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Alex Grager

Programme Director

After a sterling performance at the St Lucia congress Alex Granger is now our resident MC for the SAACI Congress for the next 3 years, Alex’s passion and experience in Business Events rendered him the best candidate for the role.


14:00 - 15:00, Sunday 2nd August 2015

Setting the scene: What's happening in South Africa 



Amanda Kotze - Nhlapo - Panelist
Chief Convention Bureau Officer of the South African National Convention Bureau 

Amanda joined South African Tourism following a successful tenure at the Cape Town and Western Cape Convention Bureau where she held held the position of head of the Bureau for six years. During this time she represented that organisation on the management committee of the BestCities Global Alliance. She also led the Cape Town and Western Cape Convention Bureau through a number of successful quality audits by Lloyds.





Sean Bradley - Panelist
Global Manager - Trade and Support

Sean is responsible for the Business Meetings & Events portfolio (MICE), SAA Holidays, Global Trade Relations and various other revenue generating projects.

Further experience in the Airline Industry included serving an axciting time with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, and SAA during the Andre Viljoen era, serving 6years in the voyager business unit. Accolades during the SAA chapter included establishing a Voyager Member Relations department and serving on the steering committee for the Global Customer Service project, Sean was also responsible for the Voyager Training Academy


Lindiwe Rakharebe - Panelist
Chief Executive Officer of the Durban International Convention Centre (ICC)

Having been appointed in April 2015. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Management Leadership (Free State University), a Diploma in Management Development Programme (Executive Education), and a number of professional development programmes including the Financial Services Training Programme (International Training Solutions).



Dorcas Dlamini - Panelist
Group Sales Director for Protea Hotels Group

Her role is to implement / control the Group’s national sales strategy and work with her Sales Management TEAM to ensure the Sales Force achieves set revenue targets. Her primary focus is on growing Protea Hotels Group’s market share on Corporate, Travel Trade, Government & MICE market segments. Dorcas and her Sales Management TEAM oversee a TEAM of over 65 dynamics Sales people in South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria, Malawi and Zambia. 





Gill Martini - Panelist
Chief Executive Officer, Phambili African Events

Gill was appointed to project manage global proportion events such as the inauguration of former South African Presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, the highly successful COP 17 CCR Expo held in Durban, WSSD Earth Lounge (BMW Munich), Head of States visits by former US President Bill Clinton and HRH Queen Elizabeth, former French President Jacques Chirac, former Cuban Prime Minster and President Fidel Castro. Numerous International Sporting Events and International Conferences. Her expert strategic planning, renowned organisational skills and knowledge of international protocol have all played an integral part in the success of these high profile events.




Gwyn Matthews - Panelist

After completing a National Diploma in Tourism Management in 1998 at what was then Cape Technikon, Gwynneth embarked on her career in the Conference and Events Industry in London, England, working at various conference hotels and exhibition venues.

In 2003, Gwynneth launched Southern Cross Conferences in Cape Town.

Gwyn plays an active role in Skills Development in the Meetings and Events Indsutry and has served on both the South African Association for Conference Industry and the Events Chamber within Services SETA. In 2009, Gwynneth qualified as a CMP, the foremost certification of the meetings, conventions and exhibitions industry. 



Nina Freysen-Pretorius - Panelist
ICCA President

Nina's unique combination of bold energy, strategic thinking and international experience makes her the ideal candidate to fulfill ICCA’s mandate and drive synergistic growth for all members.

Since founding The Conference Company as a one-woman operation in 1997, Nina has become an integral member and driving force of the Southern African conferencing industry.

The thriving business, now based in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town, provides Association Secretariat Management and Conference Management Services to the South African Association and International Association market.

09h00 - 09h20, Monday, 3rd August 2015 

Opening Address: Minister of Tourism

Minister Derek Hanekom
Minister of Tourism


Minister Derek Hanekom was also appointed as the Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs by South Africas first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela, and he dedicated his time to this from 1994-1999. Mr Hanekom served as a member of parliament on various committees, he was appointed as Deputy Minister of Science and Technology during April 2004, in 2012 he was promoted as the Minister of Science and Technology from 4 October 2012- 25th May 2014.


09h20 - 10h00, Monday, 3rd August 2015

1st Keynote Speaker: It's Personal
Author - "Good Morning, Mr Mandela"


Zelda la Grange

Zelda la Grange the keynote speaker on “it’s personal” will share experiences and lessons learnt from the 19 years she served as Presidential Aide. Having served Nelson Mandela in different capacities her unique outlook on life, inspired by one of the greatest statesmen of our time, provides an ideal opportunity for members to benefit from her experiences. Her experiences have brought about a complete metamorphosis within her thinking and attitude towards others and life in general.


10h30 - 11h30, Monday, 3rd August 2015

2nd Keynote speaker: It's Business
Author - "Sell Hard" and "Mom I sold you"

Thaamir Moerat

Workhard. Livehard. Sellhard. Playhard. Thaamir Moerat lives, eats and sleeps sales… He is sales! Keynote speaker on “it’s business” Thaamir will give delegates in-depth training to help you become the best sales person you can possibly be. Author of “Sorry Mama I sold you” and speaker across the globe he is definitely not to be missed at this years congress.


11h10 - 11h50 Monday, 3rd August 2015 

South African National Convention Bureau and South African Tourism Session

Amanda Kotze - Nhlapo

Chief Convention Bureau Officer of the South African National Convention Bureau 


Amanda joined South African Tourism following a successful tenure at the Cape Town and Western Cape Convention Bureau where she held held the position of head of the Bureau for six years. During this time she represented that organisation on the management committee of the BestCities Global Alliance. She also led the Cape Town and Western Cape Convention Bureau through a number of successful quality audits by Lloyds.

11h50 - 12h20 Monday, 3rd August 2015 

tech@saaci introduction


12h15 - 13h00, Monday, 3rd August 2015 

Annual General Meeting



Denise Kemp
Owner and Director of Eastern Sun Events

AGM Programme Director

Denise has been working in the conference industry since 1997 and her business specialises in the management of medical association conferences.

Denise is passionate about SAACI and is a past Eastern Cape branch chairman, a past Chair of the Conference and Events Forum and a past national chairman of SAACI. 

She is also a member of the marketing committee of the SA National Convention Bureau.  Denise is pleased to return to the board of SAACI as its public officer.

State of the Association Report

Zelda Coetzee
Owner, Imfunzelelo Tourism & Event Specialist


Having managed numerous local and international conferences and events for associations, corporates and NGOs. Zelda started her business tourism career at the Cape Town Convention Bureau before joining one of South Africa’s leading tourism groups as General Manager of their conference division. Zelda was honoured for outstanding contribution to the Tourism Industry in the Western Cape by the Department of Economic Development and Tourism in 2004. 


Glenn Van Eck
Magnetic Storm


With over 30 years of experience in the Conference and Events Industry in South Africa and a qualified, Certified Meetings Professional (CMP) registered in Washington DC, Glenn is dedicated to the growth and development of the industry in the Eastern Cape. He is also the Chairperson of the Council of Events Professionals (CEP) Africa a joint initiative of SAACI, EXSA and IFEA to set up a professional body for the industry.

State of the Association Report


Adriaan Liebetrau 
Chief Executive Officer

Having worked in the hospitality industry from secondary school and completing his studies at the University of Johannesburg, Adriaan have a list of achievements behind his name. He has worked for both Protea Hospitality and Peermont Hotels Casinos and Resorts in various fields ranging from development project manager, general manager and hotel and resort operations manager. He then headed up the Conferencing and Events division of Travel with Flair and also served on the SAACI board as Director before joining the Association as its Chief Executive in May 2014.

14h00 - 14h55, Monday, 3rd August 2015

HOT TOPIC 1: Better buildings: adaptive design and architectural solutions






Gary Koetser - Parallel session
Joint Chief Executive Officer, Century City Conference Centre 

After completing my in service training I held various management positions before being promoted to my first post as a General Manager of the Protea Hotel Saldanha Bay, then transferred to Protea Hotel Tyger Valley and Protea Hotel Sea Point until my lucky break came when I was appointed to open the African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel & Spa as General Manager. Most recently I held the position of Regional General Manager for Protea & African Pride Hotels in the Western Cape before taking up my current position as Joint CEO for the new Century City Conference Centre & Hotel.


  Andrew McLachlan - Parallel session
Vice President Business Development, Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

 A South African national, McLachlan is based at Carlson Rezidor’s Development office in Cape Town, South Africa. Andrew is responsible for growing the company's dynamic portfolio of hotels and brands in sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands. Carlson Rezidor currently has 64 hotels in operation and under development in 27 countries in Africa - under either their upper upscale Radisson Blu brand or upper midscale Park Inn by Radisson brand.

14h00 - 14h55, Monday, 3rd August 2015

Events Technology (International speaker) 





Steve Mackenzie

Steve joined etouches in June 2011, initially managing the global sales team and named Vice President of Global Channels in 2013 to focus on the global channel partner growth – a key component of etouches continued success.

Steve is a 20 year veteran in the event software industry and has held executive roles such as Director of Operations Australia/Pacific for Micros, Managing Director Asia Pacific (and then Vice-President Global Sales and Marketing) for Ungerboeck Systems International, and Vice President Global Sales for ASP Events. A frequent speaker at various conferences around the world on the topic of event technology, Steve spends a lot of his time attending events and sharing his knowledge. 

14h00 - 14h55, Monday, 3rd August 2015 

SOLUTION SESSION 1: Room blocks: poaching, attrition and other challenges


15h00 - 15h55, Monday, 3rd August 2015 

SOLUTIONS SESSION 2: Labour Relations Act and Amendments

Michael Bagraim 

Newly elected Member of Parliament for the Democratic Alliance. Practicing Attorney as Consultant with Bagraims Attorneys.

Matriculated at Cape Town High School and graduated from Rhodes University with a BA in Political Science and thereafter an LLB.

Was a member of the Student Representative Council for two years and represented the University on the Debating Society and Law Students Association.


15h00 -  15h55, Tuesday, 4th August 2015 

HOT TOPIC 3: Global compliance trends: local implications





Josie Lyon 

Group Legal Director, Protea Hotels
Vice President & Assistant Regional Counsel – Marriott International - Middle East and Africa

After qualifying as an attorney with City of London law firm, Freshfields, in 1995, Josie worked in Freshfields’ offices in London, Hong Kong and Singapore before joining Marriott International as legal counsel in Hong Kong in 2001. After stints in Marriott’s offices in Hong Kong, London and Mumbai, Josie moved to Cape Town in 2010 where she became Legal Director for Virgin Active Health Clubs. Josie’s extensive experience in the hospitality and leisure sectors across a broad-range of international markets meant she was ideally placed to rejoin Marriott as Group Legal Director for Protea covering Sub-Saharan Africa following Marriott’s acquisition of the Protea Hotel Group in April 2014. 


15h00 - 15h55, Monday, 3rd August 2015

HOT TOPIC 4: Business is personal: when to turn off your phone, wellness of events professionals






Noha Essop 
TEDx Speaker and Wellness Entrepreneur

Noha travels the world sharing her wisdom which has always been described as both inspiring and empowering.

She is the founder of three life empowering companies, all of which facilitates personal and business growth through cognitive and self-awareness processes. She is a consummate and tenured entrepreneur since the age of 28 with a number of accolades to her name, which includes being a TEDx Speaker.


16h05 - 17h00, Monday, 3rd August 2015

HOT TOPIC 5: Professionalism: ethics, conducts and values

Kathi Clarke
Industrial Psychologist & Certified ActionCOACH

As a business coach, industrial psychologist and business growth expert, Kathi Clarke has a passion and reputation for helping businesses, owners and teams to position themselves to thrive in spite of tough times. Kathi is a registered industrial psychologist and an internationally-accredited business coach with ActionCOACH, the world’s number one business coaching company.   Kathi’s award-winning business reputation has been recognised both nationally and internationally.  


16h05 - 17h00, Monday, 3rd August 2015 

HOT TOPICS 6: Branding and marketing: case studies of corporate rebranding

Mark Jakins
Group Marketing and regional Operations Executive 

Mr. Jakins rejoined the Peermont group in 2006, after spending four years with Global Resorts in the formative years. He is responsible for regional operations with general managers reporting to him. He also directs the marketing strategy, brand strategy and positioning, advertising, public relations, direct marketing and loyalty programmes, customer relations and management, publishing management, entertainment, international and local sales, corporate affairs and CSI for the Group. 

16h05 17h00, Monday, 3rd August 2015 

SOLUTION SESSION 3: HR and Staff development: recruitment, mentors, and training

Zaida Samuels
Human Resource Director, KWV Wines

10h20 - 11h00, Monday, 3rd August 2015 

HOT TOPIC 7: Government Tenders



Tom Bouwer
Chief Financial Officer
South African Toursim

10h20 - 11h00, Tuesday, 4th August 2015

SOLUTION SESSION 4: Start - up bootcamp: do this, don't do that

Chani MacCauley


10h200 - 11h00, Tuesday, 4th August 2015 

SOLUTION SESSION 5: International conference finance: VAT and movement of funds


11h05 - 12h00, Tuesday, 4th August 2015

HOT TOPIC 8: The psychology of learning: meeting format, presentations, networking, use of space

Lynne Smit - Panelist

Co-Owner Hippo Communications

Lynne founded Of Course Media in 2006, which merged with HIPPO Communications in June 2011. Her track record includes 28 years of experience as a reporter and sub-editor on various publications including the Financial Times (London), The Argus and The Star. She is inspired by contemporary and evolving news dissemination techniques, including social media. Lynne is on the executive committees of the South African Science Journalists’ Association (SASJA) and the South African Freelancers’ Association (SAFREA), a mentor for the World Federation of Science Journalists, the author of three textbooks and editor of a book on education in South Africa. She has provided media services for over 20 conferences in South Africa and abroad.

11h05 - 12h00, Tuesday, 4th August 2015 

SOLUTION SESSION 6: B-BBEE: Transforming the tourism industry

Shariefa Allie-Nieftagodien
Operations Director, XL Nexus Travel

Shariefa holds a Master's degree and 30 years travel industry experience in South Africa,. She has worked in Various areas of tourism including operations development strategy. Since 1994 she participated in transformation training in tourism. Her passion for the empowerment of especially women in tourism led to her continuous research in this field.

11h05 - 12h00, Tuesday, 4th August 2015 

SOLUTION SESSION 7: Protect yourself and your stuff: risk insurance


13h00 - 14h00, Tuesday, 4th August 2015 

HOT TOPIC 9: A profitable financial model: outsource vs. insource




Clare Neall 
Managing Director, Event Stuff

Clare Neall is a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) following a career which has spanned many years in the global events and exhibition industry.  

Before joining the home coming revolution in 2006, Clare was based in the UK for 20 years managing worldwide corporate sales and marketing events for Volvo Car UK, Stryker and Cisco Systems.


13h00 - 14h00, Tuesday, 4th August 2015 

SOLUTION SESSION 8: Safety at events: legislation, building, codes, SASREA and JOC demystified