WCBA Management Committee

The WCBA management committee comprises six to eight members as stipulated in the Constitution and is elected at the Annual General Meeting. All members of the committee serve a two-year term and are eligible for re-election should they be available once their term has lapsed.

Requirements for members to be elected to the committee are specific skills to fulfil the duties of the position and a personal commitment to do so. All members of the committee exercise their functions in an honorary capacity, therefore, no remuneration is granted. At times, travel costs and other compensation may be considered depending on funding availability. The committee meets once a month and members may not miss two consecutive meetings without proper notice.

Among the duties of the committee are: include, but not limited to the following:

  • Carrying out, as far as possible, the resolutions of the General Assembly;
  • Making decisions on all general matters and issues of interest for the local apicultural sector;
  • Fulfilling respective portfolio duties in serving the WCBA.

Chris Nicklin

Forage; Pollination; Media & PR; Recruitment

Chris Nicklin began keeping bees as a schoolboy in Cape Town in the late 1970s. He was a member of the Western Province Beekeepers’ Association, as it was then, and while still at school, undertook his first pollination contract, hiring out a hundred hives to an Elgin apple farmer.  Chris graduated from the University of Cape Town, and has spent much of his professional life working in the media, including a ten-year stint with the BBC in London.  He returned to South Africa with the BBC but was lured to stay on in the country to help set up the television channel, e.tv.   All the while, Chris pursued his passion for beekeeping with an eye on eventually becoming a full-time commercial beekeeper.  He operates his bee business out of two farms – on the mountains in Napier and in Tulbagh.  Chris retains his interests in the media as a director of a Cape Town radio station and a consultant on documentary film productions.  Chris wants to use his media experience to raise greater public awareness about the important work of the WCBA and its member beekeepers.


Herman Brink

Vice Chairperson
Honey; Pollination; Events; Theft & Vandalism; Recruitment

Herman Brink is an apiarist who was born to a fruit-farming family in Ceres in the Western Cape. He completed his bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Management at Stellenbosch University.

In search of broader horizons, he invested in growing various logistical and transport related fields and projects post 2000s, with specialities in perishable products, packaging and cold-chain management.

He believes that a successful business rests on a foundation of honesty and trustworthy connections Secondly, a successful business requires a disciplined workforce and resilient ethos, and thirdly, he maintains and wishes to preserve forage that is essential for bees to thrive.

Whilst employed, Herman worked as a national logistics manager, senior production manager, eventually culminating in the establishment of his ongoing registered company.

His focus has shifted to fulfilling the position of co-owner of a commercial beekeeping company which is centred on pollination services of blueberries, stone fruit and deciduous fruit, as well as seed yielding specific crops around the Western Cape. He also produces honey under the trade names of ‘My Dad’s Honey’ and ‘Bokkeveld Pure Raw Honey’ Pty Ltd.


Danie Vorster

Honey; Pollination; Recruitment

Danie Vorster is a seasoned commercial beekeeper with 15 years of expertise in the field. His journey began in Alberta, Canada, where he worked with a commercial beekeeper, gaining invaluable experience on a large scale. Returning to South Africa, he joined a beekeeping enterprise in the Northern Cape before founding Overberg Honey Company in the Western Cape. Danie’s extensive involvement in commercial pollination spans various crops such as blueberries, apples, pears, plums, and vegetable seed pollination.

Danie’s dedication to the industry is evident through his service on the WCBA committee from 2012 to 2020 and as a board member of SABIO from 2016 to 2020. Danie remains committed to leveraging his background and experience to enhance the beekeeping community.


Cilla van der Merwe

Forage; Urban Beekeeping; Training & Mentoring; Events

Crecilda (Cilla) Van Der Merwe is a seasoned Nature Conservationist, Project Manager, and Beekeeper with nearly twenty years of experience in conservation and environmental management, alongside eight years in beekeeping. With a diverse portfolio, she has contributed to major South African events like RedBull Big Wave, Cape Epic, and the Volvo Oceans Race, integrating sustainable practices. Crecilda’s expertise spans project management, conservation monitoring, waste and water management, environmental education, and urban farming. She excels in safety management for sports events, fire management, and staff supervision. Her dedication extends to crafting comprehensive management plans for sustainability, health, and safety, ensuring a harmonious balance between human activities and nature.


Charles Salmon

Liaison: Western Cape Department of Agriculture; Training and Mentoring; Forage; Pollination; Training & Mentoring; Theft and Vandalism; Urban Beekeeping

Charles Salmon currently works as a Senior Agricultural Advisor for the Western Cape government’s Department of Agriculture, specialising in beekeeping. 

Charles’s journey with bees started when he was a child as his father was also a beekeeper for 21 years. He started his own beekeeping enterprise 27 years ago and is still a part-time beekeeper, having gained excellent knowledge about beekeeping and pollination of fruit and vegetable seed over the years.

As beekeeping is his passion, he furthered his studies in the bee industry, which consisted of a BTech followed by a Masters in Agriculture with an emphasis on honeybee pollination in the production of onion seeds.

He is currently very involved in a variety of aspects of the organised bee industry in the Western Cape, in particular pollination, bee forage, the  development of bee projects, beekeeping training and also representing the Department of Agriculture in the industry.

Pieter de Jager

Pollination; Theft & Vandalism; Events; Recruitment

Pieter de Jager has been a beekeeper for 11 years. He has had a love for nature and farming from a very young age and when he was introduced to his first beehive he knew this was the industry for him.

In 2012, Pieter started his own company named Soetland Bye which focuses on pollination services and honey production.

Pieter believes that hard work, dedication and passion are the key ingredients for a successful and thriving beekeeping business.


Robin Crewe

Scientific Advisor

Prof Robin Crewe is a research fellow of the Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship and a member of the Social Insects Research Group in the Department of Zoology and Entomology at the University of Pretoria. He has worked for many years on chemical communication and social organisation in a variety of social insects. His current research is on the Cape honey bee and beekeeping in the Cape colony in the 19th century.

Robin has been active in beekeeping circles in Gauteng province, having served for  a period on the committee of the Southerns Beekeeping Association including as chair. He was made a Fellow of the Southerns Beekeeping Association of South Africa in recognition for his contribution to honeybee research. He served on the Capensis Working Group set up by the South African National Department of Agriculture.

He is a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa, a fellow of the African Academy of Science, and a fellow of the World Academy of Science. He was the recipient of the Harry Oppenheimer Research Award for 2012 to undertake work on his co-authored book “The Dark Side of the Hive” which was published by Oxford University Press, New York.

He received the Gold Medal of the Academy of Science of South Africa and of the Zoological Society of South Africa. He is an honorary life member of the Entomological Society of southern Africa.


Achmat Kazie

Honey; Training & Mentoring; Urban Beekeeping; Events; Recruitment

Achmat Kazie brings a twenty year finance background in the NGO sector to his passion for beekeeping. Beginning with a single hive in 2021, his quest for pure honey led to the establishment of The Bee Inspired Company. Intrigued by the bees’ industriousness, he quickly expanded to over thirty colonies. His commitment to purity and innovation earned him recognition, with numerous awards at the Africa Regional Apimondia event in Durban in 2023. Achmat’s journey into beekeeping opened doors to the potential of beeswax and propolis. By doing some thorough research, he discovered their myriad benefits and now produces a diverse range of products. He advocates for maximizing the value-added potential of beeswax and propolis, emphasizing their health benefits and untapped versatility.


Gary Petersen

Training & Mentoring; Digital marketing/website; Events; Recruitment

Gary Petersen, Managing Director of Beespoke Africa Beehives, brings nearly 30 years of experience in the manufacturing industry to his role. Graduating from the University of Cape Town in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Politics & Industrial Sociology, he pursued further studies in International Business/Trade/Commerce.

In 1996, Gary established Petersen’s Lifestyle Furniture, specializing in superior quality wood outdoor and luxury indoor furniture. Expanding his reach, he established manufacturing hubs in Mozambique and export markets in Ghana. From 2016-2018, Gary led South African investors in an acquisition deal in Europe, serving as Commercial Director and driving brand growth.

Combining his passion for beekeeping with his expertise, he launched Beespoke Africa Beehives in 2021, providing top-quality hives for commercial beekeepers. With a focus on innovation and efficiency, Gary continues to grow his business, supplying beehives and equipment across South Africa and beyond. An entrepreneurial spirit with a keen analytical mind, Gary enjoys beekeeping, traveling, birdwatching, and sailing in his leisure time.






Owen Williams

Forage; Pollination; Membership; Recruitment

Owen Williams started commercial beekeeping with a different angle in 2005, trading under the business name of Honeychild. He describes his style of beekeeping as “Darwinian by default” as he prioritises the wellbeing of the honeybee (an approach promoted by Professor Tom Seeley.)

His business is divided between pollination hives and honey production hives. To date, his company has trained 189 beekeepers, two of whom have received international honey awards. Owen assists scientists as much as possible with research having a personal passion for observation and data collection. He also runs the Garden Root Beekeeping WhatsApp group which has over a hundred members.

New projects include encouraging the planting of cover crops in orchards with one huge success so far on almonds. He is currently also working with blueberry and macadamia orchard owners.

Among Owen’s accolades are the SABIO award for his contribution to the beekeeping industry in 2017; Running Hope for the Honeybees 2017 from Gift of the Givers; WCBA Beekeeper of Year 2022; and the World Honey Award 2022.

His objectives for the year ahead are to keep improving standards and share knowledge gained.