Since its launch on September 10, 2019, the South African Chamber of Commerce Singapore has been instrumental in fostering trade, investment, and finance between Southeast Asia and South Africa. 

By bridging critical connections between these regions, SACCS plays a significant role in enhancing bilateral relations and economic cooperation. 

As a valued member of Diplomatic Network (Asia), SACCS continues to expand regional networks and support businesses in both countries. 

In this exclusive interview for DNA, we sit down with Keridyn Heatlie, the executive director of the South African Chamber of Commerce Singapore. 

Heatlie delves into the pivotal role of SACCS in enhancing relations between two continents, its community engagement initiatives and its future plans. 

Fostering trade, investment, and finance 

How does the South African Chamber of Commerce Singapore foster trade, investment, and finance between Southeast Asia and South Africa? 

The primary role of the South African Chamber of Commerce Singapore, SACCS, is to foster trade, investment, and finance between Southeast Asia and South Africa. Our mission is to bridge the connections between governments, businesses, and individuals, serving as a conduit for business growth in both Singapore and South Africa. 

We support not only South African businesses in Singapore but also any enterprises seeking to expand in Singapore and/or South Africa. Our strength lies in our network, through which we facilitate valuable connections and enhance brand awareness for businesses. 

Community engagement 

How does the SACCS engage with and support the South African community in Singapore? 

The SACCS engages with the community in Singapore by organizing relevant events and networking sessions, and by supporting the South Africans in Singapore group. We host a monthly casual after-work drinks event and promote South African braais, or barbecues. Our events include online webinars on pertinent topics, and opportunities for our members to promote their brands, expand their networks, and grow their clientele. We provide a platform for members to showcase their products or services. 

Additionally, the SA Chamber facilitates trade missions between South Africa and Singapore, hosting events in both regions for our members. These trade missions offer members the opportunity to speak and network at events focused on promoting investment and collaboration with South Africa. 

Valuable connections and partnerships

SACCS President Adriaan Niemann (front row, far left) and SACCS Board Director Michael Booth (front row, far right) attend a joint Singapore Stock Exchange – Johannesburg Stock Exchange event. Image: supplied.  

How does the SACCS facilitate valuable connections and partnerships for its members? 

The SACCS assists its members in creating valuable connections by facilitating one-on-one introductions to high-profile individuals within specific industry verticals. These connections enable our members to leverage established networks for business growth. We also offer networking opportunities through our drinks events and promote our members’ brands via our newsletters and website. 

Our most successful partnerships have been with government entities and other chambers of commerce, fostering collaboration and mutual benefit to stimulate the growth of the South African economy. We actively provide opportunities for international businesses to expand into South Africa. Our government partners are consistently supportive and helpful to our members, both in Singapore and South Africa. 

Future plans 

What are the SACCS’s plans for expanding subcommittees and facilitating trade missions in the coming years? 

The SACCS has experienced significant growth over the past year, thanks to our new structure that includes the creation of subcommittees. These subcommittees provide substantial value to our members by connecting them with industry specialists who enhance our relevance and content. We are committed to expanding these subcommittees further, continually increasing their value to our members.  

Additionally, we look forward to facilitating more trade missions in the coming years, aiming to highlight the abundant opportunities for business growth in Southeast Asia and South Africa. 

Bilateral relations

South African High Commissioner in Singapore Charlotte Lobe; Tsakani Mpofu, the founder of Fixing Each Other’s Crown; and Keridyn Heatlie, executive director SACCS pose at the welcome dinner for the South African and African delegation in Singapore, April 17, 2024. Image: SACCS.

How does the SACCS maintain and benefit from its relationship with the High Commission of the Republic of South Africa in Singapore? 

The SACCS maintains a strong relationship with the High Commission of the Republic of South Africa in Singapore. Her Excellency Charlotte Lobe, the high commissioner of South Africa in Singapore, has been instrumental in supporting SACCS and its members, particularly by backing our trade missions led by our members and partners.