Tracey Cohen - CDF Board of Directors


Dr Tracy Cohen is a Director at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr (CDH) in the Convergence and New Media practice. Before joining CDH in March 2016, Dr. Cohen was Chief of Corporate Services at Neotel Proprietary Limited where she was responsible for legal and contracts, regulatory affairs, corporate social investment, B‐BBEE and Corporate Communications. She joined the company in 2008 as Executive Head of Regulation.  Prior to this she served a term as a Councillor for the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) from 2004 to 2008. Between 2009-2016, Dr Cohen was the non-executive chairperson of the South African National Nuclear Regulator.

Dr Cohen has previously held teaching posts at Wits University in Johannesburg and research posts at Columbia University in New York City; the University of Toronto and the London School of Economics. She has worked as a regulatory consultant for domestic and international organisations including the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO). She currently sits on the Policy Advisory Committee for the Centre for Risk and Regulation (CARR) at the London School of Economics.

Nirvesh Sooful - CDF Board of Directors

Deputy Chairperson

Nirvesh Sooful has a BSc with majors in Computer Science and Mathematics, a BCom (Hons) in Information Systems and an MBA from the UCT Graduate School of Business. He is a member of several professional bodies.  Nirvesh is the founder and CEO of African Ideas, a strategic consultancy focused on helping governments to accelerate the benefits of ICT enabled change through the transformation of the public sector and the wider economy.

Nirvesh is known as being a visionary and a dynamic leader with extensive experience at executive and strategic management level. His more than 25 years of work experience, largely related to ICT enabled business transformation, spans a diverse set of large, complex organisations. In addition he has an excellent track record of successfully delivering large, complex projects spanning multiple departments and operational units, ensuring that the business benefit is achieved – essentially turning vision and strategy into reality.

Nirvesh is well regarded as a thought leader within the ICT industry in South Africa and internationally. He has made presentations to Parliamentary Portfolio Committees, various Executive Committees and Maycos. He has made policy inputs to several white papers and to legislation as well as contributing to numerous research initiatives. His projects have won several local and international awards which include Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Access to Learning Award (Berlin), 21st-Century Achievement Award from the Computerworld Honours Programme (Washington DC), African ICT Achievers Award, Computer Society IT Personality of the Year, CIO of the year and Western Cape Premier’s Provincial Honours Award.

Emma Kaye - CDF Board of Directors

Executive Director

Emma Kaye has been named among the top 10 women in Science & Technology in Africa and has twice been voted as one of the top 50 women, globally, in mobile entertainment. She was selected as one of South Africa’s top business women and one of the 20 most powerful women in technology in Africa for 2013. Emma has been judging the International Digital Emmy Awards for the last four years.  She is a board member for Wiki in Africa.

Throughout Emma’s career and achievements as an entrepreneur the common thread has been one of building and managing successful businesses that deliver social impact.

Emma co-founded Triggerfish Animation, a South African animation company whose work has won awards around the globe. Triggerfish gave rise to the birth of Africa as a brand within animation.

Emma was appointed as CEO of tech company Breakdesign, leading the company into the global mobile space to become one of the top five developers for Nokia; developing mobile games and applications.

Emma founded and launched Bozza, an online marketplace for Africa’s musicians and artists, where artists can sell their work directly to the public and create a platform for their work.

Emma has a BA (Hons) in Business, Marketing and Computer Programming at Oxford Brookes University, England.

Suraya Hamdulay - CDF Board of Directors


Suraya is currently Head of Sustainability for Vodacom Group. Suraya joined Vodacom in November 2010 after completing a 2 year contract with the Resolve Group, a nationally based, strategic public and private sector consultancy.

In the preceding 10 years, Suraya worked in the Public Sector in various capacities at management level focusing on strategic management; operational planning; monitoring, evaluation; organisational performance management; International relations co-operation and stakeholder management; project and policy management.

Suraya has subject matter expertise in the following areas: telecommunications, public administration; economic development; suite of environmental legislation, administrative and constitutional law, labour law, local government, sustainable development, energy and renewable energy solutions, compliance and enforcement, land use management planning, spatial planning, law reform, understanding the state of the national; provincial and local economy, partnership identification and development locally; regionally and internationally, establishment and maintenance of key networks in the public and private sector.

Positions held:

  • Director: Ministry of Environment, Planning and Economic Development
  • Deputy Director: Office of the Deputy Director General- Environmental Affairs and Development Planning
  • Research Associate: Labour Court of South Africa Education:

Suraya obtained Bachelor of Social Science (Majors: Political Science and Philosophy) in 1994 from the University of Cape Town;

Suraya obtained Bachelor of Laws in 1998 from the University of Cape Town.

Charmaine Houvet - CDF Board of Directors


Charmaine Houvet’s love and passion for the ICT industry comes from over 24 years’ telecommunications experience working with private and public sector across Africa.

She joined Cisco in March 2016 with several years’ experience as a Senior Executive in diverse and transformative roles with high profile leading ICT companies.

Charmaine holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree.

She is passionate about female and community development and serves on various boards and trusts whose objectives are aligned to her values. Charmaine is a Trustee of the Cisco Charitable Trust Board which is headquartered in San Jose as well as a Board member of the Cisco Systems & Cisco Technology and Services in country. She serves as a Chairperson of the South African Women in ICT Forum board, is a board member of South African Communications Forum (SACF) and serves as a trustee on other non ICT Boards. Charmaine is a member of the invitation only South African Chapter of the International Women’s Forum of South Africa. She serves on the advisory board of Girlcodeza.

Charmaine is passionate about transformation and the advancement of women in the sector and is the recipient of a number of business awards in recognition of her vision, leadership and achievements in the ICT sector. In November 2016, she was named South Africa’s Top Woman in ICT and in August 2017 Charmaine was awarded the MTN Ministerial Recognition Award for her outstanding contribution towards advancing the ICT industry in South Africa. CNBC Africa featured Charmaine as a disruptor in ICT in August 2017.

Shaun Pather - CDF Board of Directors


Shaun Pather, holds a Doctorate in Information Technology and is an Associate Professor (Informatics) at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, where he is the Director of Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships for Research and Technology Innovation.    In this role he provides oversight to key strategic projects which underpin and advance the university’s long term research and innovation strategy.

He is also active from both research and policy perspectives with government, industry and international agencies. He has served on the board of the Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (2009-2011) and was a ministerial appointee to the South African ICT Policy Review Panel (2012-2015) where he was the Chairperson of the ICT Industry Growth Committee.

Shaun is involved several local, African and inter-continental partnerships and research projects focused on advancing the Information Society in developing countries.  He has authored several refereed journal articles, conference papers, book chapters, a book on ICT risks and technical reports in his field.

Shaun also serves on several international conference committees, is the editor of the Electronic Journal of Information Systems Evaluation, and serves as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Community Informatics.  He is also the recipient of the Fulbright Visiting Scholar award (2009-2010, University of Washington).

Etienne Stroebel - CDF Board of Directors


Etienne has over 20 years’ experience in the ICT sector ranging from business development, strategy formulation and operational and delivery into the enterprise sector.

Completed qualifications include National Diploma in Human Resource Management, BTech in Business Information Systems and finally a Master’s degree in Business Leadership from UNISA School of Business Leadership.

The past 12 years he has been intimately involved in outsourcing and multi sourcing for the enterprise sector ranging from deal architecture, strategy and consulting to managing large outsourcing deals from transition, through transformation and full end-to-end management of outsourcing teams.

Etienne is currently employed by Neotel as General Manager for Advanced Solution Delivery and Director and serving board member of the Cape Digital Foundation.

Wesley Lynch - CDF Board of Directors


Wesley Lynch is a serial technology entrepreneur. He is the founder of Realm digital, a leading top South African e-business strategy and technology partner, specialising in Web, Social and Mobile platforms. Wesley is the CEO and founder of global eBook aggregator, Snapplify. The company has won multiple global awards and startup challenges for its innovation in technology and works with leading publishers such as Penguin Random House, Macmillan, Pearson, Oxford and Cambridge. In keeping with his collaborative and entrepreneurial spirit, Wesley co-founded Angel Hub, the aim of which is to provide mentorship and advisory services to the above two mentioned groups of businesses. Wesley sits on the board of leading South African retails brands as a digital advisory.

Wesley is continuously evolve the industry as we know it. In 2011 Wesley was named as one of the “38 emerging South African tech entrepreneurs to watch” in the Old Mutual Entrepreneurs guide as well as Top 10 IT Personality from the Computer Society of South Africa. In 2013 he was named a finalist in IT Web’s Top 10 IT Personality of the year awards. He has presented at worldwide events including London Book Fair, Frankfurt Book Fair and Book Expo America.