Events    |    AASA AGA 2017    |    Panel/Speakers bios

Where: Wild Coast Sun, Eastern Cape,  South Africa
When: 12 to 15 October 2017


Advocate Mandi E.P. Samson
AASA, Acting Chairperson
Welcoming Address and Aviation Leadership Forum

Advocate (Adv.) Mandi E.P. Samson is the current Deputy Chairperson of AASA. She has also served as Acting Managing Director of Air Namibia since August 2015. She previously served in the Office of the Attorney-General of Namibia, and later was employed as General Manager: Corporate and Legal Services at Namibia Airports Company (NAC).
   Adv. Samson has served as the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF); as a Commissioner of the Law Reform and Development Commission (LRDC); as a Member of the Cabinet-appointed Task Team on the De Beers Sales Agreement; as a Member of the Government Negotiating Team (GNT) on the Orange River and Maritime Boundaries; and as a member of the Committee evaluating applications for Fishing Rights of Exploitation, amongst others.
   Adv. Samson has served as the Chairperson of the Board of state-owned Epangelo Mining Company (Pty), Chairperson of Epangelo Husab (Pty) Ltd and Chairperson of Epangelo Gold (Pty) Ltd. To-date she continues to sit on the Namibian Mining Industry company Boards as an ordinary member, and also serves as a Commissioner of the Minerals Ancillary Rights Commission (MARC).
   In the aviation sector, Adv. Samson assisted the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in developing and drafting the “Common Regulations of Competition of Air Transport Services within the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC) and the SADC.” She also assisted SADC with the drawing up of the “Guidelines, Provisions and Procedures for the Implementation of Air Transport Competition within COMESA, EAC, and SADC.” She was also the consultant to the African Union (AU) tasked with drafting the “Regulations of Competition for Air Transport in Africa and Arbitration Procedures”.
   Adv. Samson, holds a Bachelor of Law/Juris from the University of Namibia, an LLB (Hons)/Deans Merit List from the University of Cape Town, a Master of Law in International Air and Space Law (LLM)/Cum Laude from Leiden University, an MBA from the Commonwealth Open University, and is completing a Doctorate in Philosophy at Leiden University.

Chris Zweigenthal
Industry Address

Chris Zweigenthal is the current Chief Executive Officer of AASA. From 1978 until 1988, he worked in the construction division of Transnet, and was responsible for the project management and construction of several large capital projects. At the end of 1988, he joined SAA, where he held senior positions in the Petroleum Affairs, Flight Operations and Marketing Planning departments.
   From November 1998 until October 2000, Mr. Zweigenthal was appointed Managing Director of SA Alliance Air based in Kampala, Uganda. In November 2000, he was appointed General Manager Global Passenger Services at SAA, and later Vice President of the same department, until he left SAA in November 2001. In February 2002, he joined AASA as Deputy Chief Executive, and was appointed Chief Executive Officer in March 2009. He is also a Director of Aviation Coordination Services Limited, a company responsible for several airport services managed on behalf of all airlines operating in South Africa.
   Mr. Zweigenthal holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Witwatersrand, and a Graduate Diploma in Engineering from the same university.

Honourable Sihle Zikalala
KwaZulu Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs
Special Address

Mr. Sihle Zikalala, serves as the KwaZulu Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, and is also the current Provincial Chairperson of the ANC.
   The difficult conditions under which black people in general and Africans in particular found themselves during Apartheid, planted the seed of revolutionary consciousness in Mr. Zikalala at the tender age of 15 where he started participating in activities of struggle for the liberation of the people and triumph of humanity. He worked tirelessly as a volunteer and activist of the movement and participated in the learners’ struggles of the late 1990s. While studying at Mashiyamahle, he became a leading figure in the programme that introduced the concept of the Student, Parent, and Teacher’s Association calling for the reduction of school fees. Upon the unbanning of the ANC, he was central in rebuilding structures of the ANC and ANCYL in the northern Durban Areas – starting in Ndwedwe. He served in the first leadership structures of both the ANC and ANCYL at Million Meyiwa Branch, and as an Organiser of the ANC in the Ndwedwe between 1993 and 1994. Between 1995 and 1996 he served as the ANC Zonal Chairperson which included the Angola, Million Meyiwa and Siyaya branches.
   In 1996, Mr. Zikalala was elected into the ANCYL North Durban Regional Executive Committee and in 1997 he become its Regional Chairperson, a position he held until April 2000 when he was elected as the ANCYL Provincial Secretary. While leading the ANCYL between 1996 and 2000 he also served as a councillor in Ilembe District Council and played a central role in the peace process in Ndwedwe Area as part of the ANC delegation that led peace negotiations with the IFP. In October 2004 he was elected Secretary General of the ANCYL where he served with a collective that had immense influence in championing youth development issues in the country.
   In 2008 Mr. Zikalala was elected as the Provincial Deputy Secretary of the ANC in KZN and as a Provincial Secretary in 2009. During this period, he contributed to the massive growth of membership and electoral support of the organisation leading to the ANC’s landslide victory in 2009 General Elections and 2011 Local Government Elections. He holds a Bachelor of Communication Science from UNISA.

Paul Steele
International Air Transport Association (IATA), Senior Vice President, Member and External Relations and Corporate Secretary
Keynote Address 

Paul Steele is Senior Vice President of Member and External Relations, and Corporate Secretary of IATA. He is responsible for guiding and implementing IATA’s strategic advocacy and stakeholder relationship activities worldwide.
   Mr. Steele served as the Executive Director of the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), a cross-industry body that promotes sustainable aviation, from 2008 to 2014. He currently serves as a member of the ATAG Board of Directors. Prior to joining IATA in December 2007, he was the CEO of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) International. Before WWF, he had over 20 years’ senior management experience with major international companies. His roles included Chief Executive of The Virgin Trading Company; Senior Vice President Sales, Marketing and Information Technology of the Hilton Hotel Group, covering 150 hotels in 50 countries and overseeing a sales and marketing team of 1,000 people; and various senior roles at Pepsi Cola International, lastly serving as Group Vice President in charge of Northern Europe.
   Mr. Steele holds a Bachelor degree in Business Administration with French; and a Diploma in Industrial Studies from Loughborough University; and is a former faculty member of the Prince of Wales’s Business and the Environment Programme run by Cambridge University.

Professor Nawal Taneja
Airline Business Strategist, published Airline Business Author and Aviation Professor Emeritus at Ohio State University, Columbus Ohio, USA
Keynote Address and Aviation Leadership Forum Moderator
Subject: Building Human Capital – an international perspective, and taking on board new technology.

Professor Nawal Taneja, whose experience in the aviation industry spans almost five decades, has worked for and advised major airlines and related businesses worldwide. His experience also includes the presidency of a small airline that provided schedule and charter service with jet aircraft and the presidency of a research organization that provided consulting services to the air transportation community - specifically airlines, airports, and aircraft manufacturers - throughout the world. On the government side, he has advised worldwide departments of civil aviation on matters relating to the role of government-owned or government-controlled airlines and their management.
   Within the academic community, Professor Taneja has served on the faculties of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (as an associate professor) and at Ohio State University (professor and later as chair of both the Department of Aviation and the Department of Aerospace Engineering).
   At the encouragement of and for practitioners, Professor Taneja has authored ten books on the global airline industry. Each one contains multiple and lengthy forewords from high-level executives. He writes a Column in Airline Leader, the Strategy Journal for Airline CEOs (published by CAPA - Centre for Aviation). He is a sought-out speaker at industry aviation conferences worldwide and a moderator of panel discussions. He has served on the advisory boards of both public and private organizations.
   Professor Taneja holds a Bachelors degree in Aeronautical Engineering (First Class Honors) from the University of London, a Masters degree in Flight Transportation from MIT, a Masters degree in Business Administration from MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and a Doctorate in Air Transportation from the University of London. He is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society of Great Britain.

Refilwe Ledwaba
Southern African Women in Aviation/Women and Aviation, Executive Director
Keynote Address
Subject: Human Capital from a grassroots perspective

Refilwe Ledwaba is the current Executive Director of Women and Aviation, a hybrid organisation dedicated to the sustainable economic empowerment and personal development of women in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) field, with a focus on the aviation and aerospace industry through various strategic programmes.
   Ms. Ledwaba is a qualified helicopter pilot with an ATPL, a qualified fixed-wing pilot with a frozen ATPL and a fixed-wing flight instructor. She is the recipient of numerous scholarships, international awards and honours for her visionary work with the NPO organisations she founded: Southern African Women in Aviation & Aerospace Industry (SAWIA), and Girl Fly Programme in Africa (GFPA). In 2014, she was named as one of the top 35 under 35 young people to watch for in Africa by Young People in International Affairs (YIPA).
   Ms. Ledwaba holds a Bachelor of Science (Microbiology and Biochemistry) from the University of Cape Town (UCT), a Post-Graduate Diploma in Business Administration from UCT’s Graduate School of Business, and an MBA from the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (Airline Strategies). She also recently completed a course on Aviation Human Factors at the University of Southern California School of Engineering in the USA.

Dr. Thabi Leoka
Argon Asset Management, Economic Strategist
Subject: Current Economics and its impact on Human Capital

Dr. Thabi Leoka, a world-renowned South African economist, works as an Economic Strategist for Argon Asset Management and works within the Fixed Income and the Multi-Asset teams. She also sits on the Management Committee.
   Dr. Leoka started her career as an economist at Investec Asset Management in South Africa and London. She has also worked as an Emerging Markets Economist at Barclays in London and Head of Economic Research, SA at Standard Bank Corporate and Investment Banking and the Chief Economist for SA at Renaissance Capital.
   Dr. Leoka holds a PhD in Economics from the University of London, an MSc in Economics and Economic History from the London School of Economics, an MA in International Economics (Distinction) from the University of the Witwatersrand (first-class and recipient of a Merit award), and a BA (Wits University).
   A sought-after speaker and respected thinker, Dr. Leoka writes for various publications both in South Africa and internationally.

Alan Khan
Durban University of Technology, Senior Director of Corporate Affairs
Programme Director

Alan Khan is currently the Senior Director of Corporate Affairs at the Durban University of Technology (DUT). He is an alumnus of DUT who has served as President on DUT’s Convocation, and as a member of the University Council. He was honoured with the DUT Alumni’s Silver Tusk Award in 2005 for Outstanding Achievement.
   Mr. Khan is a radio man at heart and he has been a part of the broadcasting industry since 1990. In April 2015, he was inducted into the South African Radio Hall of Fame. His talk show on Lotus FM on the SABC, “Walk the Talk with Alan Khan” won Best News 7 Actuality Talk Show (PBS) at the 2017 Liberty South African Radio Awards. He has also presented for Super Sport on DSTV and am2day breakfast TV on SABC 2. He is the former CEO of Jacaranda FM and Deputy Managing Director of East Coast Radio. Since 2010, he has been a judge for the annual South African Radio Awards.
   After training as a journalist, majoring in Broadcasting and Political Science, Mr. Khan started working as a radio presenter at Capital Radio 604 in Durban. He then moved moved to East Coast Radio as a presenter in December 1996, and progressed up through the company as Sports Editor, News Manager and finally as Deputy MD of the company.
   A few highlights of his career include: Delegation Head of South Africa’s Karate World Cup Bid Committee in 2014; the Programme Director at President Nelson Mandela’s 83rd birthday; working at the launch of the African Union, hosting awards, banquets, gala dinners, tribute celebrations, corporate events and product launches. In the studio, Alan has interviewed President Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Sir Richard Branson and musicians such as Janet Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Sting, Bryan Adams, Cliff Richard, Sixto Rodriguez, Tina Turner and Bon Jovi. He has also interviewed sports personalities including Sir Alex Ferguson, Sachin Tendulkar, Jonty Rhodes and Steffi Graf among others.
   Mr. Khan was a member of the Laureus World Sports Awards Selection Panel for 10 years, and was part of the team that travelled to Zurich, Switzerland in May 2004 to secure the FIFA World Cup Bid for South Africa. He has served as a Director of the NGO, Women and Men Against Child Abuse, and as an Ambassador for Childline KZN. He currently serves as a Trustee on the Engineering Educational Trust.

Poppy Khoza
South African Civil Aviation Authority, Director of Civil Aviation
Aviation Leadership Forum

Poppy Khoza is currently the Director of Civil Aviation at the South African Civil Aviation Authority. She has over 15 years’ experience in the field of aviation, and now holds the position of the Director of Civil Aviation, having worked in various management portfolios. She has over 10 years’ experience in senior management with her academic progression being largely in strategic leadership business administration, coupled with aviation-specific training. Her experience encompasses both the industry and the regulator.
   Ms. Khoza serves in various aviation structures nationally and internationally as a member. She was appointed as Vice Chairperson of the ICAO Aviation Security Panel for two consecutive years and also co-chairs the ICAO AVSEC Panel Working Group on Air Cargo Security.
   Ms. Khoza is the recipient of a Meritorious Award as South Africa’s Most Influential Woman in Business and Government; a 2014 finalist in Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government. She is passionate about meaningful change and aspires to provide good leadership in the aviation sector in the interests of aviation safety of security.

Dithoriso Victor Xaba
SA Express, Acting Chief Executive Officer
Aviation Leadership Forum

Victor Xaba stands at the forefront of the fastest moving technology trends of advanced manufacturing in the aerospace and aviation industry. He’s spent the past 17 years seeking an industry-wide shift and helped position Denel Aerostructures (SOC) Ltd (DAe) as a leader in the African aerospace industry.
   A calculated risk-taker with deep business development, marketing, strategy and operational efficiency acumen, Mr. Xaba led DAe in breaking new ground, and new business opportunities which intensified key focus areas of diversifying its customer and product portfolio into the civilian aerospace and nonaerospace markets.
   Throughout his 17-year tenure with DAe, Mr. Xaba built a strong skillset comprising strategic management, continuous improvement strategies, operational excellence programmes, business development strategies, aerospace market intelligence and incubating new business models. He rose through the ranks working in technical positions such as Chemical Process Engineer, Section Manager for Materials Technology and Laboratories. He branched into the role of Continuous Improvement (STEP) Manager, a programme that anchored the turnaround strategy of DAe, followed by an executive management role as Business Development Executive Manager for the company in 2013.
   Embracing the core values of integrity, innovation, and performance, Mr. Xaba represents the creed of youth leadership that is developing within the broad State Owned Company cluster. As a result of his tenacity and consistency in performance excellence, he was appointed Deputy CEO of DAe in 2014. He served in this portfolio until he was seconded, by the office of the Minister of the Department of Public Enterprises, to serve as the Interim Acting Chief Executive Officer for South African Express Airways (SOC) Ltd in April 2017. He continues to act in this portfolio to date, and serves as an Executive Director on the Board of South African Express Airways (SOC) Ltd.
   Mr. Xaba holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Quality, a National Diploma in Chemical Engineering, coupled with a Diploma in Advanced Project Management and certificates in Statistical Process Control for Managers (Cum Laude) and Finance for Non-Financial Manager (Cum Laude). He has participated in various tailored senior and executive management development programmes.

Miles van der Molen
CemAir, Founder & CEO
Aviation Leadership Forum

Miles van der Molen is the Chief Executive Officer and founder of CemAir. The Company started in 2005 with three Beechcraft 1900’s bought on auction and now operates as a world class IOSA registered airline. CemAir owns, operates and maintains a fleet of 22 aircraft, including ten 50-seat CRJ jets, two Dash-8 Q300’s, one Dash-8 100 and 9 Beechcraft 1900D’s.
   Based at OR Tambo International and a member of IATA, CemAir operates as a full service scheduled domestic airline to 10 destinations in South Africa, including Margate, Bloemfontein, Plettenberg Bay, Hoedspruit, George, Cape Town and Sishen in the Northern Cape. CemAir’s aircraft leasing experience extends throughout Africa and the Middle East with a current footprint in Tunisia, Libya, Botswana, Mali, Sudan, South Sudan, Nigeria and Ghana. CemAir currently employs 250 staff ranging from jet pilots, cabin crew and aircraft engineers to office administrators, salesmen and women, cleaners and packers.
   Born in Johannesburg, Mr. van der Molen completed his private pilot’s license at the age of 17, and his commercial pilots license at 22 years. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Wits University, and completed the 3rd year of an MBA (also at Wits). A natural entrepreneur, he has been self-employed all his working life.

Rodger Foster
SA Airlink, CEO
Aviation Leadership Forum

Rodger Foster is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of SA Airlink (Pty) Ltd group of Companies trading as “Airlink”, from June 1992 to present (over 25 years).
   Mr. Foster was the co-founding shareholder (together with Barrie Webb) of Airlink which commenced business on June 1992. Previously Joint Managing Director of the Faster Webb Group of companies from December 1982 until 1992 (the commencement of the Airlink Business), this included Foster Webb Air Charter, Foster Webb Aviation, Foster Webb Aircraft Sales, Foster Webb Hangars, and Foster Webb Construction.
   Mr. Foster is an instrument Rated Commercial Pilot with multiple type ratings including the Beechcraft King Air B200. He is the owner of several aircrafts including a King Air B200, Hawker 400XP, Vintage De Havilland Tiger Moth. 
   Mr. Foster graduated from the University of Witwatersrand’s Faculty of Architecture with a B.Sc. BLDG in December 1978.

Musa Zwane
South African Airways, Acting CEO and SAA Technical, CEO
Aviation Leadership Forum 

Musa Zwane is currently servicing as the Acting CEO of SAA and the CEO of SAA Technical (SAAT). He is also an Executive Committee member at AASA. 
   Prior to SAAT, Mr. Zwane spent 14 years at Sasol with his final role as MD of Sasol Gas, and serving on various boards within the Sasol Group. He joined Sasol in 1996, where he held a range of other roles: General Manager Sales and Marketing, Sasol Gas (2005); General Manager Heating Fuels, Sasol Oil (2001); and was also a member of the Executive Team at Sasol Synthetic Fuels. Prior to Sasol, he was a Chemical Services Manager at Eskom, and a Senior Research Scientist at AECI. 
   Mr. Zwane serves as an interim Non-Executive Chairman of iGas and ROMPCO, a natural gas pipeline joint venture between Sasol, iGas and ENH; a Non-Executive Director of SA Airlink; and Chairperson of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA). 
   Mr. Zwane holds an MBA from the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science, a Management Advancement Programme (MAP) from Wits Business School, and a Master of Science (Industrial Chemistry) from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, USA.