from MGM Television.

Magda’s forthright approach and her commitment to the fight against corruption will make for riveting South African entertainment, says executive producer Matthew Gray, who was part of the team that produced the first South African Apprentice in 2005.

Wierzycka became the first CEO in South Africa to publicly fire KPMG over its role in state capture, and offered a reward for the arrest of Ajay Gupta. She has been involved in a fierce battle – also involving defamation suits – against Sekunjalo CEO Iqbal Survé, and blasted the JSE for allowing the listings of Survé’s Ayo Technology and Gupta-linked companies.

But she has seen her share of controversy too. Two years ago she tweeted a photo of Hector Pieterson during the Soweto uprisings with a caption that referred to the Sharpeville massacre. She also faced criticism for encouraging South Africans to hire one more gardener or domestic worker to curb unemployment.

The Apprentice is seen in more than 24 countries across the globe. Trump judged the US version for fourteen seasons, eliminating contestants weekly, with the words "You're fired!" (Sexwale toned it down to: "You're dismissed".)

In South Africa, the programmes will be filmed in Cape Town early next year.

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