Joel Netshitenzhe (b. 21 December 1956 in Sibasa, Venda, now Limpopo) is head of the policy and coordination advisory unit in the presidency. He previously served as head of South Africa's Government Communication and Information Systems (GCIS) from 1998 to 2006.
As a key political strategist for South African President Thabo Mbeki, Netshitenzhe is considered one of the country's most powerful political players. As head of the GCIS, his role is effectively to head up the president's policy unit.
Netshitenzhe was at one stage considered as a possible contender in the country's forthcoming presidential elections due to his close working relationship with Mbeki. However, after Mbeki rival Jacob Zuma assumed the presidency of the ruling African National Congress in December 2007, Netshitenzhe's prospects looked to have diminished significantly. He has, however, retained his place on the party's influential National Executive Committee.