Thandokwakhe Sibiya


Please tell us briefly about your professional life?
I am an agriculture and rural development professional with extensive experience working in this sector during the past 15 years. I have been in the sugar sector since 2009 when I joined the South African Cane Growers’ Association. I received Agricultural Economics and Management training in South Africa and in the United Kingdom through the Ford Foundation International Fellowship. I am the Chief Operations Officer at the South African Farmers Development Association (SAFDA) currently.
What made you accept the responsibility of being a SITFE Trustee?
I am passionate about education and its power to transform lives. I am a son of an unskilled factory worker. My father worked at the now extinct Entumeni Sugar Mill all his life. I grew up in the factory compound and persevered through difficulties and limitations of life we lived at that time. Through commitment to education I managed to tackle socio-economic challenges of my background. I was the first in my family to finish matric, complete tertiary education and be exposed to opportunities I never dreamed of. Today I am one of Councillors of the South African Sugar Association that governs the South African sugar industry and work for an organization that is making a remarkable impact on farmers and farming communities in the sugar sector. SITFE is an industry vehicle that can lift up many youngsters in the industry from obscurity to prominence in their future lives, thus changing the trajectories of families and communities in the sugarcane farming belt. It is for this reason that I accepted the role of being a SITFEE Trustee as it places me in an honourable position of being an advocate for education and training as a catalyst for personal and community development.
How long have you been a SITFE Trustee?
I was nominated by SAFDA to serve as Trustee in April 2018. 2023 marks 5 years of being a SIFTE Trustee.
What do you hope to achieve during your tenure?
I am hoping to carry out my duties of guiding the trust with integrity and commitment, helping the Trust to touches the lives of our youth and build an education and training legacy for the future. Trustees are in the position of trust to safeguard the interest of current and future beneficiaries. I am hoping to make sure that, through right decisions, that the Trust, is sustainable from a financial point of view.
What is your take on the role of SITFE in society?
SITFE is a sugar industry’s display of commitment to good corporate citizenship and socio-economic transformation. It was established during troubling times in political history of our country and stood for the development and empowerment of the downtrodden. High-profile and well-respected alumni of the trust bear testimony to its commendable work over the years.