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The Cova Team

TUMELO CHIPFUPA is a joint managing director at Cova Advisory & Associates. Before his recent move to Cova, he was the Deputy Director-General responsible for the suite of incentives offered by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti), as well as being in charge of the Special Economic Zones Programme. Tumelo qualified as a Mechanical Engineer with an MSc fromDuke University in the USA. He also has a MBA from Wits University and a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University. He started his career as an Engineer with Eskom, and later joined SAA as an aircraft maintenance engineer. He joined the dti in 1997. He was instrumental in the introduction of a number of major dti incentives, which included the Enterprise Investment Programme, Section 12I of the Income Tax Act, the Business Process Servicing Incentives, the Film and TV rebate, the Automotive Investment Scheme, the Black Business Supplier Development Programme and - most recently - 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.


DUANE NEWMAN is the joint managing director of Cova Advisory & Associates. He is a respected sustainability strategy and business consultant, with an expertise in grants, incentives and tax in the green economy. 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 sections: on 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 Managing Director of the Tax Technology division and oversaw its disposal to Thomson Reuters in 2011. Duane set up the Renewable Energy practice for Deloitte SA, 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 outside Deloitte 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 American Chamber of Commerce and Executive Committee Member of Eurochamber. Most recently, he has served as Board member responsible for Sustainability at the American Chamber of Commerce. Duane qualified as a Chartered Accountant with SAICA and is a registered Tax Practitioner. He is regularly quoted in the press and writes for several publications on his areas of expertise.


FRANCISCA STRAUSS is an incentives expert at Cova Advisory, where she assists companies to access government grants and allowances. Francisca was with the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) for 20 years, where she was responsible for implementing and managing incentives and liaison with other government bodies. Among the programmes she developed, implemented and managed were the Business Process Services programme, the Film and Television incentives, 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 has 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. She holds a BCom Accounting degree from the University of Pretoria.


PHILISIWE HLONGWA is an admitted attorney with over 4 years of corporate tax experience. Philisiwe was previously a Corporate Tax consultant at PWC, where she advised on various aspects of Corporate Tax, including R&D tax. As a Senior Consultant at Cova Advisory and Associates, her areas of specialisation are in research and development, and in government grants and incentives.






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.





ZELDA BURCHELL is an assistant manager at Cova Advisory. She holds a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering, and has over nine years’ experience in the carbon and energy field. She is a certified Carbon Reduction Manager (CRM). At Cova, 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 with carbon disclosure responses and climate-change strategies. Zelda has given briefings on carbon tax to several clients, and represents Cova Advisory 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.



GRANT WHITTAKER heads up Cova Advisory’s Cape Town office and is also the national business development manager. He has fourteen years of experience in consulting on government incentives, having previously operated his own consulting business in the Western Cape. Grant has completed a BA degree in Communication Science through UNISA, holds a diploma in Project Management from the Parker Institute of Australia, and has been a member of Project Management South Africa for 6 years. Grant’s area of specialisation is in new business development and client retention, and his goal is to establish Cova as the number-one choice of Western Cape business owners when it comes to seeking advice on government incentives.




MUKESH THULSIE joined Cova Advisory in February 2016 as an energy consultant, specializing in energy efficiency and energy efficiency incentives. Previously, he has worked on energy auditing and energy management, after qualifying as a mechanical engineer. He is a CVMP in training and is focused on quality management of energy audit inspections.






RENDANI TSHISHIVHIRI is a senior consultant on incentives and was previously at a big 4 accounting firm. He has a degree in accounting. He is expanding his knowledge of the incentives landscape.






FUNGAI MAKONI is a manger at Cova Advisory, and manages the Research and Development (R&D) portfolio. Her task is to ensure that clients are able to access the Government Incentives which are available for R&D, and to expand the client base. As well as her work at Cova, she lectures honours-level Chartered Accounting trainees on financial accounting. Fungai is a Chartered Accountant and has a Higher Diploma in Tax Law. Before joining Cova, she worked at Deloitte in the government grants and incentives department, and has also worked at EY.





PIETER DE VILLIERS is a senior manager at Cova Advisory, leading the Energy and Carbon Management team. He joined us in August 2016, and 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) and Energy Auditor (CEA), as 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.



PHUMULANI MABENA is a specialist tax consultant dealing with Government grants and incentives. Previously worked in the KPMG tax division. Has a B.Com accounting degree, with Honours in taxation. Studying for a Masters, through a postgraduate diploma in taxation.







MOHAMED ISMAIL is a senior consultant on government grants and tax incentives. He previously worked at one of the big 4 auditing firms on company tax compliance and expatriate tax compliance. Mohamed has a B.Com Accounting degree and a post-graduate diploma in tax law cum laude.







MATI MWAMUKA is a consultant on dti funding and finance-raising for black industrialists. Also advising on agroprocessing and other incentives. Worked before at the IDC on internal audit, and later at EY. A qualified CA.







MOEKETSI MARUMO is a senior manager, leading Cova Advisory’s incentive unit, focusing on industrial and job creation incentives. Previously, he worked with dti on incentives, and was most recently with the Jobs Fund. He has a BComm in accounting and economics, and a post-graduate certificate in economics.







RODERIC LICHKUS is a customs specialist, who joined Cova Advisory to start up the customs practice, dealing with all customs and excise matters. Formerly with EY and PWC, looking after their international trade division.







CAROLINE RHEEDER is Senior Customs Manager at Cova Advisory, where she started in October 2018. Before joining us, she performed a similar role at EY. She holds a BA Degree in Law and is an admitted attorney. She is helping to build up Cova’s customs advisory business, with a focus on complicance and cost-saving opportunities.






LIZELL ERASMUS is Manager, Customs and Excise, at Cova Advisory, having joined the company in mid-2018.
She is a CA, and previously worked with the customs team at EY.
Her role is to assist with customs queries and to highlight how customs issues can impact on a business, thus giving a rounded appreciation of their relevance and importance.









FRANCO BARNARD 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 under various funding mechanisms. Franco is also a SANAS accredited technical signatory for SANAS.





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 as well 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 incentive projects.

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