The Cova Team
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 (and Industry?), 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.
MARI WICHMANN is an admitted attorney and tax specialist with over 10 years’ experience in government grants and tax incentives. She currently manages the Incentives and R&D practice area of Cova. Before moving to Cova, Mari was a Manager in the Deloitte Research & Development and Government Incentives teams, and her experience included providing advice to new local and foreign investors on the available incentives, assistance with preparing their incentive applications, the monitoring and maintenance of applications, assistance with feedback reports, and the optimisation of tax deductions.
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 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 currently a consultant at Cova Advisory and Associates. Zelda has a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering and has working the climate change and sustainability space since 2008.
GRANT WHITTAKER heads up Cova Advisory’s new Cape Town Office. 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 joined Cova Advisory in January 2016, as a consultant on incentives and was previously at a big 4 accounting firm. He has a degree in accounting, and he is still working on becoming a CA. He is expanding his knowledge of the incentives landscape.
FUNGAI MAKONI is a specialist consultant at Cova, 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 the Senior Manager in charge of Energy at Cova Advisory. He joined in August 2016, and specialises in measurement and verification of energy savings, which is required for companies to submit claims for 12L and 12I tax incentives. Pieter has a B.Eng in Mechanical Engineering, and is a certified Measurement and Verification professional and Energy Manager. Before joining Cova, he worked on energy saving projects at Ensight Energy Solutions.
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 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 manager in 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.
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