Forestry contractors association gets new CEO

October 24, 2023
Incoming Safca CEO, Roger Johnston.

Roger Johnston has been appointed CEO of the SA Forestry Contractors Association (Safca) following the resignation of previous CEO Dwayne Marx.

Roger has a wealth of experience and a proven track record in the forestry sector, and brings invaluable expertise and leadership to the organization.

His journey in the industry began in the late 1970s, as he obtained his Diploma in Agriculture from Cedara College. He subsequently ventured into crop and livestock farming before transitioning to timber farming and gum harvesting in the KZN Midlands. Over the years, Roger expanded his scope, taking on various contracts and projects with renowned industry players such as Safcol, Merensky, Sappi, Mondi, and P.G. Bison.

He currently runs a harvesting contracting business, THT Forestry, based in Sedgefield in the Cape. THT specialises in steep slope harvesting using cable yarding equipment to extract trees to roadside.
In addition to his extensive business management skills, Roger has excelled in financial analysis, budgeting, contract negotiation, and operational excellence. He has consistently demonstrated a commitment to employee welfare, skills development, and adherence to regulatory practices. His leadership skills have been recognized through his board memberships, including his tenure as Chairman of the Nottingham Road Farmers Association.

As a former grower and a contractor, Roger has acquired a good insight into the forestry business and understands the challenges facing contractors today.

Although he has only been in the position for a few weeks and hasn’t had time to consult with members, he sees a key aspect of Safca’s role as supporting new, upcoming contractors to establish viable businesses. This is especially critical when it comes to costing of contracting operations, because there is no room for error.

He says although the trend is that there are fewer, bigger contractors active in the industry today, there is still room for new entrants who represent the future.

Another area he believes will add value is to explore different, more cost effective ways of raising finance for purchasing the equipment that contractors need to conduct operations.

“I need to meet the contractors to find out what their needs are, and new ideas will evolve,” said Roger. “Safca is here for the benefit of contractors. It’s an exciting new challenge for me,” he concluded.

Beyond his professional achievements, Roger is known for his fluency in Zulu and to a slightly lesser extent, Afrikaans. He is an active member of the Sedgefield Christian Church and enjoys engaging in outdoor activities, such as overland travel, camping, and wildlife exploration.

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