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Our Team

Hennie Steyn

Chief Executive Officer

Hennie is a member of several professional bodies, among them the Engineering Council of South Africa where he is registered as an engineering professional.

Hennie completed an MSc in Engineering Management at the University of Pretoria and subsequently spent some time at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he obtained a Certificate in Management Research, Development and Technology Innovation.

Hennie has refined his skills in diverse fields including engineering design in the asset management and infrastructure industries, operations management and outsourcing development together with construction development. He is also skilled in developing projects in the renewable energy, synthetic gas, thermal and gas power arenas.

Hennie started his career as an Engineer in the telecoms industry. He spent 18 years with Telkom SA as an Executive responsible for infrastructure deployment and operations. He started TFMC, Africa’s largest Facilities Management Company. TFMC was responsible for infrastructure across South Africa inclusive of more than 300 power plants (+300MW) and infrastructure covering more than 18000 sites. Hennie established SKT Construction in 2008. SKT soon became a leading construction entity building complex infrastructure for its customers and was named as an MTN top company for building complex data centres with Tier-4 operability.


In addition to Xaris, TMFC and SKT, Hennie has established various companies in Australia and in Africa. He has vast experience in projects in diverse environments including Europe, Nigeria, Angola, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Mozambique, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Arab Emirates.

Günther Freyer

Chief Operating Officer

Günther is a professionally accredited Accountant with a strong track record of developing specialized funding structures for companies in the Petroleum and Energy industries. He is known for his ability to integrate complex commercial property financial strategies.


Günther completed his BCom in Accounting at the University of Pretoria. As an accountant accredited by the Australian Accounting body, Günther also has extensive taxation knowledge and has played a leadership role for many years within the private and merchant banking sectors.

Günther started as a Tax Officer at South African Revenue Service (Income Tax and VAT). He spent 8 years specializing in asset based finance at MLS (Medical/Hospital), Investec Private Bank and Imperial Bank (Property Finance). He has developed unique off-balance sheet funding structures for various South African oil companies.


As financial director and co-shareholder of various private companies, Günther has over the last 17 years been involved in the development and construction of numerous projects for Sasol Oil, Engen Petroleum and Shell Oil, as well as the project development and construction of Tier-4 Data centers for MTN.


Günther is currently involved in a variety of power plant projects throughout Africa, varying from gas-fired turbine plants, through syngas to windfarms. Günther's responsibilities include the procurement and structuring of project funding, financial reporting, taxation, negotiation of agreements (PPAs, FSAs, etc.), land acquisitions and the setting up of off-shore structures for power developments in Africa.

Jacques Burger

Chief Markets Executive

Various programming initiatives and opportunities led to Jacques setting up very successful businesses in Namibia such as Avril Payment Solutions (the company provides a world class deduction management solution to clients including the Government of Namibia) and the Namibian Federated Friendly Society Insurance, amongst others.


His expertise in electronic engineering combined with his business acumen led to Jacques forming Fire Security Technology, a supplier of state-of-the-art electronic design and fire detection and suppression layout for the mining industry and power stations.


Jacques has worked extensively in Africa, he has been involved in projects and businesses Kenya, Tanzania, Angola, Zambia and Malawi.

Jacques obtained his diploma in Electronic Engineering from Cape Town Technical College as well as a BA Law Degree from the University of South Africa.


Well known within the Namibian business community, Jacques has vast experience in business development, and is especially knowledgeable in the fields of financial market development and electronic programming. 


Jacques began his career in the fishing industry, exporting to various countries. Thereafter he moved into publishing, before starting several financial and investment businesses.

Tilana de Meillon

Chief Development Officer

Tilana is the Chief Development Officer for Xaris Developments and the Project Manager for the Xaris Project, including the 250 MW Power Plant and related gas supply infrastructure development in Walvis Bay, Namibia.


Tilana is a professionally registered Industrial Engineer with a Master’s Degree in Computer Engineering (Electronic) and Master’s Degree in Engineering Management. She has also completed a variety of short courses including Quality Management, Value Engineering, Systems Thinking and Project Management.

Tilana’s early experience was gained at Eskom over a 7-year period where she specialised in Project, Programme and Portfolio Management, Process Engineering and System Optimisation.


She has over 13 years’ experience in the Engineering Consulting field. Her focus is on Project Development and Execution Services for Infrastructure Projects. Key Projects she has worked on include:

  • Developing coal and gas power infrastructure projects in Namibia, Tanzania, Nigeria and Botswana

  • Project development of hydropower projects in Cameroon

  • Packaging of Catalytic Projects for the Development Bank of South Africa

  • Technical advisor on Concept design and procurement of Trigeneration plants.


She also has specialist skills in Project and Portfolio Management, including the setup and running of Project Management Offices. In addition to being the Project Manager for numerous projects whilst working at EON Consulting and at Eskom, she was Portfolio Manager for West Africa for Aurecon Consulting Engineers.


Tilana has significant Management-level experience and has served on various organisational committees. She has been accountable for management functions in the companies she worked for, including acting as account liaison for key clients and stakeholders, and conducting business development, profitability and strategy formulation.


Tilana has extensive regional experience and has conducted work in Namibia, Angola, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania and Mauritius.

Chiraag Gokaldas

Chief Technical Officer

Chiraag holds a Chemical Engineering Honours Degree (University of the Witwaterstand) and a Master's Degree in Chemical Engineering (University of Twente, The Netherlands). He is also a registered professional engineer with the Engineering Council of South Africa.


Chiraag has spent the better part of his career in the oil and gas sectors with a particular focus on coal derived synthesis gas. He has also designed and commissioned gas clean up facilities for Eskom and other private sector energy companies on the African continent.

Over the last 10 years Chiraag has been practicing as an Engineering Consultant in the Power Generation space, conducting feasibility studies and due diligence reviews on various fossil fuel generation plants. He has worked for various private sector and state owned entities, advising on project development, procurement, technical integration, fuel selection and project structuring.

While his key area of focus has been in the energy arena, Chiraag has also consulted on environmental management of water systems, non-revenue water management and minimization, as well as on various cogeneration and trigeneration power projects.

During his career Chiraag has developed a deep understanding of global Oil and Gas Markets, specifically, he has in-depth knowledge of the global liquefied natural gas market. This knowledge has proven key in negotiation of supply contracts for various Power generation projects. Chiraag was also afforded the opportunity to write an article in the ESI Africa publication on the Gas to Power Potential and Challenges which face the South African IPP Gas Programme (

Deon Breytenbach CA (SA)

Chief Financial Officer

Deon attained an Honours Degree in Accounting in 1991 in Pretoria, he completed his articles at PWC and qualified as a Chartered Accountant.


His work experience includes 6 years at the Auditor-General of South Africa where he had specialised in value for money audits in the financial and treasury sector and also conducted a few special investigations.


Deon had his own practice for a 3 year period performing accounting, auditing and tax work.

He spent 17 years at the South African Revenue Authority, the last 6 as an Executive Manager responsible for the analysis, estimation and modelling of South Africa’s more than R1 trillion in tax revenue as well as the modelling and costing of various tax proposals. His section’s responsibilities required regular interaction with local stakeholders (such as Parliamentary committees, National Treasury, Davies Tax Committee) as well as international stakeholders (such as the IMF and World Bank). He initiated the launch of the Annual South African Tax Statistics and in 2016 the 9th edition of this publication was launched. He also made significant contributions to the development and launch of South Africa’s Tax Expenditure Budget which is published annually by National Treasury. In 2011 he made a presentation on the use of tax statistics in official statistics at an International Statistics conference in Dublin, Ireland.


He joined Xaris during 2016 as Chief Financial Officer and his accounting, tax and modelling experience allows him to make significant contributions to the project development environment within which Xaris operates.

Lock Nel

 Chief Commercial Officer

Lock is responsible for the financial modelling and commercial structuring of Xaris Developments’ Infrastructure Projects. He has over 24 years’ experience in various sectors including the government, transport, health, retail, power and mining sectors.


He obtained his degrees from the Universities of Stellenbosch and South Africa and is an ACCA affiliated accountant with more than 10 years’ international work experience. He is also a Project Management Institute certified Coach and Mentor.

His areas of specialisation are Financial Modelling, Procurement and Commissioning Management, Contract Negotiation and Performance Management, Strategic Supplier Management, Programme and Project Management, and Inventory and Financial Management.


He has a strong track record in the negotiation and management of mega contracts. Lock also obtained specialist skills, and has been active in Project and Programme Management and Financial Modelling over the past 8 years. He is a seasoned Project and Programme Manager, and has designed, set up and run various large-scale Project Management Offices for corporates such as MassMart and SOEs including Eskom and City Power.

One of the most challenging projects Lock has managed involved rolling out and successfully implementing Harmony Gold's new Mine Technical Systems (MTS). He wrote an article for the Mining Weekly Africa Edition on the Challenges of Mine Technical Systems Upgrades. (


Lock has served on various organisational committees internally and for clients, and has significant Management-level experience.


Lock joined Xaris Developments in as its Chief Commercial Officer. Lock utilises detailed financial analysis and modelling to demonstrate and ensure that the commercial structuring and contractual arrangements are in line with the requirements of the client or sponsor, lenders and equity stakeholders of the project.

John Mathwasa

Development Executive

John Mathwasa is an entrepreneur, infrastructure project developer and dot connector extraordinaire who currently plies his aptitude as a Project Development Executive on the Xaris Walvis Bay LNG to Power Plant.

A McKinsey and Co alumnus, John read Strategy and Innovation, and later a Masters in Business Administration at the University of Oxford. His career has spanned technology, policy, regulatory, finance and development value chains in the technology, media, and telecom (TMT) and energy industries. 

As a telecommunications regulatory practitioner, John served on various committees charged with the drafting of South Africa's SIGINT, e-commerce and ICT policy and regulatory blue prints and subsequent legislation.

John was a co-founder of SKT, which was charged with turnkey engineering design, finance, construction and systems integration of data network infrastructure for MTN Group.


In 2006, as one of the founding Principals of the 17,000km, privately funded, award winning USD600m broadband submarine cable SEACOM, John led the investor selection and successfully raised 51% of the equity required to construct the subsea cable system from Shanduka Group, Remgro and Convergence Partners. He also developed SEACOM’s early-stage strategies for stakeholder engagement, southern and east African market entry strategies, products, and furthermore, completed significant anchor tenant off-take agreements to secure the project debt. Until September 2012, he was charged with tracking, managing and mitigating political, regulatory, economic and business risk in SEACOM’s 7 countries of operation.


He is a founding Partner at Off-take, and is an African infrastructure project developer with a specialized aptitude to aid promoters, investors, shareholders, lenders, EPCs, governments, operators and restructuring advisors with early stage development and post-financial close development phases of infrastructure projects. John was a Project Developer for the planned Noun-Wouri Hydro Electric Power Plant in Cameroon

Pam Apps

Development Officer

Pam holds an Honours Degree in Materials Engineering from the University of Wales, Swansea. She also completed an English Honours course in Editing at the University of Pretoria, for which she received a Distinction. Pam has worked in the Engineering and Consulting industries for 18 years.


Pam initially worked as a Materials Engineer in the Civil Engineering sector. She then became a Project Manager in the Technical Events Management field. She designed and managed events in the UK and Europe for clients including Samsung, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup.

Her love of language led her to take an Honours course in English editing at the University of Pretoria in 2007. She has worked as a Freelance Language Editor and Trainer for clients including Eskom, the University of Pretoria, Umalusi and for several overseas Journals.


Pam joined EON Consulting in Midrand in 2011 where she worked as Knowledge Manager and Business Development Manager. Her focus was on EON’s Intellectual Property (IP) and Branding. She ran the Business Development Support unit in EON – sourcing and developing possible opportunities for the company, coordinating responses to opportunities and managing the resulting documentation and IP for the future use of the company.


Pam moved to Xaris Developments as their Project Development Officer. She is responsible for pulling together the different aspects of Xaris’s projects, from client and stakeholder communication and relations through to production and collation of technical inputs.

Niel Kemp

Commercial Consultant

Niel holds a Master’s Degree in Control Systems from the University of Pretoria and has been active in the power generation and project development environment for 20 years. His key focus is the valuation, commercial structuring and financial modelling of projects with an emphasis on power generation.

He began his engineering career in the Nuclear Industry and worked on the experimental Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) project, becoming their Plant Systems Engineer, responsible for specifying the plant's technical requirements and for the project’s requirements management.

His focus then turned to power project development and integration and he began to develop his skills in building business and technical process models and procedures, including robust financial modelling and system life cycle costing analysis, for renewable power systems.

Niel has a wealth of experience in project development and utilises detailed analysis skills to structure bankable projects, along with integrated contractual arrangements that satisfy the requirements of the client, the project developers and the funders of the project.

Niel presented at the Sub Saharan Africa Power Summit (SSA Power) held in Cape Town, South Africa, October 2016 on the ‘Structuring and Financing of Power Projects’. His presentation focused on alternatives to traditional project finance, and on how different commercial structures can be paired with different Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) to create bankable projects. He received the Best Presentation award.

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