DFA’s leadership team consists of experts from a diverse range of fields and backgrounds. Each of our executive committee members are leaders in their spheres of influence and come with a wealth of knowledge and experience. They bring this to bear in everything we do and in how we proceed as a business. One thing that our leaders all have in common is that we are passionate about developing telecommunications in South Africa, while uplifting and empowering local communities.
Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer
Thinus obtained a BCom Accounting Honours degree and a Certificate in the Theory of Accounting from the University of Pretoria in 1989. After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers in 1992, Thinus has held various top positions with SARS, Standard Bank, and the JSE-listed AST Group, where he was the Financial Director. In 2005, he joined the Imperial Group as Financial Director of the Lindsay Saker Group and became Managing Director two years later. He was also a member of the main board of the Imperial Motor Division and served on a number of Audit Committees in the Imperial Group, including the Regent Insurance Group. He joined DFA in 2008.
Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer
As Chief Financial Officer, Cilliers plays a key role in developing and implementing DFA’s financial strategy, analysis, and forecasting. He is also responsible for overseeing internal control systems to manage financial risk and leads DFA’s merger and acquisition activities. Cilliers has a long-standing relationship with DFA, having been with Community Investment Ventures Holdings (CIVH), of which DFA is a subsidiary, for 17 years – first as CFO and then as CEO.
A CA(SA) who obtained his BCompt Accounting Honours and Certificate in the Theory of Accountancy at Unisa, Cilliers’s financial career spans 26 years. During his tenure at CIVH, he was accountable for financial management, investment analysis, strategic management, and group restructuring, among other responsibilities. Cilliers’s employment history also includes Manager: Corporate Finance at manufacturing and mining company Iscor Limited and Financial Advisor: Tax Planning and Structures at Denel, a corporate holding company.
Chief Information Officer
With seventeen years of experience, Mmakgosi is currently responsible for the development and execution of IT strategy that supports DFA’s business strategy and growth goals. She is also engaged in analysing, identifying, and re-engineering existing business processes, developing new tools, and reshaping the current enterprise infrastructure and IT governance frameworks. In addition, during her brief tenure at DFA, Mmakgosi has already been instrumental in overseeing the development and maintenance of DFA’s IT architecture in terms of business support systems, user support, information, applications, technology, and data.
Mmakgosi joined DFA in 2015, having previously served various roles at parastatals and government institutions, such as the State Information Technology Agency (SITA), Gauteng Department of Health, and the South African Post Office. Within SITA, she mastered a variety of skills, from monitoring financial performance to the developing strategic relationships and creating an ICT service delivery strategic plan. Prior to working at SITA, she had acquired technical knowledge of installing, customizing, and maintaining storage management software, as well as managing system backups which led to her subsequent strategic roles.
Mmakgosi graduated in 2006 with a Master of Business Leadership (MBL) from the University of South Africa. She also holds a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree from the University of Durban Westville and a Diploma in Structured Computing.
Chief Sales and Marketing Officer
Praveen holds a BSc Electronic Engineering and an MBA from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He has 15 years of extensive ICT experience, spanning telecommunication networks, networking, software, hardware, consulting, and professional services.
He has had ample exposure to turnkey project delivery and that enabled him to get involved in multiple aspects of business, including the development of relationships with major OEM partners, negotiations across the value chain, and exposure to the delivery capabilities of the companies.
Praveen’s most recent roles in senior management include Communications Sector Consulting Lead at IBM, Software Country Manager at HP, and Regional Sales Manager at Cisco. He has also worked for several other multinationals, including Siemens, Alcatel, and Speech Design. He joined DFA in 2016 to head up the sales and client marketing functions.
Chief Technical Officer
Andreas’s extensive knowledge and experience, which spans 32 years, has allowed him to advance in fixed line networks, mobile networks, microwave technology, satellite technology, and copper and fibre networks. As the Chief Technical Officer of DFA, Andreas is the authoritative figure behind technology selection, network architecture, client advice, layered network solutions, and capital projects.
Andreas qualified as an electrical engineer specialising in light current in 1986. He also completed an Advanced Executive Programme (AEP) at the Unisa Graduate School of Business Leadership and obtained a Diploma in Project Management via Executive Training underwritten by Dover University.
Prior to working at DFA, Andreas served a 13-year tenure at Telkom in various roles within the Transmission Division. He then joined Vodacom in 1994 and later headed the Transmission Division as the Managing Executive of Transport Networks until 2012, before taking up his present role as Chief Technical Officer at DFA.
Chief Human Resources Officer
Portia has extensive HR experience spanning a career of close to 17 years in the field. She was a lecturer at the Vaal University of Technology, an HR specialist at Whirlpool SA, an HR manager at SPAR South Rand Distribution Centre, and most recently, Head of HR for the Africa region at global power management company Eaton.
Her qualifications include a BTech in HR Management, Business, Management, Marketing, and related support services, an MBA from the University of South Africa, and a Masters in Management Coaching from the University of Stellenbosch.
Chief Operations Officer
With close to 20 years’ diverse experience in the telecommunications industry, Wesley has held the position of Acting Chief Operations Officer and later Chief Operations Officer for DFA since October 2016. Wesley is tasked with the strategic direction, management, and control of DFA’s national operations and responsible for setting and achieving the company’s operational strategic objectives and targets.
Wesley’s association with DFA spans more than ten years having joined the company 2007 as Executive Head of Network Operations Centre. Prior to this, he spent a number of years working for major telecomms providers such as Telkom SA.
Wesley holds a Bachelor of Technology Degree in Technical Engineering with an Electronics Specialization, which he obtained from the Tshwane University of Technology. He has also completed an Executive Development Programme with the University of South Africa.
Wesley describes himself as an energetic leader with the ability to envision and create successful outcomes in complex situations.
Executive: Strategy, Mergers and Acquisitions, and Innovation
Vino has had a 21-year career in the ICT industry filling key strategic B2C and B2B marketing roles at some of the country’s leading telecoms providers. He led go-to-market-strategy formulation and execution in companies such as Altech, SABMiller, MTN South Africa, Vodacom, and Nokia Siemens Networks.
Vino joined Dark Fibre Africa in January 2015 as Executive: Marketing, Brand, and Communications and his portfolio expanded in March 2017 to include product innovation. In November 2017, he assumed the role of Acting CSO.
In addition to his roles at DFA, Vino is a board member and functions as an ecosystem advisor for SqwidNet, a DFA subsidiary in the IoT space and the only Sigfox-licensed operator in South Africa. He is also a Chartered Marketer registered with the Marketing Association of South Africa, and a member of its marketing board subcommittee.
Vino holds a BTech Marketing from the University of Johannesburg as well as a Telecomms Mini MBA from Informica and a Master of Business Administration from Wits University.
Company Secretary and Chief Legal and Corporate Officer
Tamryne holds an LLB from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She is an admitted attorney, conveyancer, and notary public in the High Court of South Africa. She has completed, among other qualifications, the Unisa Advanced Certificate in Corporate and Securities Law, Unisa Programme in Business Management, and courses at the Compliance Institute of South Africa. She is in the process of completing her final board examination at the Institute of Chartered Secretaries.
She practiced for many years as Professional Assistant of Hulley & Associates, and in 2012 moved into the ICT industry as the Legal, Compliance, and Regulatory Officer of Allied Technologies Limited before being promoted to Group Legal Compliance Manager of the JSE listed Allied Electronics Limited. After dipping her toes into the logistics industry as Group Legal Manager of Rohlig-Grindrod, she returned to the ICT sector in 2016 as Executive: Legal and Corporate at DFA. In April 2017 Tamryne’s portfolio as Executive: Legal and Corporate was extended to Company Secretary of DFA.
Tamryne’s experience includes litigation and commercial law, compliance, company secretarial matters, and various major broadband-connectivity-related transactions with provincial government entities.