The Steering Committee is responsible for addressing governance matters and strategic issues, and is accountable to the Agbiz Council. The Council met regularly to provide mandates for positions on a range of policy matters and issues.
Managing Director at Senwes Limited
Francois obtained his B.Sc. (Honours) degree at the Free State University in South Africa. He started his career at OTK, now known as Afgri, in 1987 as a Livestock Specialist. He worked himself up through the ranks of the company in several operational positions until he was eventually appointed as Director of Grain and Diverse Operations. He was tasked with the turn-around, restructuring and takeover of several businesses.
He accepted an appointment at Senwes in May 2001 and was tasked to turn around the listed company Kolosus. After its successful completion he was appointed as Director of Operations on 21 June 2003, taking care of Grain, Trade, Hartswater Wine Cellar and the Insurance Division. Francois was appointed as Acting Managing Director on 1 June 2010 and from 6 August 2010 he was appointed as Managing Director of Senwes Limited. A comprehensive 2020 strategy was designed and approved by December 2010 and implementation started in January 2011.
The concept of designing the future and not predicting it was developed. It contained, amongst others, the concepts of consolidation, reorganising, geographic expansion and extending the value chains in the areas of strategic focus. Partnership development is one of the business model focus area and a variety of national and international partnership models were developed and successfully implemented to date.
The philosophy of the strategy is to initiate change in the sector and to facilitate this. International exposure of the Executive Committee to the best training facilities around the world is being done. Regular talks at leading conferences and business schools are given on this topic. He serves as Director on a number of Subsidiary Board's and is an Executive Director on the Board of Senwes Limited. Senwes is an agricultural business that focuses on the provision of production inputs primarily to grain producers, as well as market access for agricultural produce.
This is strategically coupled with the provision of value added services, which include, amongst others, financing, insurance and agricultural technical services. Senwes conducts its business predominantly in the North West, Free State, Gauteng, Northern and Western Cape in South Africa. The group also undertakes international trade in the SADC region as well as certain parts of East Africa.
Managing Director at Kaap Agri Limited
Sean was appointed as Managing Director of Kaap Agri Operations Limited in 2011. Prior to that he held the posisionOperational Director, responsible for all trade and product related activities as well as for a manufacturing subsidiary at Kaap Agri Limited.
Sean started his career in 1990 at SA Breweries where he held various positions in operations and distribution - the final executive position being National Operations Manager. He thereafter held the position General Manager at Sefalana Holdings Company Ltd (2000 – 2001) and Operational Director at Derek Brink Holdings (2001 – 2003).
Sean moved on to become General Manager for SBV Services (Pty) Ltd (Subsidiary of four of the largest banking groups in SA) where he was responsible for the logistic services for banking and retail businesses (2003 - 2004). He joined GWK Ltd as General Manager Products and later General Manager Operations and Subsidiaries (2004 – 2008).
Sean obtained his Honours B.Econ (Transport Economy) at the University of Stellenbosch.
Business Development Manager in the Absa AgriBusiness Centre of Excellence
Dr Langelihle Simela (Langa) was appointed as Business Development Manager in the ABSA/Barclays AgriBusiness Centre of Excellence in June 2015. Langa has served smallholder farmers for over 10 years with the National Emergent Red Meat Producers' Organisation (NERPO; 2004 - 2015) and African Farmers' Association of South Africa (AFASA; 2011 - 2015). During that period, she led organisational development of the two associations and facilitated a number of farmer development programmes. She participated in a number of regional consultancies such as the livestock sector analysis and development an investment framework for Zimbabwe, and development of support strategies and action plans for livestock associations and apex organisations in Southern Africa, for AU-IBAR.
With a PhD in Animal Science and Masters in Veterinary Tropical Diseases she managed the research efforts relating to Theme A – Production in a Resource-constrained environment in the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Well- being (IFNUW), University of Pretoria. She has served as director in a number of industry bodies and is currently a Director of Tshwabac (Tshwane Business & Agricultural Corporation). She is currently serving on the High Level Panel of Experts Project Team for Sustainable Agricultural Development for Food Security And Nutrition, Including the Role of Livestock.
Langa has published in academic journals and publications and serves on the editorial board of Small Ruminant Research (Elsevier) and the Bulletin for Animal Health and Production in Africa (BAHPA).
One of her valued accolades is being nominated an Agricultural Role Model in 2013, by the Modernising African Food Systems Consortium.
Before he was appointed as Agbiz CEO in January 2022, Theo headed up the Legal Intelligence desk at Agbiz for five years after spending four years in organised agriculture with Agri SA. Under former Agbiz CEO Dr Purchase’s leadership, Theo was part of the Agbiz team that worked as a liaison between the industry and various government bodies to craft policy and legislation that affects the sector. Focus areas include land reform and property rights, natural resource legislation, commercial and competition laws as well as the regulatory environment affecting the primary and secondary agricultural sectors. Theo has represented agribusiness on several platforms such as the AgriBEE Charter Council, Operation Phakisa, and Nedlac’s Development Chamber. He has been involved in several in-depth processes on draft legislation at Nedlac and was responsible for the agricultural sector’s projects at the Jobs Summit, amongst other processes. He holds an LLM in constitutional property law (cum laude) from the North-West University, an LLB (cum laude) and an MPhil degree in Wildlife Management from the University of Pretoria. He is currently studying towards a postgraduate diploma in management with the North-West University’s Business School.
Head – Standard Bank SA Agribusiness
Nico Groenewald, Head – Standard Bank SA Agribusiness was born in 1966 in the northern Free State, South Africa. He grew up and completed schooling in Mpumalanga Highveld Region in South Africa. He completed his BSC Agric Economics degree at University of Pretoria in 1988. After finishing his undergraduate degree, he went for a compulsory military service before Joining Standard Bank as an agricultural adviser.
He moved on to the then co-operative landscape as an agricultural production economist in the Eastern Free State, responsible for winter/summer cash crop budgets, farm risk analysis and farm viability assessments. Before rejoining Standard Bank in 1997 in the Agricultural Credit Department as a credit manager and also completed an MBA at the University of the North West.
Since then he fulfilled various roles within the Standard Bank’s credit and related business snits, which dealt with agriculture. Nico was appointed as the Head of Agribusiness in 2013, where he has a strong focus on getting better (efficiencies) within a commercial framework before getting bigger (business expansion). Underpinned by constantly looking for changes in the drivers/trends of agriculture, its value chains which provide several opportunities to cement agribusiness as a prominent sector providing sustainable existence for mankind. He is also a passionate dedicated cyclist who participants in most of the local race events.
Managing Director: John Deere Financial Africa and Middle East
Antois joined John Deere Financial (JDF) in 2014 as head of retail finance for sub-Sahara Africa and was appointed as managing director: John Deere Financial SSA in November 2015. In 2020 he became managing director: JDF Africa and Middle East.
He started his career with Clover SA as dairy advisor and agricultural economist in 1995. In 1998 he joined Standard Bank as agricultural economist and in 2002 moved into the position of provincial agricultural manager. In 2005 he joined Afgri Financial Services before heading back to the banking world in 2010 when he joined Nedbank as divisional head of agriculture.
Antois was born and raised in Bloemfontein where matriculated in 1990. He obtained his B.Sc Agric (Honours) degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of the Free State and in 2005 completed his MBA degree through Open University, London and Unisa. He has been active in the financial sector in Southern and Eastern Africa since 2008 where he was involved in specialised and structured lending to Agribusinesses. He further gained experience in agricultural finance in Brazil, Australia and the USA.