The Sirdar Governance Panel is the elite team of experienced and qualified directors and chairmen who work with our SMEs and privately-held companies. As accredited Sirdar Governance Panel Members, they ensure the effective implementation of Sirdar’s methodology of governance and practically apply its principles in the context of the unique challenges faced by SMEs and privately-held companies.

Many people believe that being appointed as a director involves too much risk for minimal reward. At Sirdar we believe otherwise. You can manage the risk through the support of Sirdar’s governance principles, methodology and board process, and by working with your fellow independent directors. You will also feel immensely gratified when the SME or privately-held company of which you are a director begins to shine. Is that not reward enough?

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Do you have what it takes to be accredited as a Sirdar Governance Panel Member?

We are looking to appoint passionate and committed independent non-executive directors who have the necessary business acumen and who have expertise in applying business and governance principles in the context of SMEs and privately-held companies. This ensures that the specific issues faced by such companies and the opportunities presented are adequately addressed.

If appointed to the panel, your involvement in a company should be characterised by a supportive partnership approach that uses Sirdar’s methodology effectively and applies it to client-specific issues. As a director you should focus on the development of long-term, successful client engagements that deliver the agreed outcomes for the companies which you serve. Ensuring focused business growth is of primary importance in this process.

A commitment to personal development and continuous learning, along with openness to performance enhancement, is critical for any individual who wishes to be involved in the Sirdar Governance Panel. This ensures that every director strives to improve and contributes at higher levels.

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Kumaran Poonan


Kumaran Poonan has held many operational and executive positions within the manufacturing and metallurgical industries. He is currently a director of Spectrum (Pty) Ltd, which provides supplies to the industry. Kumaran specialises in change and improvement, along with improving process and operational inefficiencies.


Rajesvarie Govender

CA, MInstD

Rajesvarie Govender has extensive experience in her role as a finance executive, which includes being the Chief Financial Officer at Fibertex SA, Head of Finance at the Aunde Group and the Senior Financial Manager for Safcor Panalpina (KZN). She also has supply chain management and audit experience.


Muhammad Bana – Business Development Executive

Muhammad Bana is a natural Entrepreneur, with over 15 years experience in sourcing and importing. Muhammad has held a number of directorships ranging from executive director positions to non-executive positions.

His experience in the growth of family businesses has enabled him to acquire a diverse skill set across the full spectrum of Operational Management, Marketing, Operations, Manufacturing, Logistics, Finance and Human Resources. He also has experience in a building a diverse network both locally and internationally. His strengths and track record lie in sales and his creativity led him to be awarded the first ever Disney license in South Africa to import organic character shape pasta.


Andy Hofmeyr

BA Hons, MBA

Andy Hofmeyr has over 20 years’ experience in the software development and consulting arena. Being on the executive team of a software development and consulting company have afforded him the opportunity to be exposed to and involved in all aspects of business, including the setting of and execution of strategy.


Brian Rajcht

MSc Eng

Brian Rajcht has developed extensive executive experience in his role at Aluglass Bautech, including a wide range of business and management competencies that enable him to bring perspective and focus to his boards. He has a strong operations understanding, driven by his role as operations director within the manufacturing sector.


Carl Bates

BBS Hons, GradDipBS, CA, CMInstD (NZ), MInstD (RSA)

Carl Bates is a global entrepreneur, speaker, author, mentor, director and dynamic thought leader. He is considered to be an international expert on business growth and the education and implementation of governance for SMEs and privately-held companies. Carl is an experienced chairman and independent director with great insight into the operation of companies and how they can create long-term value for shareholders and other stakeholders, inspire their teams and deliver effectively for clients. He is also the founder and chief executive of Sirdar Global Group.


Gareth Shepperson

BProc, PGDip (Tax), MInstD

Gareth Shepperson is a highly qualified attorney and financial specialist, with particular expertise in property, corporate and commercial law. He is the founder of a boutique law firm that assists corporate clients with a diversity of commerical legal and labour services. He has advised a broad spectrum of clients from JSE-listed companies to new start-up businesses.


Geordie van der Nest

Dip Datametrics, MBA, MInstD

Geordie van der Nest is an executive associate of the Institute for Independent Business and he provides executive and business support services to managing directors and shareholder-managers. He has seventeen years of executive and director level experience and a track record of consistent outstanding business performance, which includes his role as education director at Oracle Corporation (SA).


Getty Simelane


Getty Simelane has held many senior and human resources director level positions in various industries, including telecommunications, FMCG and investment banking. At the time when she left corporate to establish a human resources consultancy, HR Touch, she was serving as a director in the holding company and as an executive of human capital at Deutsche Bank, South Africa.


Johann Landsberg


Johann Landsberg is an experienced financial executive, with auditing experience and a broad base of business development across a variety of functions. He was also the managing director of a property investment company, which further expanded his business experience. Johann also has a track record in successful business turnaround strategies.


Karyna Pierce

BCompt Hons, CTA, CA, MInstD

Karyna Pierce has extensive experience as a finance executive with a demonstrated track record of managing and leading a finance division in the preparation and analysis of financial reports to summarise, report and forecast financial positions. She is currently a finance executive at the Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS) and also held a five-year tenure as Head of Finance at the Competition Commission.


Maggie Mojapelo

Bed Hons, DipHR, MBA, MinstD

Maggie Mojapelo has held senior and director level human resources positions in various industries including technology, manufacturing, FMCG and banking. This includes the position of Human Resources Director at Coca-Cola South Africa, Nedbank and Avon Justine South Africa. During her career as a human resources executive, she established and led various transformation projects which turned around businesses and human resources functions and departments. She is involved in coaching and mentoring human resources professionals from different organizations through HR Touch, which she co-founded.


Marius Schoeman

BSc Agric, PGDipPM

Marlaine Pretorius has extensive coaching and facilitation experience supported by cutting-edge training and certification. She has had a diverse career, spanning numerous industries and various roles and with experience both internationally and on the African continent. Marlaine has also worked within the marketing departments at Volkswagen and Audi across various portfolios. She also served as an executive director at AECI International in the United Kingdom.


Marlaine Pretorius

BSc Agric, PGDipPM

Marlaine Pretorius has extensive coaching and facilitation experience supported by cutting-edge training and certification. She has had a diverse career, spanning numerous industries and various roles and with experience both internationally and on the African continent. Marlaine has also worked within the marketing departments at Volkswagen and Audi across various portfolios. She also served as an executive director at AECI International in the United Kingdom.


Mbokodo Mahlalela

BSc Hons, MBA, MInstD

Mbokodo Mahlalela has extensive experience in financial services, having spent many years in senior management positions in the banking sector and life assurance industry in South Africa along with fulfilling a variety and directorships and executive roles. Furthermore, he has a particular interest in SMEs and has served as the Deputy President of the Enterprise Development Forum in South Africa.


Murray Chabant

BCom, DipAcc, CA(SA)

Murray Chabant is a highly experienced BEE ownership strategist and financial executive, who served as a financial director on South Africa's largest furniture manufacturer. He started a consultancy that specialised in equity transactions and BBBEE consulting. Over the next six years he founded a successful BEE verification business which he sold to pursue his interests in broader empowerment. Murray is now an executive at Signa.


Peter Oppenheim

BCom, CTA, CA (SA), MInstD

As a chartered accountant with senior management and executive committee experience, Peter Oppenheim understands how functional executives interact and work, and how the executive relates to the board and independent non-executive directors. He has experience across a broad spectrum of disciplines and functions, which includes his executive roles as: Head of Strategic Support and Finance at Standard Bank Real Estate Investments; Financial Services Director of the OK/Hyperama Group; and Financial Director of Willards Foods.


Poloko Leotlela

MSc, DPhil

Poloko Leotlela is a high-impact management consultant with demonstrated success in developing and implementing national and business strategy. He has a track record of working with company executives and government officials to develop and syndicate strategy and engaging with operational personnel to implement those strategies. Poloko has achieved academic success in fields as diverse as corporate governance, business administration and molecular biology.


Roger Hitchcock

BSocSc, BTh, DipSBM, CFP, MInstD

Roger Hitchcock has worked for over 20 years in both large corporate environments and small business environments. Roger has held a number of directorships ranging from executive director in Honeylane Consulting to non-executive positions in the mining sector, retail and non-profit sectors. Roger also leads Sirdar education programmes and supports Sirdar clients with his strategic and facilitation expertise.


Stephen Bentz


Stephen Bentz has enjoyed a successful professional career spanning over 18 years, of which 10 years have been in senior management positions and four as a financial and taxation specialist consulting to over six and half thousands individual tax payers and over 40 SMEs. His management abilities and disciplines include, amongst others, strong planning and financial management, organisational development, leadership and hands-on change management problem solving skills.


Sudesh Maharaj

BTech, PgDBM, MBA, MInstD

Sudesh Maharaj is an experienced executive and well-balanced leader with a proven record of success in evaluating, strategising, re-engineering and optimising operations in order to decrease inefficiencies, improve productivity, and grow revenue and profitability. He has more than 20 years' business and operations management experience. In particular, he has worked for many years in Transnet as a programme director and operations optimisation executive.


Pamina Valverde – Business Development Executive

BA (Hons) Political Science

Pamina Bohrer Valverde Vila has over 13 years’ experience in running her own company, which she built from zero to over R20M. She was selected as one of SA’s top five female entrepreneurs by the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI). She has lived in five European countries and speaks and writes their languages fluently. She is an expert in the fields of sales process optimization and digital marketing, as well as leadership and accountability. Pamina leads business development and growth through relationships and networking.


Eric Laubscher

BCom Hons

Eric Laubscher has experience across the full spectrum of operational management in all functions and their cross interdependence, including marketing, operational/manufacturing , logistical, finance and human resources. This diverse experience has been supported through his roles as: Chief Executive Officer (Cape) at Colibri Towelling; Executive Director at Colibri Group; General Manager at Belgotex; and diverse executive roles at Pep Corp Manufacturing.


Isgaak Jarodien

BJuris, LLB, BCom Hons, PGDip (Tax), PGDip (FinPlan), CFP, MInstD

Isgaak has over 13 years’ experience within the financial sector alone yet also has a diverse skill set. His skills include legal, fiduciary, tax (both domestic and international), investments, retirement and governance aspects, which he acquired and applied in both the private and public sectors. His specialist executive functions include: Group Retirement Funds Manager for Illovo Sugar and Director at the National Treasury.


James Thomson


James Thomson has over 10 years of experience in the recruitment industry and has held numerous leadership roles for industry bodies in the South African staffing sector, most recently Western Cape chairperson of the Association of Personnel Service Organisations (APSO). He is an experienced executive leader and strategist with key strengths and track record in management, sales, marketing, governance and networking. He is currently the managing director of Status Staffing.


Maggie van Eeden

BCom Hons, MBA, MInstD

Maggie van Eeden is a lecturer in Entrepreneurship Practice and Technology and Innovation at the UNISA Department of Business Management and has taught at various local education institutions. She has extensive practical experience and was previously employed in the corporate and public sector as a Financial and Human Resources Manager.


Robyn Jackson

DipPR, MInstD

Robyn Jackson is a dedicated business professional with extensive experience as a project co-ordinator and managing director. Robyn successfully established and developed an ethical, accountable and profitable distribution company. Robyn is also Sirdar's business unit manager for Business Mentoring and supports Sirdar’s mentoring clients and business mentors through her guidance and expertise.


Thomas Hickman

BCompt Hons, CA, MBA

Thomas Hickman has over 25 years' experience in senior management as a former managing director in the manufacturing and textiles industries for companies such as Colibri and Pep Manufacturing. He is a financial and strategic leader with passion for turning struggling entities into successful groups. His strength lies in being able to encourage people to move in a desired direction in order to optimise the efficiencies and returns for the business. He is also a Sirdar accredited business mentor.


Tim Holmes

BEng Hons, MBA, CMInstD

Tim Holmes has over 25 years of specialist experience in the IT sector, culminating in a successful tenure for ten years as the managing director of the Collective Investments Industry’s data switch. Tim has maximised his expertise in: IT systems for leading investment management companies; business and process re-engineering; effective project management; and specialised knowledge of applications and systems. Tim is also the managing director of Sirdar South Africa.


Yvonne Finch

Yvonne Finch has an independent businesss consulting practice that assists companies with strategic development, marketing, sales, business plans and leadership development processes. She has extensive experience in mentoring and coaching, and her mentoring programs have received international acclaim. In April 2011 she was flown to Brussels to introduce her methodology as a best practice in mentoring to the International Bar Association. Yvonne is actively involved in supporting women in business within Africa and sits on numerous awards panels. She is also the chairman of the Sirdar South Africa board.

  • As a director it is important to focus on continuous improvement. It enables the company to keep one step ahead in a changing world and ensure it is not left wondering where its market share went. This serves to support the team to realise that if you always do what you have always done, then you will lose your competitive advantage.

    Raewyn Bates

    Co-founder of Sirdar Global, Sirdar Global financial manager and public sector consultant, New Zealand

  • Governance is a long-term journey and it takes time to become an expert. Using Gladwell’s 10 000 hours concept, it would take at least 1 000 board meetings before you could call yourself an expert. That is 80 years on a monthly board meeting cycle as a director of only one business!

    Stephen Bentz

    Sirdar accredited independent chairman and winner of two awards at both the 2013 and 2014 Sirdar Annual Governance Awards, Johannesburg, South Africa

  • Accredited membership in the Sirdar Governance Panel is not just about serving on SME and privately-held company boards and really making a difference. It’s also about joining a panel of peers who collectively hold an astounding array of skills and experience, supported through the ongoing training and development provided by Sirdar’s methodology and team.

    Belinda Doveston

    Managing Director of Sirdar Global Operations, Cape Town, South Africa

  • I have seen first-hand how the Sirdar process of structured governance and independent thought can raise the level of discussions at board meetings, translating directly into long-term value for the shareholders.

    Richard Franklin

    Halls Investments (Pty) Ltd, Johannesburg, South Africa

  • In the context of SMEs in developing nations, the biggest socio-economic imperative is to be successful. Through success and growth you create employment and opportunities for other stakeholders (your suppliers and customers) to grow with you. Every growing business creates spin-off economic activity that drives socio-economic change. Therefore, it is incumbent on every SME shareholder, director and manager to drive the success of their enterprise. Yet, it’s not about driving success at the expense of everything else. It’s about driving success in order to make this positive impact.

    Murray Chabant

    Sirdar accredited independent chairman, Johannesburg, South Africa

  • Our application process is thorough and comprehensive, ensuring that applicants have the requisite governance knowledge, skills and expertise along with the emotional intelligence and commitment required to support SME and privately-held company boards effectively. We also regularly assess the extent to which applicants are aligned with Sirdar’s core values to ensure that we work well as a team.

    Dilshaad Parker

    Sirdar governance panel manager, Cape Town, South Africa

Ongoing Development of High-Performance Directors

Sirdar’s Governance Panel are supported in a variety of ways to be high-performance directors for our clients. Part of being accredited is ongoing earning and development as a director. Some of the learning materials are available on YouTube for you to access. Here is an example of the Chairman Insights Series by our Chief Executive, Carl Bates.

The appointment of directors requires careful consideration. On the one hand, shareholder-managers need to select their non-executive directors wearing their shareholder hat and accept the new authority of their board over the business as part of the governance process. On the other hand, shareholder-managers may also have to consider whether all shareholders should also be directors of the company, if they are represented at all. The direct connection between holding shares and the right to board membership is faulty logic believed by SME shareholders who are not schooled in the governance process.

Traversing the Avalanche by Carl Bates, Chapter 3

Would you like to join the Sirdar Governance Panel?

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