Etienne Erasmus - Managing Director
Etienne joined Netafim in 2006 and although new to the company, he was a well-known face in the irrigation industry of South Africa.
He started his irrigation career in 1981 as an Irrigation Designer but moved in 1985 to the wholesale side of the business. He worked in different management positions in sales and marketing before he was promoted as Managing Director of Agriplas (Pty) Ltd in 2003. He became President of the South African Irrigation Institute (SABI) in 2004 and was awarded the SABI Gold Medal for Outstanding Service to the Institute in 2007.
Under the leadership of Etienne and his Management team, Netafim South Africa won the Netafim international award for Business Performance in 2010.
“My vision is of Netafim South Africa being the preferred supplier in our market segment, in the whole of the Southern African Development Community, the SADC countries. To become this we had to start spreading our wings and strengthen our team to take on bigger responsibilities. We appointed San-Marie Vogel to help protect and enhance our brand in the agriculture market of Southern Africa; Douw Steyn’s appointment helped “free” Gaby Levanon so he can focus specifically on our emerging farmers and some of the SADC countries; and in his new position as Business Development Manager, Leon Horn will lead us in making sure we capitalise on the opportunities that still exist in our local market.
We believe NSA has a larger role to play in our region and can for sure help in capacity building, saving of water and energy and support food security projects.”
Johan Visser - National Sales Manager
Johan’s irrigation career started in 1985 at MBB Consulting engineers in Stellenbosch where he worked as a Junior Irrigation Technician. He stayed at MBB until 1991 from where he joined Gili Irrigation in Bellville (who at that time was the agent for Netafim in South Africa). Here he was responsible for landscapes products, and worked closely with Etienne, Willem Smit and Edward.
After Gili was liquidated in 1992, he went to work for WetKit irrigation, selling irrigation kits for home gardens at retail stores. It was during this time that he met Naty Barak from Netafim Israel (responsible for the development of markets for Netafim).
Johan was appointed as the Salesman for Netafim SA in 1992. In 1996 he relocated to the Northern Transvaal (today Limpopo) to grow the market in this area, and came back to Cape Town in 1999 as Sales Manager where the factory was started with 2 extruder lines.
Today he is responsible for 13 staff members within his sales team.
“The Netafim that we know today is not the Netafim of 20 years ago. So many things have changed, but the challenge remains to keep up with the change and to continue learning new things to improve yourself. Back in 1992 we didn’t have a computer and everything was done individually and by hand; today we look forward to a very positive future. What we offer is what is needed to survive on this planet. Our drip technology saves water, so we can really ‘Grow more with less’.
Leon Horn - Business Development Manager
Leon was born in Cape Town and studied Civil Engineering after completing two years military service. Before joining Netafim SA in 1996 he gained 8 years work experience on various civil projects and worked for Andrag as Irrigation designed for 3 years.
After joining Netafim SA he progressed from the sales to the technical department, and finally became responsible for business development.
He has a magnitude of experience (local and international) in various technical areas, including drip and micro irrigation, filtration, valves, air valves, flow meters, fertilizer injection, automation, greenhouse irrigation and climate control, system maintenance and scheduling.
“My vision is to make a difference in the irrigation industry, to use our country’s scares resources (ground, water and power) responsibly, ensuring sustainable food production. Drip irrigation gives us the opportunity to realise optimal crop production against resources. The secret is to apply the basic principles of drip irrigation, and it is our task to translate this to the market.”
Chris Malan - Head Agronomist
Before joining Netafim SA in June 1995, Chris obtained a masters degree in Soil Physics (Science of Irrigation) at the University of the Free State and worked for 8 years in the fertilizer (Omnia and Sasol) industry and for 2 years at Nietvoorbij Institute for Viticulture and Oenology.
His interest has always been towards irrigation and when the opportunity arose to work for a drip irrigation company it was an easy choice.
When joining Netafim in 1995, he was working 50% for Netafim and 50% for Haifa Chemicals to promote the concepts of drip irrigation and fertigation. Later Netafim appointed him on a full time basis and as we grew he came to manage the agronomy department.
“Working with colleagues that believe in excellence of product and service for so many years has been a privilege for me. Yes, we are not perfect but through commitment we can achieve a lot and overcome most obstacles.
We are in an industry which sells the most water use efficient irrigation systems and therefore I am positive about the future.”
Edward Hill - Customer Services Manager
Edward’s career with Netafim started in September 1994 as Warehouse Manager and Telesales. He was then promoted to his current position of Customer Services Manager.
Joe le Roux - Factory Manager
Joe joined Netafim on 1 December 2015. He studied Mechanical Engineering and worked at various Manufacturing companies in the Western Cape as Production Manager as well as Operations Manager. He gained vast experience in the Production and Engineering fields from 1989 to date.
“I believe that happy, positive employees are productive. Working with people is my passion and at Netafim we have a very strong production team. We do not compromise on quality and we are focused on improving all aspects of our work on a continual basis. It is a privilege to be part of such a successful World Class Company.”
Scott Edwards - IT Manager
After playing professional soccer in the UK, Scott returned to South Africa in 1986. He studied Basic Computer and Production courses and started working at Sandock Austral in Gauteng as a Materials Planner. Among the projects he worked on was the manufacture of the Rooikat Armoured Vehicle for Armscor. At this time he obtained a CPIM (Certification in Production and Inventory Management) though SAPICS and was introduced to the ERP system Baan, which Netafim are currently using.
In 1995 he relocated to Cape Town and joined National Panasonic as Materials Manager. In 1998 he briefly joined Usabco where he managed their Purchasing and planning departments, before joining Netafim in February 1999. At that time Netafim was building the new Manufacturing plant in Kraaifontein, and his first responsibility was to establish a complete new network infrastructure at the site, as well as the implementation and integration of the Manufacturing module on the ERP system Baan. He was also responsible for the initial implementation of ISO 9001 within the company.
Scott believes the continual and ever-changing face of Technology is a real challenge. His desire is to see how it can be used to further assist Netafim in it’s strive to remain as a leader in our industry.
Yvette Fourie - HR Manager
Yvette worked as HR Consultant at JHG Personnel Practitioners, where she consulted as HR Manager with companies in various industries, from chemical to manufacturing and retail, obtaining valuable human resources information and practical tools to apply in any company. She joined Netafim SA in July 2011.
She obtained her BA (Hon) Psychology Degree in 1998, which she has been able to effectively apply into human interaction.
When joining Netafim, she was responsible for implementing all the necessary policies and procedures, creating a HR department where no formal one existed before. Since then her focus has shifted towards soft skills, implementing training programs to help grow individual staff members and creating outreach projects. She’s also responsible for various BEE actions needed for accreditation and started the performance appraisal system in SA.
“After working in various industries, it is such a privilege to work for a company that believes in ethics and growth of not only its products but also of its people.
People’s attitudes are the driving force behind every action, and I believe that actively motivating them will bring the biggest production related rewards; shifting Netafim SA even further ahead from our competitors.”
Lukho Ruthula - Finance Manager
Lukho Ruthula CA(SA) joined the company in 2013 as the youngest member of the management team. He obtained his Chartered Accountant qualification in one of the big four accounting firms, after completing his studies at the University of Port Elizabeth (now Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University). He was a Finance Manager for a logistics division of a listed company before joining Netafim. He is responsible for all the financial aspect of the company.
"It humbles me to be part of a team that does so much to ensure sustainability of our natural resource, water for the future generation by helping people to grow more and better - with less."
Willem Botha - Marketing Manager
Willem completed his B.Sc. Agriculture degree at the University of Stellenbosch, specialising in Viticulture and Oenology, whereafter he started working as a viticulture consultant for VinPro (the producers' organisation for the wine industry), mainly giving advice to producers regarding the total management of wine grapes and organising information days and transfer of technology. At the time, the South African wine Industry was in a bloom phase, giving him the opportunity to get into contact with all the new technology and developments in the wine industry, including the "new" technology of drip irrigation, named RDI.
After growing his experience in irrigation for 7 years, he was approached by NSA to join their team and focus on the wine industry; and started in the position as Agronomist in October 2007.
After almost 9 years, his career path at NSA has changed dramatically – from initially focussing on specialised crop management advice to developing new markets. This change has been due to the success in NSA’s marketing drive, specifically in the development of the pecan industry, and recently in entering the sub-tropical crops markets.
Professionally, Willem's determination and "make it happen' personality, has shown tremendous growth over the last 8 years, and has contributed significantly to his success and ability to adapt. Willem has been leading the new marketing department since January 2016.