Honorary Members

Mr Francois du Toit
Dr Francois du Toit

Honorary Member

Dr Francois du Toit received honorary membership for his contribution made in the development of wheat cultivars resistant to the Russian wheat aphid.

Francois started his career in 1971 as entomologist at the Department of Agriculture in the Western Cape. His fields of research included flight patterns of the potato aphid, transmission of potato viruses, and the development of control strategies. He also quantified the economic importance of different aphid’s species on wheat.

In 1980 Francois was appointed as researcher at the Small Grain Centre where after he received his Ph.D. for his research on the occurrence, severity and determination of economic threshold values for chemical control of the Russian wheat aphid.

In 1985 he started to identify and incorporate several sources of genetic resistance into wheat lines and cultivars to control the Russian wheat aphid. His research further resulted in the differentiation and inclusion of three resistance genes to Russian wheat aphid in the international gene catalogue.

In 1990 Francois was appointed as wheat breeder by PANNAR based at Bainsvlei. With the recent outbreak of a new biotype of the Russian wheat aphid in the Eastern Free State, several wheat lines and one cultivar with alternative sources of resistance developed by Francois proved to be resistant.

In addition to his wheat breeding efforts Francois served on several industry committees and published more than 80 scientific, semi-scientific and popular articles in international and local papers and magazines.

Dr Hugo van Niekerk
Dr Hugo van Niekerk

Honorary Member

Dr Hugo van Niekerk received honorary membership for his life time commitment to Plant Breeding.

Born: 1st March 1941 at Kakamas in the Northern Cape

Training: BSc Agric 1963 (Genetics & Agronomy) BSc Agric Honours 1964 (Genetics) MSc Agric 1965 (Genetics) PhD in wheat cytogenetics 1989


  • February 1964 Join Department of Agriculture as plant breeder for vegetables at Stellenbosch.
  • January 1969 Became Senior Professional Officer, Wheat Breeding, Stellenbosch.
  • February 1976 appointed as Chief Professional Officer.
  • April 1981 appointed as Assistant Director, Small Grains Institute of ARC.
  • February 1984 Transferred to SGI, Bethlehem as Assistant Director: Plant Breeding and Bread Wheat Quality.
  • March 1991 became Deputy Director: Plant Breeding and Bread Wheat Quality.
  • April 1992 appointed as Programme Manager: Plant Breeding and Bread wheat quality.

At the end of April 2001 Hugo retired and started farming at Kakamas with table grapes and raisins. During the course of career Hugo was involved, as breeder and as Programme Manager in the release of 27 small grain cultivars including 19 wheat, 3 oats, and 4 triticales cultivars, respectively.

Hugo further received several awards including the following:

  • 1994 – Directors Award from Grain Crops Research Institute
  • 1997 – Executive Management’s Award as leader of multidisciplinary team which released the first Russian wheat aphid resistant wheat cultivars in South Africa.
  • 1999 – Winter Grain Producers Organization’s award for dedicated service to the wheat industry.
  • 2000- Roll of Honour award from the SAPBA for the promotion of plant breeding.
  • 2001 – From CIMMYT wheat programme for outstanding contribution to international wheat improvement through exemplary scientific achievements, leadership, farmer and processor oriented impact and vision.
  • 2002 – SAPBA Honorary Membership.
Dr Heinz Kaiser
Dr Heinz Kaiser

Honorary Member

Dr Heinz Kaiser received honorary membership for his life time commitment to the Southern African Plant Breeder’s Society


  • BSc(Agric) 1959, Natal University
  • MSc(Agric) 1966 Natal University
  • PhD 1976 Natal University


  • 1960 -1975 Researcher/lecturer at Cedara College of Agriculture
  • 1975 -2004 Maize breeder, PANNAR
Mr Ian Jarvie
Mr Ian Jarvie

Honorary Member

Mr Ian Jarvie received honorary membership for his life time commitment to Plant Breeding.

After matriculating in 1953 at Pretoria Boys High School, Ian studied agriculture at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, where he graduated with a BSc Agric. degree majoring in Agronomy (Crop Science). He then farmed in the Greytown district. In 1960 he was appointed as a maize breeder for the then Pioneer (now PANNAR) Seed Company (Pty.) Ltd., where he initiated the research programme. Towards the end of the 1960s he registered the first PNR hybrids, including PNR 22, 44, 55, 77 and 99, which were of the first proprietary hybrids developed and marketed in South Africa. During his leadership as Research Director for the next 40 plus years, other crop species, such as soybeans, sunflowers, sorghum, dry beans, wheat and pasture grasses, as well as a number of vegetable crops, were added to the PANNAR research programme. Over the years many cultivars from this programme became household names in the farming industry. The programme also expanded internationally to most countries in Southern Africa, Europe, The USA and South America. Furthermore, in house computer, plant pathological, chemical and biotechnological laboratory facilities were established.

Ian also took a keen interest in the South African seed industry and served for a number of years, including as chairman, on both the South African Plant Breeders Association and SANSOR executive committees. He was an active member of the committee that drew up the SANSOR constitution and initiated its formation.

Mr Joseph Rex Tattersfield
Mr Joseph Rex Tattersfield

Honorary Member

JR Tattersfield was born on 01-10-1932 in Ontario, Canada He is married with no children.

Tertiary Education
He obtained a Diploma in agriculture from Gwebi Agricultural College, Zimbabwe, in 1952 and a BSc (cum laude) degree in agriculture from the University of Natal, South Africa, in 1955.

Special Studies and Technical visits
In 1967 he spent 3 months at the Plant Breeding Institute, Cambridge, U.K, studying breeding methods with special reference to self pollinated crops.

In 1976 he spent 1 month in southern Brazil studying soyabean research In 1984 he visited the United States of America for 1 month to attend World Research Conference and visited various soybean research organizations in both the southern and northern United States of America. In 1988 he spent 2 weeks in Denmark and United Kingdom studying Plant Breeding and Seed Production In 1994 he visited Thailand for 2 weeks to attend World Soyabean Research Conference In 2001 he spent 1 week in Edinburgh, Scotland, attending the XV1th Eucarpia Congress on “Plant Breeding Sustaining the future”

Post Qualification Employment
Between 1956 and 1982 J.R. Tattersfield was employed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Zimbabwe, as follows:- At Gwebi Agricultural College as Lecturer from 1956 to 1961.
At Grasslands Research Station as Agronomist from 1961 to 1963 At Crop Breeding Institute as Leader, Oilseeds Breeding Team, from 1963 to 1982.
Between 1983 and 2003 J.R. Tattersfield was employed by Seed Co Ltd as follows:- Head of Research from 1983 to 1993 Senior Plant Breeder from 1993 to 2003.

Prof Klaus Pakendorf
Prof Klaus Pakendorf

Honorary Member

Prof Klaus Pakendorf received honorary membership for his life time commitment to plant breeding.

Born: 8th of February 1938 in Pinetown, Natal

Academic qualifications:

  • 1954 – Junior Certificate, Stutterheim High School
  • 1956 – Senior Certificate SA College High School (SACS), Cape Town
  • 1961 – BSc (Agric), Stellenbosch University
  • 1964 – Hons BSc (Agric), Stellenbosch University
  • 1965 – MSc (Agric) – Genetics, Stellenbosch University
  • 1977 – PhD (Agriculture) – Genetics, Stellenbosch University

Exceptional awards:

  • 2003 Appointed Professor Extraordinary Department of Genetics, University of Stellenbosch
  • 2003 Nominated: Director Southern African Tea Research Institute Blantyre, Malawi
  • 2002 Honorary Member Southern African Plant Breeders’Association
  • 2000 Agricultural Scientist of the Year 2000 S.A. Agricultural Writers’ Association
  • 2000 Grain Scientist of the Year 2000 Grain South Africa
  • 2000 Agricultural Scientist of the Year 2000 Northern Region Agricultural Writers Association
  • 2000 Award for outstanding contributions to the groundnut industry of South Africa Groundnut Forum
  • 2000 Honorary Member South African Society for Crop Production
  • 2000 Roll of Honour Award Southern African Plant Breeders Association
  • 1999 Honorary Member National Oil Seeds Producers Organisation
  • 1995 Joint Award for outstanding achievement Dry Bean Producers Organisation
  • 1995 Fellowship of S.A. Society of Crop Production
  • 1989 Member SA Academy of Science and Culture
  • 1969 Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship


  • 1962-1977 Final position attained Chief Professional Officer Department of Agriculture Winter Rainfall Region Stellenbosch
Zakkie Pretorius
Prof  Zakkie Pretorius

Honorary Member

Summary of the contributions made by Prof Zakkie Pretorius in cereal rust research

In his career of more than 40 years Zakkie Pretorius has added significantly to safeguarding food crops to rust diseases. In South Africa he has been highly influential in generating the current momentum in cereal rust research. His work covers pathogen diversity and associated host plant studies as these aspects are central to efficient resistance breeding and disease control. Zakkie has excelled in becoming a world authority on rust diseases and measures to combat them. His contributions to plant health, locally and abroad, include research articles, collaborative projects, presentations, resource development, editorial duties, external refereeing, student training and industry extension.

His career as a plant pathologist started in 1978 at the newly founded Small Grain Centre of the former Department of Agricultural Technical Services in Bethlehem. At the time of appointment, no infrastructure existed at the rather rural research station in the eastern Free State. During his time at Small Grain wheat rust research in South Africa was revitalised through international training visits, greenhouse and infrastructure development, and active research projects.

When Zakkie joined the University of the Free State in 1989, resources had to be established once more, eventually leading to an influential unit studying stem, leaf and stripe rust of wheat, barley leaf and stem rust, oat leaf and stem rust, Asian soybean rust, common rust of maize, lentil rust, bean rust, and sunflower rust. Many productive local and international collaborations have been formed over the years, including leading seed companies, research institutions and universities. 

In addition to scholarly outputs, the most important legacies are his repository of living rust cultures and host plant germplasm, networks, infrastructure and industry relations. The biological collections are crucial for rust studies and irreplaceable resources. The fungal collection provides access to isolates used in screening and selection of breeding lines whereas the seed collection allows race classification studies, response type of key resistance sources, and analysis and mapping of genetic resistance to rust diseases. With the development of DNA technology, the South African wheat rusts have been thoroughly characterised for genetic diversity. Conceptualised by Zakkie, this methodology now in collaboration with several colleagues and students, provides an evolutionary insight into the origin, relationship and migration of rust races on a regional and global scale. 

Zakkie Pretorius’ work has found application in characterisation of plant breeders’ germplasm, selection of rust resistant breeding lines and eventually release of commercial crop cultivars. His research has set the standard for good practice in rust research and norms for wheat variety descriptions in South Africa. His involvement with co-workers has resulted in local capacity development in genetic mapping of resistance, association mapping of traits, reliable screening protocols, gene cloning, phylogenetics, and epidemiology.

The rust unit at UFS is viewed as essential in a local, African and international context. In addition, it has provided a common theme for many projects between the plant pathology, plant breeding and botany divisions of the Department of Plant Sciences. Given the long history of rust diseases on cereals in South Africa, and the current stem rust epidemics and pathogen evolution in east Africa, South Africa is a strategic component of international rust research efforts. 

Zakkie Pretorius can be described as a soft-spoken, humble and inspiring human. Through years of hard work and dedication he contributed to agricultural science both locally and abroad. During his career he actively participated in the activities of the SAPBA and will continue to do so through the many students that he mentored. 

Liezel Herselman
Mrs Liezel Herselman

Fellow Member

For those of you who had been lucky and privileged enough to have studies at the University of the Free Sate you will need no introduction to Liezel Herselman. Liezel is as part of the plant breeding facility as salt water is to the oceans. Liezel enrolled for her first BSc degree in 1989 at the University of the North West, Potchefstroom Campus. She obtained her degree cum laude in 1992, followed by her Masters in Biochemistry (also cum laude) in 1995.     

Through her career she won several awards and prizes and obtain three bursaries! She had the privilege to attend the University of Greenwich in the United Kingdom from 2000 until 2003 where she obtained her PhD in 2003. Liezel started her professional career in 1994 when she joined the Agricultural Research Council Grain Crops Institute as an assistant researcher going on to become a researcher in 1995. In 2004 she joined the University of the Free State as Senior Lecturer in Molecular Plant Breeding, in 2008 she become an Associated-Professor in Molecular Plant Breeding and in 2013 until now (and hopefully for many years to come!) Liezel became the Academic Departmental Head of the Department of Plant Sciences. 

Liezel had worked on 23 research projects, where she was either the project LEAD or co-worker. She had taught both under and post graduate courses, while supervision post graduate research. With her help and guidance six people obtained their honours degrees, 14 people obtained their masters of which 3 can add cum laude behind their names, and 18 people completed their PhDs. Liezel is also involved in internal and external examinations on behalf for the University of the Free State.  She has international collaboration with three institutions, and two national collaborations. In-between all of her academic activities she is also actively involved in university committees, review panels and she was the president of SAPBA in 2010-2012 and in 2012-2014. Liezel had travelled the world to attend conferences in 17 different countries! She had published 49 articles in accredited journals through her career and presented 36 posters at international conferences and a magnificent 46 at national conferences. 

Liezel’s attention to detail, neatness, accuracy and ability to speak and write well makes her on of the best research supervisors of her time.  She is passionate and 100% committed to her work, her leadership role and her students. She never stands or sits still, she is always preparing, studying, learning, analysing, but most of all she is consistent in everything she does. She leads and guide her students and team to be able to bring solutions to the table, not problems. For those who had Liezel as a supervisor would agree with me that she has very high but clear expectations of her team, students but also herself. 

Antony Jarvie
Mr. Antony Jarvie

Fellow Member

Antony Jarvie started his plant breeding journey in 1982 when he enrolled for BSc (Agric) Crop Sciences. After completion of his degree he started to work at Pannar Seed (now part of the Corteva group) in Greytown as the Dry bean and Soybean breeder. Antony made learning a life-long mission and while he was working full time Antony completed his MSc (Agric) in 1994, followed by his PhD in 2009 – both degrees in plant breeding and though UKZN. During his career at Pannar and later Pioneer from 1986 until 2018 Antony bred and released 26 dry bean cultivars as well as 32 soybean cultivars. The soybeans were for two brands in four countries. His areas of interest were and still are soybean rust tolerance, yield stability, drought tolerance and IP protection. 

While managing and leading the bean and soy activities, he was also the Research Station Manager at the Greytown research site which consisted of 45 farm team staff, 16 technical staff and 14 professional staff. Being the station manager, as well as a full-time breeder, Antony had his finger on the budget and all on and off-site operational matters involving the Greytown site. One of his best saying that I remember and taken to heart was his “it is a budget, not a target” speech at one Pannar’s conference year ago at Sun City. 

In 2019 Antony become a specialist consultant on Soy and dry beans breeding and research, when he started Podsquad (PTY) Ltd, enabling him to use his 32 years of working experience as a commercial breeder in southern Africa region. But there is another side to Antony, he is not all work. If you think his academic and breeding accomplishments are a lot, then his human side and heart will impress you even more! His knowledge of breeding and people skills made him a mentor to many of us here in this room. Antony is someone who was able to carve out a niche for himself, he is 100% committed to not just his work but also his family, his team and his site. He enjoys what he does (work, running, cycling, making pizzas or being on holiday with his family). He has got the ability to summarize and calm a situation while coming up with a very practical solution after listening to all involved. His practical bits of advice on breeding and life are real pearls of wisdom. That is why we would like to nominate him as a Fellow of this society. 

Dr Bart Lombard

Honorary Member

Dr Bart Lombard was born on 12 January 1936 on a Swartland wheat farm in the district of Malmesbury, and due to this it can possibly be stated that he was pre-destined to serve the community from whose bowels he emerged and which formed his personality and value system. After matriculating from the Swartland High School in Malmesbury in 1953, he spent the first three years of his adult life assisting his parents on the mixed farming enterprise in the Malmesbury district, a period of apprenticeship which would later in life stand him in good stead, when he embarked on his scientific career as a plant breeder of wheat, barley and lupins in the Western Cape.

In 1957 he registered at the University of Stellenbosch for the degree BSc. Forestry, which he in 1958 switched to BSc (Agric) with Agronomy and Animal Husbandry as major subjects. He completed his graduate studies in 1961, and then registered for an MSc-degree, under the tutorship of the legendary Prof FX Laubscher, which he completed in 1963; the title of his thesis was: ‘n Studie oor die erflike grondslag van stamroesweerstand by koring (A study on the hereditary basis of stem rust resistance in wheat). In more than one way this study was to lay the foundation for his future life, for not only did it lay the foundation of his future career as a very successful plant breeder in which he closely studied and consciously exploited the close host/pathogen relationships, leading to many resistant and successful wheat, barley and lupin cultivars; but more importantly, he also met his future wife who ably supported him with the technical pathologic assistance for many years. To a large degree, this initial study put South African wheat breeders on the international path in combatting stem rust in wheat by the deployment of effective major resistance genes. In this process he established the first local set of differential cultivars for the identification of specific stem rust pathotypes in South Africa.

In March 1963, Lombard joined the Department of Agriculture as wheat breeder in Bethlehem, where he was tutored by Mr Ernst Pieper, wheat breeder/agronomist, regarding wheat production practices in the Highveld Region. At that time the cultivar Scheepers was still the dominant cultivar, used as an all -round crop for grazing and for the production of a poor quality bread wheat, however it succumbed to stem rust, until Lombard released a selection named Scheepers 69, which, due to its drought resistance is still in production in marginal areas to this day. In this period Lombard also established contact with Prof Ian Watson and Prof Bob Mc Intosh at the University of Sydney, and this collaboration was critical in his career as a scientist and a very successful researcher, and eventually culminated in a PhD-degree in 1986, conferred by the University of Stellenbosch in collaboration with the University of Sydney, Australia, the title being: Host pathogen interactions involving wheat and Puccinia graminis tritici in South Africa.

Together with Pieper he later released the cultivars Betta, Belinda, Barta and Benita which made the production of high quality wheat in the Free State a reality, and paved the way for a large expansion of wheat production in the Free State Province of South Africa. In 1975, Lombard severed his ties with the Department of Agriculture, and joined SENSAKO Seed Company, with the undertaking to transfer him back to the Welgevallen Greenhouse Complex, University of Stellenbosch, where he remained until his eventual retirement from Monsanto in February 2000. In 1977 the really productive period started for Lombard, and he masterfully exploited the backcross method to insert single major resistance genes into already existing high yielding quality cultivars of wheat, barley and lupins. In the case of winter wheat he released cultivars SST102, SST 103 and SST 124, while a whole range of new spring wheat cultivars emerged in the Western Cape of which SST44 and SST88 were probably the most important, and slowly emerged as dominant wheat cultivars and over a long period of time; in the case of SST 88, this cultivar is currently still being produced although it is not actively marketed any more. Using the same method, with different pathogens, he released barley cultivars SSG525 and SSG 532, while lupin varieties SSL2, SSL 4 and SSL 6, also made large contributions over many years. In order to circumvent lodging due to eyespot disease (Helgardia herpotrichoides), Lombard successfully introduced the solid stem genes (originally introduced by Prof R de V Pienaar) and released the cultivars SST 57 and SST 95 with this trait; SST 57 being the more successful as it also contained useful stem rust resistance genes. Lombard’s success can be attributed to hard work, intimate knowledge of the life cycle of various pathogens, the genetics of host cultivars and especially the interaction between host and pathogen.

By nature Dr Bart Lombard is a quiet-spoken and unassuming individual, however he actively participated in the activities of the Western Cape Wheat Development Committee (better known under the acronym KKOV), and by whom he was honored with honorary membership as well as with a merit award. In 1998 he was nominated Western Cape scientist of the year by the Agricultural Writers Association and later in the same year he was named the national Agricultural Scientist of the year.

Although Bart Lombard did not actively participate in the activities of the SAPBA, it is apt that he be honored by this Association due to the exceptional services he rendered to the industries he served, both as a scientist of distinctive merit and a mentor to many post graduate students.

Mr Boet Walters

Honorary Member

Mr Boet Walters received honorary membership for his commitment to wheat breeding

Boet started his wheat breeding career at the Small Grain Centre in 1979. While working in their winter wheat breeding program popular cultivars like Karee and Tugela were released. In 1987 Boet was appointed as wheat breeder by Pannar to initiate their wheat breeding programme. He was based at the University of the Free State until 1989 where after Pannar acquired a farm at Bainsvlei outside Bloemfontein. Boet made a significant contribution through the years in establishing the Pannar Bainsvlei Research Station.

Up to his retirement in March 2004 several wheat cultivars were released out of his breeding program including four spring wheat cultivars for the Western Cape, one irrigation wheat cultivar and eight dry land winter wheat cultivars. Cultivars like PAN 3349 and PAN 3377, finally released in 1995 and 1998 respectively, became very popular under wheat producers in the Free State and are currently still widely grown. The cultivars PAN 3118 and PAN 3120 released by him in 2001 and 2002, respectively are currently the two most popular wheat cultivars planted by producers in the Western Free State. Wheat cultivars released by Boet made a significant contribution to wheat farming in the Free State especially when the strict quality requirements set by the millers and bakers is considered and the constraining effect that this is having on the improvement of wheat yield.

Mr Andries Liebenberg

Honorary Member

Andries Liebenberg’s CV makes interesting reading, and relates the story of a determined individual who constantly accepted challenges from his birth on a lowly grain farm in Porterville, Cape in 1940, to that of one of South Africa’s leading agricultural scientists upon his final retirement in 2009.

After matric, Andries farmed for 6 years and then enrolled at the University of Stellenbosch where he gained the degree BSc. Agric in 1968. After another stint on the farm he returned to Stellenbosch University to train as a teacher in 1971, and then started his career at Winterberg Agricultural High in Fort Beaufort, Eastern Cape in1972. From here he transferred to Glen Agricultural College in 1973, and while here, he graduated BSc. Hons and MSc. at the University of Freestate.

In 1977, he transferred to Potchefstroom as dry bean agronomist. Originally his task encompassed dry bean agronomy, where he also initiated the Dry Bean Cultivar Evaluation program. Many of the production guidelines currently still in place in the dry bean industry were originally developed by him. In spite of his specialization on dry beans, Andries has a broad general knowledge on crop production and assisted his colleagues regarding soybean production and physiology and various other crops like cowpeas. At this stage of his career, he visited Columbia and the USA, and on returning initiated the framework for the dry bean disease free production scheme, which helped to promote and stabilize the dry bean industry in South Africa. This was followed by various visits to Africa, South America and North America, where he gradually established himself as a leading scientist in the international dry bean fraternity.

The passing of Willem Vermeulen in 1988, notable dry bean and sunflower breeder of the Grain Crops Institute at Potchefstroom, gave Andries the impetus to further extend his presence in the dry bean industry, as he was requested now to take over this breeding program. It is in this phase of his career, that he really established himself as a breeder of note, releasing no fewer than 22 dry bean cultivars ranging from small white to speckled sugar beans. By his own account, certain of these cultivars are credited to Andries in collaboration with dry bean colleagues Willem Verleulen (4), Brian Edington (2), and latterly with Dr Merion Lienbenberg (dry bean pathologist) and Dr Deidré Fourie (dry bean bacteriologist) (8). The role played by Annetjie Groenewald (canning quality of dry beans), technicians Lukas Joubert and Heinra Heenop must also be mentioned here. It is difficult to quantify the impact of these cultivars on the dry bean industry, but Mr Anthony Jarvie, dry bean breeder of Pannar, rates the contribution to between 90% at the height of the impact, to currently approximately 50% of the total dry bean farm gate value. If the industrial quality of these cultivars is also taken into consideration, the total impact on the South African agricultural industry is enormous.Apart from these tangible products of his intellectual ability, Andries also gained his PhD from the University of Natal in 1990, on the theme: Source sink relationships in three dry bean cultivars.

For his contributions to science and the agricultural industry, Andries was recognized by awards from the dry bean producers association 1995, 1999 and 2009, and the Agricultural Writers of the North in 2006.

Andries can be described as a quite spoken, humble and God fearing man who, in the words of Jack Kennedy, didn’t ask what mankind can do for him, but what he can do for mankind. He truly served South African agricultural science and the farming community well, and for this contribution Mr President, I request that you bestow Honorary Membership of the SAPBA on Dr Andries Johannes Liebenberg.