Our Team

SAEON’s IT and Data Management Node (uLwazi) comprises of four areas coordinated by specialist team leaders in IT infrastructure, Data Curation, Systems Development and Data Science.

Dr Claire Davis-Reddy


Claire’s primary directive as Team Lead is to improve SAEON’s data products, atlas portals and views in order to facilitate effective data- and evidence-driven decision-making. She has a PhD from the University of Stellenbosch specialising in the fields of remote sensing, vegetation modelling and climate change. 

Leo Chiloane


Leo has a strong interest in data management, and currently works as the Curation Lead for SAEON. His role at SAEON gives him the opportunity to work on multiple data projects, such as the Bio-energy Atlas of South Africa, the South African Risk and Vulnerability Atlas and the South African Spatial Data Infrastructure. 

Shaun Swanepoel

infrastructure TEAM LEAD

Shaun is currently employed at SAEON as a Systems Engineer. He has around 20 years experience in the IT field and has been fortunate to work in a diversity of IT environments, and has been mentored by some of the most respected individuals in the industry. 

Professional organisations: Shaun currently sits on ICT advisory committees for NRF and DEA

Mark Jacobson

Systems development team lead

Mark is a Python and Linux enthusiast with over two decades of experience in software development. He is passionate about open source tech, loves deep diving into complex systems, and builds digital platform infrastructure for SAEON.


Persephone Leigh Singh


Persephone is a Linux Specialist at SAEON. 

Keneilwe Hlahane​


Keneilwe joined the SAEON Data Science team as a GIS analyst. Her work will be focused on the South African Risk and Vulnerability Atlas and the BioEnergy Atlas. Keneilwe previously worked at the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) as part of the South African Vegetation mapping team.

Angelique Brooksbank


Angelique has many years of experience as a GIS professional and is registered as a GISc Technologist (GTg GISc0941) with the South African Geomatics Council (SAGC). She has extensive experience in GIS systems, data management, 3rd party interaction to acquire data, edit and maintain datasets, metadata, geo-referencing raster imagery, data analysis, map production for various resources, manage, maintain and monitor spatial and non- spatial databases over time, standards and procedures, customised digital data and mapping for management, research and advise on new spatial technologies.


Lindsay Callaghan


Lindsay is a curation specialist at SAEON’s uLwazi node, which she joined in 2018 after eight years of working in digital media. She has a strong interest in technology, organisation and the creation of long-term archival solutions, which led her to the field of data curation. She has completed a Masters in Digital Curation at the University of Cape Town and is particularly interested in working towards best practice standards and creating trusted digital repositories.


Caroline Mfopa


Caroline joined SAEON on 3rd March 2020 as part of the data science team, working as a junior data scientist under the Bioenergy project. What inspires her about being in the data science and GIS analytics field, is the ability to produce data outputs that can be used as evidence based science to encourage the amendment of laws and advice decision makers.


Dr Marc Pienaar


Marc joined SAEON in March 2019. Most of his programming experience is in Java, R, and Fortran, with some experience in other languages as well. His current interests include working with spatial data and time series classification and feature extraction problems. Specifically, he enjoys coding up “user-friendly” applications that afford end-users (scientists, funders, decision-makers) the ability to navigate and explore relationships in the data themselves by designing function rich visualisation interfaces.


Dr Hayden Wilson


Dr Hayden Wilson is a capable, independent and adaptable geospatial data scientist with a strong belief that there needs to be integration between good business and sound science in order to achieve a sustainable future. Working at SAEON within the uLwazi Node allows him to facilitate the integration of science into policy and planning, allowing decisions to be driven by best available data. He is currently the project manager and lead analyst on the BioEnergy Atlas Project, a department of Science and Innovation funded project to assess the techno-economic feasibility for Bioenergy production in South Africa.

Galaletsang Keebine


In March 2020, Galaletsang re-joined SAEON as a junior data scientist under the data science team at the uLwazi node. She had previously been part of SAEON as a science engagement intern in 2018 based in Kimberley at the Arid Lands node. Her passions lie in environmental sustainability with particular interests in biodiversity conversation and terrestrial ecology. She is a GIS enthusiast and strategic thinker who enjoys solving problems utilising GIS techniques. Her role as a junior data scientist sees her being involved in the creation of visual data products, data analysis and report writing.


Lutendo Mulaudzi


Lutendo joined SAEON in 2016 as an IT Helpdesk support operator. She has experience in working with computers and resolving support issues that are raised. She is currently working as a Compliance Officer, ensuring that all SAEON staff members comply with the organisation’s IT policies and procedures. She also ensures that all SAEON IT assets and software installed comply with SAEON’s policies and procedures.


Shaun Benjamin


Shaun has recently joined SAEON after 6 years in logistics as an IT officer. He has been in the IT sector for over 10 years. He’s passionate about technology and enjoys being outdoors swimming or mountain biking.