Company profile

The directors of TopFruit all share the common bond of a love for the land, and the business of farming. Their years of experience, personal understanding of the environment and conditions, and the respect they have earned within the industry come together in the services and products available to all clients of TopFruit.


Roy Jeffery - Chairman
Roy Jeffery - Chairman
Qualification:
B.Sc (majoring in horticulture) Stellenbosch University, 1969

Roy’s farming interests include his family farm and packing facility which he has managed for over 40 years, the successful Bokkeveld Nursery and the formation of TopFruit in 1983, in partnership with Richard Hill and Jim Button. The Bokkeveld Nursery interests include fruit growing and packing facilities in Stellenbosch currently supplying customers in SA as well as markets in UK, Europe and USA.

Gys du Toit
Gys du Toit
Qualification:
B.Agric, Stellenbosch University,1973

After his studies Gys joined the family business, Dutoit Group, a leading South African producer and distributor of fruit and vegetables covering 4000 hectares in Ceres. He serves on numerous boards of directors and industry organizations, sharing his passion for the fruit industry and innovative thinking, especially with the new and improved cultivars. He joined TopFuit’s board of directors in June 2007

Robert Graaff
Robert Graaff
Qualification:
Honours degree in Economics, University of Stellenbosch

Robert, a director of Graaff Fruit, has an honours degree in Economics from the University of Stellenbosch and was the Toyota/Agri SA Young Farmer of the year for 2007. Based in Ceres, Graaff Fruit is a 3rd generation family business. Graaff Fruit is known for their top quality standards and produces some of the best deciduous fruit, including peaches, nectarines, apricots, cherries, plums, apples and pears, in South Africa. Graaff Fruit aims to grow the best quality fruit in harmony with nature.

Rob Meihuizen
Rob Meihuizen
Qualification:
BSc Chemical Engineering (UCT) 1988

After completing his military service Rob worked as process Engineer and export administrator for SA Nylon Spinners (SANS). Thereafter he set up and managed Coastal Liquor Distributors, Rostem International and Cape Natural Tea Products (Pty) Ltd as part of the Ashwood Group of companies. Today Rob holds investments in agriculture, including fruit growing, wine making and TopFruit. Rob has been the Managing Director of TopFruit since 2000.

Graeme Comrie
Graeme Comrie
Qualification:
BSc (Chemistry and Physics), University of Natal ; Post Graduate Business Diplomas, University of the Witwatersrand.

After graduation and a short 5 year career in the KwaZulu-Natal sugar industry, Graeme joined the Soft-drink Division of the South African Breweries where he filled various positions in the organisation over a 30 year period. In 2003 he retired from the position of Technical Director of Amalgamated Beverage Industries (ABI), a JSE listed public Company . During the period at ABI he filled various positions throughout the organisation as Managing Director and Director of various subsidiaries including a time as the Africa representative on the Coca-Cola Global Technical Council. On leaving the corporate arena Graeme continued to consult to the beverage industry players such as SAB in Central America and the Phillipines, Cyril Ramaphosa’s Shanduka Beverages. He has also consulted to various smaller entrepreneurial entities such as Okhule Media and Mark Shuttleworth’s HBD where he supported various venture capital “start-ups”. Graeme has been consulting to TopFruit for three years and was appointed as a non-Executive Director to the main board early in 2018. Apart from his business interests Graeme has served on the Boards of several non-profit Educational (SAEP), Environmental (KDBA) and Animal Protection (SPCA) Trusts and Organisations.

Etienne Duvenage
Etienne Duvenage
Qualification:
CA(SA), MBA University of Stellenbosch Business School

Etienne completed his articles at PwC in Paarl with a broad exposure to the agriculture sector. Thereafter transferring to PwC Cayman Islands. He joined TopFruit in 2012.

Clause B. Lippert
Clause B. Lippert
Qualification:
BSc Agric, University of Pretoria

Claus qualified for his BSc (Agric) at the University of Pretoria in 1984 and managed a large commercial crop farming unit for 5 years. He then spent 12 years in project finance, investment banking and private equity at the IDC and thereafter BoE Merchant Bank. During this period, he completed his MBL studies for which he qualified for in 1996. In 2001, he joined Hans Merensky Holdings and acted as Managing Director of Westfalia Fruit Limited and its subsidiaries in agriculture, fruit processing and marketing. Westfalia Fruit was grown from a local farming entity in South Africa to a global leader in avocados (and other subtropical fruit) with 51 subsidiaries in 15 countries. In July 2009, he was appointed as the Managing Director of Merensky Timber Limited. Merensky Timber had to be turned around after the market crisis of 2008, requiring the closure of 2 mills and retrenchment of 1600 staff members. Merensky Timber became self-sufficient in terms of log supply from the best forests in South Africa in terms of rotation age and quality of lumber. In November 2011 he was appointed as CEO for Hans Merensky Holdings. Since his appointment, Westfalia Fruit expanded its leadership globally in subtropical fruit being integrated from research, nurseries, farms, packing, processing, distribution and marketing. Merensky Timber is the leader in Eucalyptus lumber in Africa, also being fully integrated from breeding, nurseries, forestry, processing to marketing. The export of logs was developed with premium logs into Asian markets. Under his leadership, HMH grew turnover and profitability by a compounded rate of 30% per annum over 8 successive years. In December 2019 he stepped down after assisting the HMH Group to raise significant capital and beginning the process of unbundling the respective fruit and timber businesses. He presently serves on various boards of agriculture-based organisations as independent non-executive director and has private interests in avocado, citrus and cattle farming.