Independent Directors

Omri van Zyl

BA Law, LLB (Cum Laude), MBA


Omri was appointed Executive Director of Agri SA in December 2015, representing 28 000 commercial farmers in 9 provinces, 27 commodity organisations in various fora and 60 corporate members. He was subsequently appointed as the CEO of Agri SA Enterprises (PTY) Ltd. the commercial arm of Agri SA.  He manages a team that has a strong strategic focus on agriculture development, strategy, operations and deal-making in the industry.

Omri is one of the prominent thought leaders and strategists in South Africa and has advised several clients on strategic interventions in the industry.  Some of his achievements includes being the leader of the Co-operatives division of the World Farmers Organisation, as well as the President of the Audit Board. His executive positions include being a trustee on the Sasol Agriculture Trust, a member of Danroc’s Board of Directors.

Prior to joining Agri SA, Omri was a senior associate with Deloitte Consulting and managed a portfolio of businesses including the Revenue Maximisation Unit in Africa, the Deloitte Africa Agribusiness Unit. He was a member of the Deloitte Global Agribusiness Forum, dealing with multinationals and strategic interventions of these companies. In his career he did several strategies, due diligences and mergers and acquisitions in the agriculture sector. In Deloitte’s Forensic Unit he was part of several commercial, fraud and corruption investigations where he led a team of forensic experts in the pursuit of justice. As an attorney, Omri specialised in commercial law and litigation.

In November 2016, he is named continental winner by CEO Global in their “Leading African Recognition Programme” in the category for agriculture.

Dr. Laurentia Truter

BA LLB (Cum Laude), LLM, LLD


Dr. Laurentia Truter (BA LLB (cum laude), LLM, LLD) is an admitted Advocate of the High Court (non practising) and the owner of her own professional consulting practice specialising in employment law, labour relations, employment equity, disability equity and diversity.  She believes in preventative lawyering by doing things right the first time.  She assists her clients, local and international, to translate business strategy into fair employee relations practices. Her extensive client portfolio reflects a wide array of skills and technical knowledge application. She drafts employment contracts and HR policies, conducts employment due diligences, advices on transfers of going concerns, restructurings, and dismissal procedures. She specialises in creating disability confident and competent organisations. Her doctoral thesis was Disability, Discrimination and Equal Opportunities – A Comparative Legal Study. She has a special interest in equal pay and remuneration. She is passionate about people and inclusive workplaces.

She regularly acts as speaker at seminars and in-house workshops and contributes to the Transformation Magazine (TFM). She is a founding member of a section 21 company supporting accessible material for persons with print disabilities and is also the director of a start-up IT company. Laurentia was previously employed as senior manager in the PricewaterhouseCoopers Employment Law practice within the Human Resource Services division.

Claus B. Lippert

BSc (Agric)


Claus qualified for his BSc (Agric) at the University of Pretoria in 1984 where after he 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 served in various capacities until he was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Hans Merensky Holdings Group in 2011. Under his leadership, HMH grew turnover and profitability by a compounded rate of 30% per annum over 8 successive years. Since his appointment, Westfalia Fruit expanded its leadership globally in subtropical fruit being integrated from research, nurseries, farms, packing, processing, distribution, and marketing with 51 subsidiaries in 15 countries. 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.

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. Claus specializes in agricultural finance & private equity, structured finance, agricultural production, agricultural processing and value adding, global fruit distribution & marketing, forestry and timber management, turnaround management, global acquisitions, international equity raising and corporate governance.