Directors

COMMITTEE MISSION STATEMENT

Our board of directors are commissioned to represent and promote mutual business interests between both Thai and South African businesses within our membership community in Thailand. Their key task aims to further increase awareness of potential trade and investment opportunities between the two countries. In addition to the commercial aspects above, our Chamber is also interested in furthering social and cultural understanding between the different nationalities represented in this Chamber. These people are dedicated to ensuring SATCC fulfills its Mission in Thailand.

Meet our board directors

NEIL VAN HEERDAN

Chairman of the SATCC | Connect on LinkedIn

Neil van Heerden is a global business executive with expertise in leadership, strategy formulation & execution, sales and business development. He is an avid technology & business transformation enthusiast and holds an Executive MBA in Corporate Strategy from London Business School (2004) and a Post-graduate Diploma in Economics from the University of London (1999).

Neil’s international career and experience spans several industries including mining, financial and professional services, fintech, payments, and IT services. He has worked in Europe for over 12 years and has been in Asia for 14 years – he is fluent in English, German, Dutch, and Afrikaans.

Neil is currently an IoT Technology Consultant at PCS Facilities Management- Thailand, driving their IoT technology strategy and digital transformation efforts.

RAKESH KUMAR

Vice Chair of Bangkok | Connect on LinkedIn

Rakesh’s personal experience in dealing with South Africa dates back to 1986 before the South African embassy in Thailand was established. He served on the committee of Indian Thai Chamber of Commerce between 1998 – 1999 as Secretary and Director to the Joint Foreign Chambers Coordinating Committee in Thailand. His company, Roxland is now established in Thailand for 5 years, but prior to that he was a director in Harrytex (Thailand) Co., Ltd for the past 20 years, with his main focus on building relationships with South African clientele for exports of products out of Thailand to South Africa. Rakesh has been member of the SATCC board for many years and has provided a good perspective on business and trade between Thailand and South Africa from his own personal experience, and provided ideas and contributions on how to build better trading relationship between South Africa and Thailand. He is a strong supporter of the SATCC and values the way it organizes small and big events to keep the South African community in close touch. Rakesh’s experience in trade between South Africa and Thailand helps him in building business ties going forward.

KAREL DE LANGE

Vice Chair of the Eastern Seaboard | Connect on LinkedIn

Karel (Kallie) has over 30 years of experience in business development. In 2018, he was presented with the opportunity to become a KWV business partner in Indochina, which appealed to him because of his Thai family connection.

He launched Marvel Beverage and Events – KWV Indochina which functions as an agent for KWV in Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, and Vietnam, based in Bangkok. They also import wine and liquor directly which is distributed nationally in Thailand through Tops Thailand – ท็อปส์ ไทยแลนด์ & Villa Market – วิลล่า มาร์เก็ท, top hotel chains, and restaurants. He also distributes directly to the South African expat community (SAFFAS).

Kallie has always served as Director of Events for SATCC since 2021. Today, Kallie is excited to be in the position of Vice-Chair representing the Eastern Seaboard for our Chamber of Commerce.

TASHA PONELIS

Treasure of SATCC | Connect on LinkedIn

Tasha Ponelis has over 15 years of experience in directing a broad range of financial planning, financial strategy and analysis operations, including developing annual operating strategy, long-range planning and financial management across a range of industries, including mining, manufacturing and construction.

Tasha graduated with a B.Compt Accounting Honours, and after completing articles, qualified as a Chartered Accountant. Tasha has deep knowledge across a broad range of disciplines including the design & implementation of ERP’s including SAP and Hyperion, mergers and acquisitions, operational improvement, and corporate structuring. Tasha held various interim CFO positions assisting distressed companies with the financial complexities of restructuring and turnaround.

Tasha is currently a partner at Taylor HS Limited heading the financial management division..

DANUPONG PANITPICHET

Board Director | Connect on LinkedIn

Khun Danupong Panitpichet has been a part of SATCC for nearly 10 years (since 2014).

In 2009 he decided to join one of the leading Thai shipping companies in Bangkok. He was responsible for vessel space sales, running a fleet of 3 huge conventional vessels on a monthly basis, each vessel docking at Thailand and Durban Port, South Africa, and vice-versa, carrying commodities such as rice, tapioca starch, and construction beam, from Thailand exporting to South Africa.

During his service in the shipping field, he got a great opportunity to join the South African/Thai Chamber of Commerce in 2014. In 2019, Khun Danupong started a new venture as a business partner. He also continues to serve SATCC interests in his own capacity. Khun Danupong is enthusiastic, flexible, sociable, and very friendly.

Special advisors

RAIN SAMSON

Design & Marketing | Connect on LinkedIn

Rain is a Young South African Entrepreneur in Thailand and is driven to succeed! He is a qualified Graphic Designer and specializes in Brand and UX Design. Rain has several years of professional experience in brand building, content creation, and website design. The rate of Rain’s success is determined by the successful brands he has built and elevated throughout his career.

A natural leader – during Rain’s 4-Year Scholarship at theCape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), his classmates would annually nominate and elect him as their leader and representative because of his confidence, charm, and ability to negotiate with his peers and management. After graduating and joining the workforce, Rain would naturally find himself leading on big branding or web projects.

In 2020, Rain took a huge risk during the pre-pandemic period and decided to work in Bangkok, Thailand as an English teacher. His passion for brand building and website design compelled him to start up his own online design studio called Obi-Web. The studio aims to connect the right people to the heart of your brand through design elevation and digital transformation. Rain joined as a member of the South African/Thai Chamber of Commerce just under a year ago and was soon elected by the Board of Directors to serve as Special Advisor and interim Director of Design & Marketing – to elevate and digitally transform the Chamber, not only as an organization but also as a brand.

HONORARY ADVISOR & FORMER CHAIRMAN

GRAHAM MACDONALD | MBA

Connect on LinkedIn

Managing Director – Aegis International Ltd (since January 2016) Director – Macallan Insurance Brokers Ltd. (since January 2016) Senior Adviser – PKF International (since April 2018)
Chairman – The Cairn Advisory (since June 2020)
Honorary Adviser to the South African embassy in Bangkok (since December 2016) Honorary Adviser to Rugby School Thailand (since January 2017)

GET ACCESS
TO EXCLUSIVE
CONTENT &
MEMBERSHIP
OFFERS