Born and bred in Mdantsane, Unathi Kamlana completed his matric in 1997. He joined Rhodes University in 1998 to enroll for a Bachelor of Commerce degree under the Extended Studies Programme. His initial attraction to Rhodes University was the availability of funding for him to pursue his post matric studies. He quickly realised that joining the Extended Studies Programme was like joining a family and not just a university and is still in contact with most of his classmates and the then Coordinator of the programme Mrs. Este Coetzee as a result.
After completing his Bachelor of Commerce degree Kamlana joined Standard Bank in 2001 as a Credit Risk Analyst and quickly moved up the corporate ladder to middle management level by the time he left the employ of Standard Bank in 2005. In the same year, Kamlana returned to Rhodes University to pursue a Master of Commerce degree in Taxation at which time he joined the National Treasury as a Senior Economist. Between November 2005 and September 2011 Kamlana occupied the roles of Director: Economics of Taxation (Personal Income Tax & Savings), Director: Prudential Regulation and Chief Director: Financial Markets and Stability at the National Treasury. Between October 2011 and October 2014 Kamlana took up the post of Secretary of the Financial Regulatory Reform Steering Committee and Executive Assistant to the Deputy Governor Lesetja Kganyago.
In July 2015 Kamlana was appointed at the Prudential Authority of South African Reserve Bank where he was the Head of Department responsible for Policy, Statistics & Industry Support. In April 2021 following a rigorous selection process and a recommendation by the selection panel, the Minister of Finance in consultation with the Deputy Minister of Finance and the Director-General of National Treasury appointed Kamlana as Commissioner: Financial Sector Conduct Authority for a period of five years effective 1 June 2021.Kamlana is a diligent public servant and while at the South African Reserve Bank he worked tirelessly on the implementation of the Twin Peaks reforms from 2011-2018 and was part of the original team that proposed the new and tougher system for regulating the financial sector.
Kamlana also holds a Master of Commerce degree in Taxation from the University of London and a Higher Diploma in Taxation Law from the University of Witwatersrand. He has also attended several development courses in finance, taxation, and regulation both locally and internationally. He is a member of the Financial Stability Committee, the Standing Committee for the Revision of the National Payment System Act and Co-Chair of the Financial Markets Implementation Committee and has served on various international committees.
Kamlana is a very active community leader and member of the Assemblies of God in Orlando, Soweto. Kamlana and his wife Kelebogile who is also an Old Rhodian actively engage in talks to educate the community about the importance of sound financial planning. He is also a member of the Finance Committee of the Assemblies of God Church at national level and a former National Youth Chairperson of the church.
Kamlana is a very proud Old Rhodian and a worthy recipient of the 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award. He credits his excellent leadership capabilities to the foundation that was laid by Rhodes University in his undergraduate years.