Deborah is an admitted attorney of the High Court of South Africa and the Chairwoman and co-founder of Tumbo Scott Incorporated, a new age full service corporate and commercial law firm operating from the heart of Sandton. She qualified as an attorney and worked as a corporate associate at Webber Wentzel, one of South Africa’s top 5 law firms, where she worked on some of the biggest corporate and commercial transactions in the country. Deborah thereafter worked as a senior law clerk to Justice Sisi Khampepe of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, during which time she researched for and advised the judge on some the most complex cases in the country. Following this, Deborah worked at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr as a dispute resolution attorney for different corporate and government entities in South Africa.
Deborah has a wealth of legal knowledge and experience and has, together with her cofounder, Dr Tshepiso Scott (LLD), built Tumbo Scott into a notable boutique law firm that has, in just 4 years, serviced various clients in the regional, and local corporate and commercial space, including international and listed companies. At the beginning of 2019, Deborah also lent her legal expertise to the fight against corruption in South Africa, representing a well-known non-governmental organisation. She was instrumental in spearheaded various ground-breaking legal matters – including litigation against former members of state-owned entities implicated in allegations of malfeasance and corruption using the Companies Act, and successfully reviewing the findings of the Arms Procurement Commission, securing a landmark and historic victory against the presidency of the Republic of South Africa.
Deborah has also held the position of the special secretariat to the African Union, and in this capacity, she led the preparation of the draft African Union’s Common African Position on Asset Recovery (the “CAPAR”) working closely with African Union ambassadors and international dignitaries while consulting for the Coalition for African Dialogue (CoDA). The drafting of the CAPAR was a huge success and has been accepted as African Union policy by a resolution of the African Union Heads of State (Assembly/AU/Dec.774(XXXIII)).
She currently serves as the youngest board member of multi-national listed ETF company, NewGold Limited and was recently appointed as the first black woman board member of Habib Overseas Bank Limited and serves as the Chairwoman of its Social and Ethics Committee.
Deborah holds an LLB and an LLM (cum laude) in public international law, with a focus on business and human rights, from the University of Johannesburg. She also acquired a certificate from the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership institute for the course on the African Political Economy, which is aimed at inspiring leaders to understand the economic challenges confronting Africa with a view of bringing about positive change on the continent.
Deborah has been recognised as one of the top 200 young South Africans in the legal field for 2018 by the Mail & Guardian, and in June 2019 she received a special recognition award from Premier David Makhura at the Gauteng City Region Premier’s Youth Excellence and Service Awards for her efforts in justice and law. She has also been recognised by the international community as a nominee for the Mary Chirwa Awards for Courageous leadership and was honoured at the awards ceremony held at the Peace Palace in the Hague, Netherlands in September 2019, and in June 2021 she was featured in Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30 as a young innovative entrepreneur to watch in the legal field.