The Cova Team

  • Measuring and Verification Council of South Africa (MVCSA) – board member – 2015 to date

TUMELO CHIPFUPA ( is a joint managing director at Cova. Before Cova, he was the Deputy Director-General responsible for the suite of incentives offered by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti). Tumelo qualified as a Mechanical Engineer with an MSc from Duke University in the United States. He also holds a MBA from Wits University and a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard University.

He started his career as an Engineer at Eskom and later joined SAA as an aircraft maintenance engineer. He joined the dti in 1997 and was instrumental in the introduction of a number of major dti incentives, which include the Enterprise Investment Programme, Section 12I of the Income Tax Act, the Business Process Servicing Incentive, the Film and TV rebate, the Automotive Investment Scheme, the Black Business Supplier Development Programme and the Manufacturing Competitiveness Enhancement Programme.

He has served on the Manufacturing Development Board, the boards of the National Empowerment Fund, the Centurion Aerospace Village, the Swedish-South Africa Business Partnership Programme, as well as various adjudication committees for the dti's incentive programmes.

  • Incentives Consultants Association – Chairman - October 2016 to date
  • American Chamber of Commerce – Taxation Committee – Chairman – September 2015 -October 2018
  • South African Institute of Tax Practitioners – Chairman of Tax Incentive Working Group – April 2015 to date

DUANE NEWMAN ( is a joint managing director at Cova and is a respected business consultant with expertise in the fields of government grants, tax incentives and customs and excise. Duane qualified as a Chartered Accountant with SAICA, and is a registered Tax Practitioner.

Prior to founding Cova, Duane was a partner at Deloitte for 12 years, where he set up and led the sustainability and climate change division and served on the global Exco of the sustainability practice from its inception in 2009. Duane represented Deloitte Africa at COP15 and COP16 and led Deloitte at COP17 in Durban. He also set up two other Deloitte service lines: Government Grants & Incentives, and Customs & International Trade. He grew both practices into the largest of their kind in South Africa. Duane also set up the Research and Development Tax practice and was leader for Tax Innovation for many years. Duane was the managing director of the Deloitte Tax Technology division and oversaw its disposal to Thomson Reuters in 2011. He also set up the Renewable Energy practice and was Lead Project Director for Bid Rounds 1 and 2 to the Department of Energy, where Deloitte provided services to over 70 clients.

Duane has held numerous leadership positions, including Chairman of the Incentives Association, Chairman of the Trade Committee at the South African Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Business Environment Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce, and Executive Committee Member of Eurochamber. Most recently, he served as the Board member responsible for Sustainability at the American Chamber of Commerce. He is regularly quoted in the press and writes for several publications on his areas of expertise.

  • Chairperson for the Agribusiness Portfolio Committee - May 2017 to date

GRANT WHITTAKER ( heads up Cova’s Cape Town Office, and is Cova Advisory’s National Business Development Manager . He has 17 years of experience in consulting on government incentives, having previously operated his own consulting business in the Western Cape. Grant holds a BA degree in Communication Science from UNISA and a diploma in Project Management from the Parker Institute of Australia, and has been a member of Project Management South Africa for 10 years. Grant’s area of specialisation is in new-business development and client retention, and he is establishing Cova as the number-one choice of business when it comes to seeking advice on government incentives.


MOEKETSI MARUMO ( s a senior manager at Cova and leads the Cova government grants and tax incentives team. He has had extensive experience in the public sector, having headed up a number of incentives at the dti, and having been a part of the Jobs Fund team at National Treasury. He holds a B. Com in Accounting and Economics and a post-graduate certificate in Economics.

FUNGAI MAKONI ( is a manager at Cova and is a qualified Chartered Accountant, holding degrees in Accounting from the University of Cape Town, a Higher Diploma in Tax Law from the University of Johannesburg as well as an Advanced Financial Modelling certificate. Before joining Cova, she worked at Deloitte in the Government Grants and Incentives team and served her articles at EY in Cape Town. She looks after the Research and Development (R&D) portfolio at Cova and the raising of finance from Development Finance Institutions.

MARIETTA MEYBURGH ( is a qualified Chartered Accountant and holds degrees from North West University and the University of South Africa. She spent a number of years at Deloitte, in the Audit division, and also as a Senior Manager in the Government Grants and Incentives group. She also spent some time at Multichoice as a Special Projects Manager. Her role at Cova is to manage Government Grants and Tax Incentives projects.

PHILISIWE HLONGWA ( is an admitted attorney with over 4 years of corporate tax experience. Philisiwe was previously a corporate tax consultant at PWC and also at EY, where she advised on various aspects of corporate tax. As an Assistant Manager at Cova, her area of specialisation is in government grants and tax incentives.

RENDANI TSHISHIVHIRI ( is a senior consultant at Cova, and his speciality is in government grants and tax incentives. He holds a degree in accounting from the University of Johannesburg and is working towards qualifying as a Chartered Accountant. He previously worked at EY and at Deloitte.

MOHAMED ISMAIL ( is a senior consultant at Cova, specialising in government grants and tax incentives. He previously worked as a senior tax consultant at one of the Big four accounting firms. With more than 4 years of experience, he has gained significant exposure in compliance/advisory work within corporate and expatriate tax departments. He also worked on a part time basis at the University of Johannesburg as a lecturing assistant for Business Information Systems. Mohamed is a registered General Tax Practitioner with the South African Institute of Tax Practitioners and holds a BCom Accounting Degree and a Post Graduate Diploma in Tax Law (cum laude) from the University of Johannesburg.


PIETER DE VILLIERS ( is a senior manager at Cova and leads the Energy and Carbon Management team. He has more than 15 years’ experience in energy management, measurement and verification of energy savings and carbon management. He is a qualified Mechanical Engineer and is certified as an Energy Manager (CEM), an Energy Auditor (CEA), a Measurement and Verification Professional (CMVP) and as a Carbon Reduction Manager (CRM). Pieter is also accredited by SANAS as a technical signatory, with the authority to sign-off on energy savings achieved under the Section 12L tax incentive programme for energy efficiency. Before joining Cova, he worked at a leading energy services company in South Africa.

FRANCO BARNARD ( is a manager in the Carbon and Energy Advisory team. He holds a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the North West University. He is a Certified Energy Auditor, Certified Energy Manager, and a Certified Measurement and Verification Professional. Franco has more than nine years’ energy-specific experience and has successfully managed over seventy Measurement and Verification of Energy Efficiency projects - in the mining and industrial sectors, and under various funding mechanisms. Franco is also a SANAS-accredited technical signatory for SANS 50010:2011.

ZELDA BURCHELL ( is an assistant manager and holds a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering. She has over nine years’ experience in the carbon and energy field and is a certified Carbon Reduction Manager (CRM). She compiles greenhouse gas inventories for a wide variety of clients, has experience in developing emission reduction projects under a variety of accreditation standards and is experienced in the preparation of carbon disclosure responses and climate-change strategies. Zelda has given briefings on carbon tax to several clients, and represents Cova on several carbon tax forums. In addition, Zelda also performs measurement and verification activities for Section 12I and Section 12L incentive projects, in accordance with SANS 50010. She also assists clients in applying for Research and Development incentives.

MUKESH THULSIE ( joined Cova as an energy consultant, specializing in energy efficiency and energy efficiency incentives. Previously, he worked in energy auditing and energy management, having qualified as a mechanical engineer at the University of Witwatersrand. He is a Measurement and Verification Professional (CVMP) and Certified Energy Manager (CEM) in training, and is focused on the quality management of energy audit inspections.


RODERIC LICHKUS ( is a seasoned customs specialist with over 30-years’ experience. He joined Cova to start up the customs practice, which deals with all customs and excise related matters. He was formerly a senior executive at EY and PWC, responsible for their respective international trade divisions.

CAROLINE RHEEDER ( is Senior Manager in the Customs and Excise team. She joined the team in October 2018. Before joining Cova, she held a similar role at EY. She holds a BA Degree in Law, and is an admitted attorney. Her role is to build up Cova’s customs advisory business, with a focus on compliance and cost-saving opportunities.


FRANCISCA STRAUSS ( is in charge of the HR function at Cova and holds a BCom Accounting degree from the University of Pretoria. Francisca was with the dti for over 20 years, and was responsible for implementing and managing incentives and for liaison with other government bodies. Among the programmes she developed, implemented and managed were the Business Process Services programme, the Film and Television incentive, the Export Marketing and Investment Assistance programme, the Cooperative Incentive Scheme, the Capital Project Feasibility Programme, the Aquaculture Development Enhancement Programme, the Incubation Support Programme, the Manufacturing Investment Programme, the Automotive Investment Scheme, and the 12I tax allowance. Francisca also served as a Foreign Economic Representative for the dti in Bangkok, where she spent three years promoting investment into South Africa and South African exports to Thailand and neighbouring countries.

JACOBIE VAN DER WESTHUYZEN ( is Cova Advisory’s finance and administration manager. She is a qualified criminologist and has extensive commercial experience in financial markets, financial accounting and the agricultural, legal and transport sectors. Jacobie brings this diverse commercial experience to Cova, where she is a consultant on government grants and incentives. She has expertise and experience in R&D grants, Section 12I of the Income Tax Act, the Manufacturing Competitiveness Enhancement Programme and with MIDP grants.

MANTE MANYABEANE ( holds a National Diploma in Accounting, and an Advanced Diploma in Financial Management (CIMA Accredited) from the University of Johannesburg. She was previously at Barloworld, where she worked as a finance controller. She is the Finance and Administrative assistant at Cova.