CEO (Acting) Welcome
She is a founding partner of both Women and Aviation (W&A), and Southern African Women in Aviation and Aerospace Industry (SAWIA), a registered hybrid organisation dedicated to the sustainable economic empowerment and personal development of women in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields, with a focus on the aviation and space industry through various strategic programmes. She is also a founder of the Girls Fly Programme in Africa (GFPA) foundation (registered NPO and PBO) – an information and skills development STEM education programme for school and post-school learners with a focus on aviation and space sciences. The programme includes the use of design thinking, technology, and innovation to inform, connect, motivate and inspire the next generation of makers and problem solvers in the aviation and space industry.
Refilwe is a recipient of numerous scholarships, international awards and honours for her work in both SAWIA and the GFPA foundation. The continued successes of these organisations has led her to being named as the recipient of multiple social entrepreneurship awards such as; the winner in the entrepreneurship category at the inaugural South African Youth Awards in 2012, the winner of the aviation category of CEO Communication's most influential Women in Business and Government in 2012 and 2015; and was listed as one of the top 35 Africans under 35 to watch by the Young People in International Affairs (YPIA) in 2014. In 2018 she was selected as one of the top 8 innovators in Africa by the BBC. She is a member of the Royal Aeronautical Society, council member of the Aeronautical Society of South Africa (AeSSA) outreach team and a recipient of The Amelia Earhart Memorial Scholarship (AEMSF) for flight training in 2018.
She holds an Airline Transport Pilot license (ATPL) for helicopters and a frozen ATPL fixed wing license. She flew for the South African Police Service for 10 years as a helicopter pilot while being the first black female to do so and flew for a regional airline for two years as a Junior First Officer on a CRJ 200.
Refilwe holds a Bachelor of Science degree (Microbiology and Biochemistry) from the University of Cape Town (UCT), a post-graduate Diploma in Business Administration from UCT graduate school of business and an MBA from the University of Pretoria's Gordon Institute of Business Science. She will be pursuing her PhD in 2019. In her free time, she flies all over the country in a C172, landing in remote areas to inspire girls to take up careers in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.
Dr Sandile Malinga is the first Chief Executive Officer of the South African National Space Agency (SANSA). Sandile holds a prominent place in the national, continental and global aerospace industry.
He was one of the primary drivers in the promotion and development of the South African space programme and its interface with other African countries. At SANSA, he had oversight over its key programmes including:
- Satellite-based augmented navigation for aviation and road traffic;
- Radar systems;
- Satellite antenna systems;
- Space weather for navigation and communication;
- Remote sensing and satellite imagery;
- Cutting-edge data systems; and
- An ambitious national satellite development programme.
Sandile holds a PhD in Physics and is a space physics researcher by training, with numerous papers published in recognised international scientific journals. Before joining SANSA, he was the Managing Director of the Hermanus Magnetic Observatory (now SANSA Space Science), a national geo-space science facility that operates a wide observational network in South Africa and Antarctica. Before that he was a senior lecturer and dean's assistant at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, responsible for the science and agriculture academic support programme. Sandile holds an MBA from the Business School Netherlands.
His recent focus while with Tata Africa and General Electric had been on managing regional policy and regulatory issues, understanding their impact to the business and creating alignment with the operating environment. Thabani also spent time developing and packaging new opportunities in the broad utilities (water and energy) space for Rand Water, General Electric and SembCorp Industries.
He co-lead the establishment of commercial business services for Rand Water in the region. Prior to this he was part of the team that set up Vodacom business in Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Thabani's core strength lies in working with initial concepts, aligning these with strategy and actualising implementation.
While working on various projects/initiatives he has gained exposure to regional/international organisations such as the World Bank, European Investment Bank, NEPAD Agency and the World Economic Forum.
Thabani holds a B Com degree (Accounting) from the University of Zululand and an MBA in General Management from Texas Southern University.
He joined the SKA project in 2005 and was involved in the preparation of South Africa's bid proposal to host the SKA and the establishment of a protected area for radio astronomy. He is a globally-recognised expert in radio frequency interference for radio astronomy and is currently the only African representative on the European Science Foundation (ESF) expert Committee on Radio Astronomy Frequencies, as well as the international Scientific Committee on the Allocation of Frequencies for Radio Astronomy and Space Science. He is an invited member of the ESF College of Expert Reviewers and is currently involved in the establishment of a treaty organisation for the construction and operation of the SKA radio telescope.
He is also a founding partner of BHK Crisis Communications, a global practice which prepares, trains and supports organisations and executives for and during crises. As an experienced crisis communications advisor, Linden has worked with numerous airlines, aircraft operators, airports, aircraft manufacturers and government agencies in the UK, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa. In December 2004 he was also deployed to Phuket, Thailand as part of a task team assembled to support the Asia Tsunami response and victim identification programme.
Linden is regularly called on to provide expert commentary and analysis on the aviation and air transport industry for African broadcast outlets.
He holds a Bachelor of Journalism from Rhodes University (1985). Prior to moving into communications, during the late 1980s – early 1990s, he was an award-winning newspaper journalist and photographer for BusinessDay, a radio presenter, TV News reporter and anchor, non-fiction author and TV producer in South Africa, Namibia and the UK. In addition to the local media, Linden's reports and photographs also appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, Newsweek, Associated Press, the BBC and several other news titles.
From 1991 Linden began focusing on aviation, aerospace, defence and related topics, working as the Southern Africa contributor for Flight International and various other professional industry trade journals. From 1993 – 1998 Linden was a partner and editor of the best-selling AirReport yearbooks on aviation in South Africa and author of More than Game, a best-seller coffee table book on the South African Air Force.
Linden is married to Hilka and they have two sons. His hobbies include flying light aircraft and he is also a musician with a Cape Town jazz band.
A public servant with over 37 years' experience George held several non-managerial positions from 1979 to 1993. He became the Deputy Director for Namibia's Electoral Commission in 1994 and then the Senior Special Assistant (Director) to Namibia's First Prime Minister in 1995, now President of the Republic. He also worked as the Director for Human Resource Management and then as Under-Secretary of the Department Public Service Management in the Office of the Prime Minister before moving to the Social Security Commission as General Manager for Human resources in 2005.
George has, since 1995, performed critical HR roles covering full spectrum duties in both a strategic and hands on capacity. As Under-Secretary for Public Service Management in the Office of the Prime Minister, he helped to enhance functional performance through appropriate advice to Permanent Secretaries and Accounting Officers of various offices/ministries/agencies in the Public Service of Namibia and assisted in the facilitation of robust and integrated people management tools and processes. He has performed several HR assignments, including the Human Resources audit of the Social Security Commission on the request of the Presidential Commission of Enquiry in 2002. He also taught at the University of Namibia on a part-time basis in areas of Human Resources and Public Management. He was appointed by the President of the Republic of Namibia from 2006 to 2015 to a Commission that investigates and considers matters relating to remuneration, benefits and other conditions of service of political office bearers. George has also given public lectures in human resources, including facilitating strategic planning sessions, both at home and abroad. George is a recipient of numerous awards including the Vice Chancellor's Medal as the best student of Masters' Studies in the Faculty of Economics and Management Science at the University of Namibia in 1998 and as the best non-final year student in the same faculty at the same university in 1990. In 1993, he was awarded an UNDP Scholarship to study a three-month programme in Regional Development and Planning in Nagoya, Japan. He also participated and won an essay competition on "Individual freedom and liberties" sponsored by the American Cultural Centre in 1991.
George holds a Diploma in Public Administration (University of Zululand, 1983), a Bachelor of Administration degree (University of Namibia, 1991), an Honours degree in Public Administration (University of South Africa (UNISA), 1994), a Master's degree in Public Administration (University of Namibia, 1998) and a PhD in Management (Rhodes University 2017).
He was then promoted, at a very young age, to be a subject advisor in Gauteng in the technology learning area, supporting teachers in computer studies and technology. Two years later he was again promoted, this time to the Ministry of Education in Pretoria working in a specialised unit that promoted ICT innovation in education. Here he was tasked with developing policies in ICT education, supporting the provinces, writing speeches for the Minister and answering parliamentary questions.
After serving the formal education sector for 12 years he joined Intel Corporation, one of the largest IT companies in the world, and started their very first ICT integration programme for teacher development. After much success in SA, Parthy expanded the Intel programmes into Nigeria and Kenya, which are now well established in the regions. During his time at Intel Parthy worked closely with Global Public Policy from a corporate perspective. Here he learnt about the dynamics of balancing government policy with leading-edge technology innovation for social and economic development. In SA, he worked very closely on policy matters and government initiatives with the Department of Education, Department of Science & Technology and Department of Communications.
After 10 years at Intel and reaching the position of Head of Corporate Affairs, Parthy left the private sector to join the NGO sector. He was appointed Executive Director of Eskom Expo for Young Scientists in May 2013 and set up structures in all the provinces to help expand scientific research in the school system across the country. This is a national initiative that works very closely with the Department of Basic Education and Department of Science and Technology.
Sandrine obtained an engineering degree in Civil Aviation (Aerospace/Electronics/Aeronautical Telecommunications) from Ecole nationale de l'Aviation Civile (ENAC). As an aeronautical engineer (ENAC) and thanks to her first three years' experience as cockpit test engineer, she has gained solid knowledge in airborne systems and AIRBUS Cockpit HMIs.
Currently, Sandrine is working for Côte d'Ivoire Civil Aviation Authority as an Air Navigation Services Safety Oversight Inspector and Head of CNS department.
Her main fields of interest and expertise in ATM include: Safety Oversight, ICAO regulations, ADS-B applications, Safety Nets, consolidation of operational needs and formalisation of requirements, CNS-ATM Systems, Air Traffic Control and Cyber Resilience. She also has experience in statistics and econometrics.
She has a specialised Master's degree in Statistics and Econometrics from Toulouse 1 Capitole University (e-learning continuing training). She also completed a host of courses as further training including: Air Navigation Services – Communication Navigation Surveillance Auditors, State Safety Program (SSP) and Safety Management System (SGS) and more.
Her work with Yves Aragon on the 'Estimation of Air Traffic loss at Toulouse Blagnac Airport after September 11, 2001 attacks' was published by Bentley University publications in May 2008.
He has a radar engineering background with more than 15 years' experience in Defense Systems within Thomson-CSF after which he switched to Thales's Civil Aeronautical department.
François-Xavier has more than 18 years' experience in CNS/ATM, focusing mainly on the European, Asian, Middle Eastern and African regions. His work now focuses on emerging technologies in the ATM domain through digital transformation of the aeronautical industry which includes cybersecurity, UTM and virtualisation.
Poppy is the recipient of many awards: Best Chief Executive Officer Award –Annual Transport Awards 2015 and 2018, Business Leader of the Year – Oliver Empowerment Awards 2018, Public Service Leader of the Year award – 15th Oliver Empowerment Awards 2016, Agencies and Regulatory Authorities – South Africa's Most Influential Women in Business and Government Awards 2012.
Under her stewardship, the SACAA scooped the Best Performing Institution in Transport Award on four occasions, making the SACAA the only entity to have received these prestigious awards since the inception of the Transport Awards in October 2014. The SACAA has also received, for five consecutive years, the Clean Audit Award – Auditor-General of South Africa, Top Performing Public Service Award – National Business Awards 2015, Public Service Award – National Business Awards 2017, and the Investing in People Award 2017.
Under her leadership, the SACAA continues to make strides in improving aviation safety and security in South Africa, as attested to by the results of the May 2017 ICAO Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) audit. The results indicate that South Africa has increased its compliance rating and, notably, did not attract a significant safety concern.
Poppy has championed the transformation of the SACAA and it now boasts 50% capable female executives, a historical achievement under her stewardship. She is passionate about meaningful change and aspires to provide good leadership in the aviation sector, in the interests of continued outstanding performance.
In September 2004 he was transferred to the Isando Corporate Offices as Manager: Standards Assurance. In this post he was responsible for the safety and regulatory oversight function within the company. He was appointed as Senior Manager: ATM Planning, Research and Development at the ATM/CNS Department in Isando from July 2006 and was responsible for the strategic planning of the ATM services to be delivered by ATNS into the future.
Hennie is a member of the ICAO ATM Requirements and Performance Panel.
Jeoffrey completed his International Executive Development Program with WITS and London Business School and holds a BCom degree and other Aviation management qualifications.
He represents South Africa at various international forums and currently is the ICAO Panel member of the Separation and Airspace Safety Panel.
He has performed various functions in the public sector since his return to the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2007. He was successively: Senior Adviser to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister responsible for Agriculture, Coordinator of the Economic and Technical Commission of the Congolese Government, and then Chief of Staff for the Minister responsible for Hydrocarbons.
Eddy also has vast experience in the strategic and operational management of businesses. From 2007 to 2011, he was a Board Member of the National Electricity Company (SNEL), the Congolese Hydrocarbons (COHYDRO) and KINREX (a subsidiary of the British producer of crude oil PERENCO-REP) in his capacity as Censor at the Board level. From 2009 to 2011while serving as the Deputy President and member of the International Executive Board in charge of marketing, administration and human resources, he also led the operations in DRC of the Canadian agro-industrial group FERONIA Inc. as CEO.
- development of radio astronomy through the MeerKAT, SKA and HartRAO telescopes;
- development of the multiwavelength astronomy community working towards common scientific goals and maximising the ROI through excellent scientific research, human capital development and socio-economic benefits to industry and communities. This includes the SALT telescope, optical astronomy at large and the gamma ray community; and
- protection of the declared Astronomy Advantage Area in the Karoo to prevent interference from radio and light sources.
Trained as a young engineer from Wits University he began his career in 1994 in the private sector in companies such as Samancor and Sasol before joining the CSIR as Business Area Manager in Manufacturing and Materials Technology division in 2000. Whilst at CSIR, he became the African secretariat for the World Association of Industrial and Technology Research Organizations (WAITRO), representing the interests of 50 research institutions spread over 25 African countries in the global network. In his pastime, "TK", as he is popularly called, is involved in road running races and is registered with the DST's Sumbandila Athletics Club.
Aarti's career experience in the aviation industry exposed her to both military and civil aircraft and systems, manned and unmanned aircraft, as well as helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. She has also spent several years working in aircraft certification in the regulatory environment. Prior to her career sabbatical, Aarti worked at the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), where her technical and sector background were used in the technology development funding domain. She assessed funding proposals and managed various technology development projects funded by the Agency.
Aarti has participated in various forums and initiatives aimed at the development of the aviation sector throughout her career. In 2015, Aarti was named amongst the Top 200 Young South Africans in Science and Technology by the Mail and Guardian. This accolade highlighted her contribution to the aviation sector as a young person. In 2017, she won third place at the annual AVI Awards for her entry which saw an aircraft controller incorporating artificial intelligence into the control design to allow for fully autonomous unmanned aircraft missions.
She recently obtained a Diploma in International Coaching from Newfield Network Boulder, USA.
Prior to this Boni was Executive: Human Resources Manager at Transwerk, Chief Executive Officer of both Esselenpark Centre of Excellence and South African Express Airways, was Group Executive Manager: Support Services at Transtel as well as COO and Executive Manager: Service Delivery at Air Traffic and Navigation Services SOC Limited. Lastly, She was President of the Business Womens' Association, past-Chairperson of East Gate Airport and past-Director of Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) and past-Chairperson of the South African Express Airways on their Ethics and Transformation Committee.
In February 2002, Chris joined the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) as Deputy Chief Executive and was appointed Chief Executive in 2009. AASA has 20 Airline Members, which are the commercial scheduled airlines of South and Southern Africa and 31 Associate Members comprising industry manufacturers, suppliers, service providers and partners of the airline industry.
Francois has obtained a B.Eng. in Electronic Engineering in 2001, B.Eng. Hons (Cum Laude) in 2003, M.Eng. in Electronic Engineering (Cum Laude) in 2008, all from the University of Pretoria, followed by a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Cape Town in 2015.
He joined the Defence, Peace, Safety and Security business unit of the CSIR in 2006 and since then, has worked in the radar and electronic warfare applications group. He has experience in radar, signal intelligence, civilian and military communications, Global Navigation Satellite System as well as modelling and simulation. From 2008, he led the passive radar/passive coherent location research and development at CSIR that includes a research sabbatical in 2015 at Armasuisse, Switzerland in collaboration with the University of Cape Town.
Francois is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). He has produced several technology demonstrators, published over 15 papers in leading international journals and conferences, and won several prestigious awards including the IEEE Harry Rowe Mimno Award for best paper in 2014 as well as the CSIR DPSS Emerging Leadership Award in 2015.
Gawie has a degree in Electronic Engineering (University of Stellenbosch,1988) and registered as Professional Engineer with the Engineering Council of South Africa in 1995.
He has been with the SA Department of Transport since 1989 and has some experience as an Avionics Instructor in the SA Air Force. He was responsible for Radar and Display systems in the Department of Transport and became the Chief Engineer responsible for Ground Navaids. Gawie worked with a small team to set up the SA CAA in 1996 and joined the SACAA at its inception in 1998 as Project Manager, taking on the responsibility for airport safety oversight. He has been the Executive responsible for Air Safety Infrastructure since 2007.
Gawie also obtained a wealth of additional experience by acting in various diverse positions in the SACAA including as the Executive responsible for Air Safety Operations as well as Accident Investigations.
Patrick's career in aerospace started at ATNS in the year 2000 where he served as a Project Officer responsible for Air Navigation Infrastructure Projects throughout the African continent. He then joined Armscor in 2002 where he served as a Technical Manager, responsible for various defence projects in aeronautics as well as command and control. In 2009 he established his own engineering business, Infinity Integrated Solutions – an engineering and consulting firm that services the aerospace and defence sectors with solutions, strategic advisory and engineering solutions. Patrick served as the Chief Executive Officer at Infinity Integrated Solutions for a period of 5 years.
In 2014 he joined Denel Dynamics as the General Manager for Denel Spaceteq, The Space division of Denel Dynamics was tasked with providing space solutions to the market. In 2016 he was appointed as the Executive Manager: Programmes looking after the Space, UAVs and Missiles portfolios at Denel Dynamics. Patrick was then reassigned to do Business Development for Denel Dynamics in November 2018. He is currently serving in this role as the Business Development Executive.
Other credentials include serving as the member of the Board of Directors for the South African Civil Aviation Authority from 2001 to 2014.
- Joined the South African Department of Transport as a Cadet Air Traffic Controller, January 1970.
- Qualified as an Aerodrome Controller at Johannesburg International Airport, 1972.
- Obtaining additional validations at Phalaborwa, Lanseria, Wonderboom and Rand, then the busiest aerodrome in the southern hemisphere, with 1200+ movements per day recorded.
- Obtained Approach, Area and Radar Controller validations at the Johannesburg ATC Centre, 1973.
- Obtained a Private Pilot's Licence, 1980.
- Appointed as the first Approach Standards Officer after introducing the concept of standards assurance in ATC, 1987.
- Promoted to Chief ATC Johannesburg Region, 1989.
- Promoted to Director, Air Traffic Services at the Department of Transport, 1991.
- Appointed as Head of Aeronautical Search and Rescue Operations, 1992.
- At the commercialisation of Air Traffic and Navigational Services (ATNS) took up the option to join the Company and was appointed as Divisional Manager Air Traffic Services, April 1994. Played a major role in the transition from Civil Service to this profitable commercial entity.
- Part of the specialist team tasked to review National Civil Aviation Policy relating to Airspace, ATS and Airports.
- Was instrumental in the drive to commercialise the South African services since the 1988 crisis in ATC and was a member of the Task Group who worked on the commercialisation policy document to make it all happen.
- In the early nineties was appointed to the Minister of Transports Committee tasked to propose the transport strategy into the future. (Moving South Africa)
- Responsible for driving the ATS rationalisation in RSA. Project FAME. (Future Airspace Management Efficiency).
- Was responsible for the reconstruction of specific regulations governing ATS and, the enactment of aeronautical SAR.
- Represented South Africa at various international conferences on diverse aviation subjects.
- Appointed to the ICAO ATM Concept Panel in 1998. Later appointed as chair of the panel renamed ATMRPP (ATM Requirements and Performance Panel).
- Retired from ATNS in Dec 2005 as; General (Executive) Manager Air Traffic Management (Planning and Standards). Encompassing the Operational Planning, Aeronautical Information Services and Standards & Quality Assurance Departments, and; Head of Aeronautical Search and Rescue Operations RSA.
- Was appointed by the Minister of Transport to serve on the ATNS Board May 2008 to September 2011. Member of the Audit and Risk, and Procurement committees.
- Currently a member of the Institute of Directors (IOD) since 2010.
- The CANSO life time award in 2006 for outstanding achievement in Global ATM;
- The ICAO Laurel award for contribution to the effort in establishing global ATM;
- The South African Minister of Transports' award, (2005) for effort and contribution in the establishment and operation of Aeronautical SAR Operation. This award was in fact named the 'Arthur Bradshaw' award; and
- The ATNS Chairman's award (2005) for contribution in promoting the company, the profession and South Africa in the provision of an ATM service.
He previously served in this same position from 2003-2011. During his assignments at the ICAO Council he has served as the governing body's first Vice President, Dean of the Council, Chairperson of the Human Resources Committee and a member of several other committees including the Air Transport and Finance Committee among others.
Tshepo occupied the position of chairperson of the SADC Civil Aviation Committee in prior years and was later elected as President of the African Civil Aviation Commission. He has a master's degree in Transport Policy and Management from the University of North London and holds several other qualifications which span a period of 38 years in aviation.
These include amongst others, the following: over 4,000 flying hours on the Boeing 727 with Ethiopian Airlines, Vice-President Corporate Safety and Security and Environment with SAA, CEO of Gateway International Airport in Polokwane, Chief Director: Aviation Safety, Security and Environment with DOT, Aeronautical Engineering, Aviation Safety Program Management, Airport Operations and Transport Development, Airline Management Integration, Aircraft Accident Investigation, Head: Search and Rescue, Head: National Aviation Security Committee with DOT.
Kevin also previously served as General Manager of AeCSA, is an Aviation Training Organisation (ATO) owner, and is a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) in the recreational aviation sphere.
Sam began his professional career as an engineer in training in a high-tech military company. As a trainee, he gained experience in areas such as laser design, optical sensors and image processing, among others. He joined the South African Civil Aviation Authority in 2011 as a certification engineer specialising in avionics. His responsibilities included evaluation and approval of design data for minor and major aircraft modifications, conducting type validation of foreign aircraft, initial approval of design organisations and renewal audits. After two years in the certification engineering department, Sam joined the UAS department as a "UAS specialist". There he developed the regulations and technical standards for RPAS, known as Part 101 today.
Sam served as a special adviser to the South African member of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Unmanned Aircraft System Study Group (UASSG) from May 2013 to July 2014. He also served as the South African member of the Joint Authorities for Rulemaking of Unmanned Systems (JARUS) from April 2013 to February 2016. He later served as South African representative and a member of the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Panel (RPASP) from its inception in November 2014 until February 2016.
Sam left SACAA to join Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS), where he worked as Senior Systems Engineer of Communications, Surveillance and Navigations (CNS) systems in the planning department from March 2016 until February 2018.
Zia is an experienced Commercial Pilot and Flight Instructor and has served as Air Traffic Service Officer (ATSO) at ATNS Lanseria from 2004 to 2014. He has delivered RPAS presentations to several forums including the 2nd ICAO RPAS Symposium held at ICAO, Montreal in September 2017.