Walvis Bay native becomes first woman MD to lead Etosha Fishing Corporation
Etosha Fishing confirmed this week that its former Financial Director, Nezette Beukes, has assumed the position of Managing Director from the beginning of January 2020. She has acted in this capacity for a while since the former Managing Director, Pieter Greeff, left the company in December 2018.
“Finance is my heart beat and acting in the position of Managing Director really took me out of my comfort zone,” Beukes said. From the outset she was faced with severe challenges as Etosha Fishing has been under pressure to remain operational despite a three-year moratorium on pilchard catches in 2017.
As a pilchard quota holder, the mainstay of Etosha Fishing’s business is the catching and canning of pilchards. The company has devised several business strategies to ensure its cannery remains operational, including the importation of frozen pilchards for local value addition. The company also started canning its own horse mackerel product under the Efuta brand. The success of Efuta has helped Etosha survive the lull. It is also the product Beukes believes that will assure their future.
Beukes is a Walvis Bay native, having attended De Duine High School and then worked for various local companies in administrative or financial positions. At the same time, she studied for her B Comm degree through UNISA.
“I thrive on challenges. Having a family and working full time while completing my degree was both a challenge and a great accomplishment,” Beukes said.
Etosha Fishing is not the first major fishing company to appoint a female Managing Director, – that ticket belongs to Erongo Marine Enterprises with the appointment of Dr Martha Uumati, but Etosha Fishing is certainly one of the oldest Walvis Bay companies to be lead by a woman. Nearly half of the management team at the company is female, while the majority of the workforce comprises women.
“To be recognised for our consistent delivery of quality products in this very competitive environment is not a matter of how many males and females you have employed. We all work together as a team. It should however serve as a motivation to women hoping to enter this sector that they can also excel in a traditionally male dominated world,” Beukes observed.
Over the years Etosha Fishing has entrenched its position as an award-winning manufacturer that delivers products of exceptional quality. The company subscribes to the vision “excellence in food processing” and operates under HACCP compliance and EU Accreditation. It is the proud Namibian home of the iconic Lucky Star canned pilchard brand and a pioneer in the canning of horse mackerel. Due to the species’ unique scoot bone, it is not processed properly through conventional pelagic equipment and much modification of production lines had to be done before it could be utilised in a higher commercial bracket. In this process, Etosha Fishing played a leading role.