Lesaka

Lesaka Board of Directors

Board of Directors
Ali Mazanderani
Kuben Pillay
Naeem E. Kola
Lincoln C. Mali
Steven J. Heilbron
 Antony C. Ball
Nonkululeko N. Gobodo
Javed Hamid
Ekta Singh-Bushell
Monde Nkosi
Venessa Naidoo
Christopher G.B. Meyer
Ali Mazanderani: Lesaka Executive Chairman since 2024
Independent non-executive director since 2020

Qualifications: MSc (Economics) (University of Oxford); MSc (Economic History) (London School of Economics and Political Science); MBA (INSEAD); Master Business Law (University of St. Gallen); BCom (Hons) (Economics) (University of Pretoria).

Expertise: International experience in payments, technology, strategy, and private equity.

Ali is a financial technology entrepreneur and investor, with experience in emerging markets fintech. He is the co-founder and chairman of Teya, a pan-European fintech. He is a non-executive director on the board of Thunes (Singapore based private fintech) and was on the board of several leading payments companies globally including StoneCo (Nasdaq: STNE) in Brazil and Network International Holdings Plc. He was a partner at Actis, a London based emerging market private equity firm, where he led multiple landmark fintech investments globally. Prior to his career at Actis, Ali advised private equity and corporate clients for OC&C Strategy Consultants in London and served as lead strategy consultant for First National Bank based in Johannesburg.
Kuben Pillay: Lead Independent Director
Independent non-executive director since 2020

Qualifications: BA LLB (University of the Witwatersrand); MCJ (Howard University).

Expertise: Legal and corporate governance; media and consumer affairs; broad experience as a director of several publicly-traded companies covering a broad range of industries.


Kuben serves on South African public and private corporate boards including as chairman of Sabvest Limited (JSE: SBV), lead independent director of OUTsurance and as the independent non-executive director of Transaction Capital Limited (JSE: TCP). He served as the group CEO of the Primedia Group from 2009 to 2014 and thereafter as its non-executive chairman from 2014 to 2016. Mr. Pillay was a managing financial partner at public interest law firm Cheadle Thompson & Haysom before joining Mineworkers Investment Company (Pty) Ltd in 1996 as a founding executive director, and later serving as its non-executive chairman. Mr. Pillay most recently served as the independent non-executive chairman of Cell C Limited from August 2017 to October 2019.
Naeem E. Kola: Group Chief Financial Officer
Executive director since 2022

Qualifications: CA(SA); BAcc Honours (University of the Witwatersrand), CIMA.
Expertise: Financial and accounting expertise; corporate transactions and capital markets.


Naeem was appointed as our Group Chief Financial Officer on March 1, 2022. He has held progressively senior finance roles across the Middle East and Africa, based from Dubai, most notably as Chief Financial Officer of Emerging Markets Payments Group (EMP), a high-growth fintech business that grew materially and successfully concluded and integrated five acquisitions during Naeem's six-year tenure as Chief Financial Officer. Prior to this, Naeem was Senior Vice President for Investments, Strategy and Business Planning at EMP. Since the acquisition of EMP by Network International in 2017, Naeem was an Operations Director and Strategic Advisor to the emerging market private equity firm Actis, where he again focused on fintech businesses.
Lincoln C. Mali: Chief Executive Officer: Lesaka Southern Africa
Qualifications: MBA (Henley Management College); LLB (Rhodes University); BA (Law and Politics) (Rhodes University).

Expertise: Strong relationships and network with key industry players in South Africa; motivational leadership style.


Lincoln was appointed as our Chief Executive Officer: Southern Africa on May 1, 2021. He is a financial services executive with over 25 years in the industry. Until April 2021, he was the Head of Group Card and Payments at Standard Bank Group, having served in many different roles within that organisation since 2001. Lincoln chaired the board of directors of Diners Club South Africa until April 2021 and was a member of the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa Business Council for Visa. Besides his other qualifications, he has attended an Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School and holds various diplomas in banking and management.
Steven J. Heilbron: Chief Executive Officer: Connect Group
Qualifications: CA(SA); BCom
Expertise: Strong leadership skills; banking, payments, and payment technologies


Steven has been the Chief Executive Officer of the Connect Group since 2013 and joined us following the acquisition of Connect in the same capacity. He has two decades of financial services experience, having spent 19 years working for Investec in South Africa and the UK, where he served as Global Head of Private Banking and Joint Chief Executive Officer of Investec Bank plc, He led a private consortium that acquired Cash Connect Management Solutions (Pty) Ltd in 2013. Steven has presided over significant organic growth in the rebranded Connect Group, as well as spearheading the successful acquisition and integration of Kazang and EFT pos acquired from the Paycorp Group in February 2020. He is a member of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants.
Antony C. Ball: Independent non-executive director since 2020
Qualifications: BCom (Hons) (University of Cape Town); MPhil (Management Studies) (University of Oxford) where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar; CA(SA)

Expertise: Private equity; public markets; finance, accounting and corporate governance; broad experience as an officer and director of several publicly traded companies covering a broad range of industries.


Antony is co-founder and chairman of Value Capital Partners (Pty) Ltd, a South Africa-based investment firm. Prior to this, he co-founded Brait PLC in 1990, a leading South African private equity firm regarded as a pioneer of private equity in the region. Antony held various leadership positions at Brait, including Deputy Chairman and CEO, between 1998 and 2011 after which he became a non-executive director until 2013. Antony led Brait's investment in Net1 in 2004.

Value Capital Partners (Pty) Ltd owns approximately 25% of the issued share capital of Lesaka. Lesaka’s Board has determined that Antony is “independent” as defined under Nasdaq Rule 5605(a)(2), as that term relates to membership on the Board and the various Board committees other than the Audit Committee.
Nonkululeko N. Gobodo: Independent non-executive director since 2021
Qualifications: BCom (University of Transkei); BAcc (University of South Africa); CA(SA)

Expertise: Finance and audit; knowledge of the South African marketplace; South African-centric perspective.


Nonkululeko was the first black female to qualify as a chartered accountant in South Africa. She brings a wealth of accounting and auditing experience from over 35 years of executive experience. She also has extensive experience as a non-executive director, having served on many boards including JSE-listed Clicks Group Limited, PPC Ltd and Shoprite Holdings Ltd, as well as Mercedes-Benz South Africa Limited, Imperial Logistics Limited, South African Maritime Safety Authority, and the South African Revenue Service Audit Committee. Nonkululeko is a pioneer in her field, having established her own successful accounting and audit firm during the apartheid era. The firm grew to become SizweNtsalubaGobodo (SNG), the largest black accounting firm in South Africa and its fifth largest. In 2018, SNG acquired the Grant Thornton South Africa license. In 2016, Nonkululeko founded Nonkululeko Leadership Consulting, a boutique, black-owned and managed leadership consulting firm based in Sandton and served as its CEO for five years. In May 2021, she started Awakened Global, a movement that calls for Africans and women to awaken to their authentic power.
Javed Hamid: Independent non-executive director since 2020
Qualifications: MBA (Harvard Business School); MA (University of Cambridge); BA (Economics) (University of Cambridge); BA (Economics, Mathematics and Statistics) (University of Punjab).

Expertise: Substantial international experience; risk and financial expertise; experience managing international investments; skills in corporate governance issues.


Javed is currently a senior advisor to the International Executive Service Corps and has held various positions with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – a member of the World Bank Group and a major shareholder in Net1 (now Lesaka) – from 1979 to 2006. He was on the Management Committee of the IFC and served as Regional Director for East Asia and Pacific. He has served as a member on the board of listed banks in Pakistan and Serbia. He currently chairs the board of Small Enterprise Assistance Funds (USA) and is on the board of Salem University (USA) and Asia Research Capital Management (Hong Kong). He has extensive international banking, investment and project finance experience and a strong background in investing in emerging markets, structuring investments, managing international investment portfolios, and providing technical assistance to companies in developing countries. He has a keen interest in sustainable development and corporate governance issues.
Ekta Singh-Bushell: Independent non-executive director since 2018
Qualifications: MSc (Electrical Engineering & Computer Science) (University of California, Berkeley); BSc (Engineering) (University of Poona).

Expertise: Finance, audit, technology, and cybersecurity; international experience.


Ekta serves on the corporate boards of public and private global technology companies. She is a member of the board and chair of the nominating and governance committee, and technology committee for Huron Consulting Group (NASDAQ: HURN), a global consulting company offering services to healthcare, higher education, life sciences and commercial industries; ChargePoint, Inc. (NYSE: CHPT), a leading EV charging as a service company, where she is a member of the audit committee; TTEC, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTEC), a leading global customer experience technology and services company focusing on the design, implementation and delivery of transformative customer experience for various brands, where she is a member of the audit committee, and chair of the technology and security committee. She formerly served on the boards of Datatec Limited (JSE: DTC), an international ICT solutions and services group, as lead independent director, and for Designer Brands Inc. (NYSE: DBI) as a member of the audit, remuneration and nomination committees. From 2016 to 2017, Ekta served as deputy to the first vice president, chief operating officer executive office, at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Prior to 2016, Ekta worked at Ernst & Young, serving in various leadership roles including global IT Effectiveness Leader, USA innovation & digital strategy leader and chief information Security Officer. She is a member of the board of Women's Health Access Matters, a non-profit that supports increased awareness in women's health research and served in various leadership roles for the Asian American Federation between 2004 and 2014. Ekta is a Certified Public Accountant and holds advanced international certifications in governance, information systems security, audit and control.
Monde Nkosi: Independent non-executive director since 2020
Qualifications: MA (Education) (Stanford Graduate School of Education); MBA (Stanford Graduate School of Business); BBusSc (University of Cape Town).

Expertise: Corporate strategy; corporate finance; capital allocation.


Monde is an investor with experience in private and public equities in South Africa and the USA. He is an executive director of Value Capital Partners (Pty) Ltd and a non-executive director of several listed businesses, including ADvTECH Group Ltd and Grand Parade Investments Limited. He was previously on the investment team of FFL Partners, a San Francisco-based private equity firm managing more than USD2 billion. Prior to that, Monde was a management consultant at Bain & Company focused on financial services and telecommunications clients across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Value Capital Partners (Pty) Ltd owns approximately 25% of the issued share capital of Lesaka. Lesaka’s Board has determined that Monde is “independent” as defined under Nasdaq Rule 5605(a)(2), as that term relates to membership on the Board and the various Board committees other than the Audit Committee.
Venessa Naidoo: Independent non-executive director since 2023
Qualifications : Chartered Accountant (South Africa); Senior Executive Programme (Harvard Business School and University of the Witwatersrand)

Expertise : Finance, technology, risk and compliance, business development, mergers and acquisitions, governance


Venessa is an entrepreneur and a seasoned financial executive with proven leadership skills across the African continent. She is an experienced non-executive director currently serving on the boards of OUTsurance, a leading insurance company, and RFG Holdings Limited, a leading consumer brand company. Venessa has extensive experience managing international growth initiatives, launching new technologies, operating in emerging market economies and leading in the environmental, social and governance arena. She has served as Chief Financial Officer for listed and private companies in Africa during her career.
Christopher G.B. Meyer: Non-Executive Director since March 2024
Executive Director 2021 to February 2024

Qualifications: MSc (Finance) (London Business School); Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting (University of Cape Town).

Expertise: Corporate transactions; strong leadership skills.


Chris was appointed as our Group Chief Executive Officer on July 1, 2021. Prior to joining us, he was the Head of Corporate & Investment Banking and Joint Managing Director at Investec Bank Plc, a London Stock Exchange-listed specialist bank and wealth manager, having served in many different roles within the Investec Group since 2001. Chris was also an executive director for various international and regional subsidiaries of Investec Bank plc. He is a member of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants.
Lesaka Executive Management Team
Ali Mazanderani
Lincoln C. Mali
Steven J. Heilbron
Naeem E. Kola
Martin Wright
Basie Kok
Denzel Landie
Ali Mazanderani: Lesaka Executive Chairman since 2024
Independent non-executive director since 2020

Qualifications: MSc (Economics) (University of Oxford); MSc (Economic History) (London School of Economics and Political Science); MBA (INSEAD); Master Business Law (University of St. Gallen); BCom (Hons) (Economics) (University of Pretoria).

Expertise: International experience in payments, technology, strategy, and private equity.

Ali is a financial technology entrepreneur and investor, with experience in emerging markets fintech. He is the co-founder and chairman of Teya, a pan-European fintech. He is a non-executive director on the board of Thunes (Singapore based private fintech) and was on the board of several leading payments companies globally including StoneCo (Nasdaq: STNE) in Brazil and Network International Holdings Plc. He was a partner at Actis, a London based emerging market private equity firm, where he led multiple landmark fintech investments globally. Prior to his career at Actis, Ali advised private equity and corporate clients for OC&C Strategy Consultants in London and served as lead strategy consultant for First National Bank based in Johannesburg.
Lincoln C. Mali: Chief Executive Officer: Southern Africa
Executive director since 2021

Qualifications: MBA (Henley Management College); LLB (Rhodes University); BA (Law and Politics) (Rhodes University).

Expertise: Strong relationships and network with key industry players in South Africa; motivational leadership style.


Lincoln was appointed as our Chief Executive Officer: Southern Africa on May 1, 2021. He is a financial services executive with over 25 years in the industry. Until April 2021, he was the Head of Group Card and Payments at Standard Bank Group, having served in many different roles within that organisation since 2001. Lincoln chaired the board of directors of Diners Club South Africa until April 2021 and was a member of the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa Business Council for Visa. Besides his other qualifications, he has attended an Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School and holds various diplomas in banking and management.
Steven J. Heilbron: Chief Executive Officer: Connect Group
Executive director since 2022

Qualifications: CA(SA); BCom

Expertise: Strong leadership skills; banking, payments and payment technologies.


Steven has been the Chief Executive Officer of the Connect Group since 2013 and joined us following the acquisition of Connect in the same capacity. He has two decades of financial services experience, having spent 19 years working for Investec in South Africa and the UK, where he served as Global Head of Private Banking and Joint Chief Executive Officer of Investec Bank plc, He led a private consortium that acquired Cash Connect Management Solutions (Pty) Ltd in 2013. Steven has presided over significant organic growth in the rebranded Connect Group, as well as spearheading the successful acquisition and integration of Kazang and EFTpos acquired from the Paycorp Group in February 2020. He is a member of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants.
Naeem E. Kola: Chief Financial Officer
Qualifications: CA(SA); BAccSc (University of the Witwatersrand).

Expertise: Finance Reporting and Operations, Fintech, Mergers and Acquisitions, Strategy, Investor Management, IPO, Leadership

Naeem has held progressively senior finance roles across the Middle East and Africa, based in Dubai, most notably as Group Chief Financial Officer of Emerging Markets Payments Group (EMP), a high-growth fintech business that grew materially and successfully concluded and integrated five acquisitions during Naeem's six-year tenure as Chief Financial Officer. Prior to this, Naeem was Senior Vice President for Finance, Investments, Strategy and Business Planning at Network International, a leading payment technology company in the Middle East. Since the acquisition of EMP by Network International in 2017, Naeem was an Operations Director and Strategic Advisor to the emerging market private equity firm Actis, where he again focused on fintech business investments and value creation initiatives.
Martin Wright: Chief Executive Officer: Kazang | Head of VAS and Card Division, Lesaka
Expertise: IT, Fintech, high growth business management, business turnarounds.


Martin began his IT career in the early 1980s, working for large blue-chip companies such as Old Mutual and Barclays Bank. With experience in both Europe and the US, he co-founded Emerald Solutions, which specialised in developing large-scale internet applications for companies such as Nike, Intel and AT&T. As the CEO at Emerald, Martin raised approximately $40 million in venture capital funding.

When he returned to South Africa in 2001, Martin was involved in a number of technology businesses before becoming CEO of Psitek, the founding company of Kazang Connect. Martin is the CEO of Kazang Connect which was acquired by Cash Connect Management Solutions (Pty) Ltd in 2020. Martin currently leads Lesaka’s VAS and Card Division, including Kazang, KazangPay, EasyPay, Card Connect and Nuets.
Basie Kok: Group Chief Technology Officer: Lesaka
Qualifications: BSc. Mathematical Sciences & MSc. Applied Mathematics (Cum Laude), Stellenbosch University

Expertise: Banking, Fintech, Business Intelligence, Software Engineering, Web Services, Agile Methodologies


Basie is a Technologist who believed that monetizing "problem solving" in the real world seemed impossible in a traditional consulting or academic arena, and as a result, co-founded the Mobile Payments Fintech called wiGroup (now YOYO). He started with wiGroup whilst studying, which was later acquired by fintech conglomerate SALT in 2019, where Basie ran a team within SALT for 2 years helping to change the way SMB's in Europe ran their businesses.

Thereafter Basie joined Net1 Technologies (now Lesaka), seeking to serve the unserved in the Merchant and Consumer Fintech space in Southern Africa.
Denzel Landie: Group Chief Risk Officer, Lesaka
Qualifications: B.Com Economics and Finance, University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, B.Com Honours, University of South Africa, Master’s in Commerce (Economics), University of Johannesburg.

Expertise: Credit Risk, Risk Management, Acquisitions, Collections and Impairments, Banking, Fintech


Denzel’s expertise spans various sectors including Financial Services (Banking), Telecommunications, Retail (Clothing & Furniture), Commercial and Insurance industries as well as the Public Sector. Prior to joining Lesaka in 2022, Denzel served as Head of Credit Risk at Tyme Bank and Director of Credit and Risk Consulting at TransUnion and has held senior Risk Management positions at a number of SA’s major banks.
Denzel’s expertise includes Credit Risk (Acquisitions, Account Management, Collections and Impairments) and risk management (Operational Risk, Liquidity Risk, Treasury & Regulatory Reporting (ICAAP & Basel Pillar 3), Compliance (AML & Transaction Monitoring) and Fraud).