“The blockchain is the most important invention since the Internet itself.”

– Marc Andreessen, technology pioneer


SANBA drives blockchain adoption in South Africa. By linking in government, academia, the private sector and civil society, it creates a pre-competitive space for research, development and innovation in blockchain technology. It focuses beyond the traditional fintech and cryptocurrency use cases to tackle many challenges in the country. 
SANBA is therefore an ecosystem-based approach to create partnerships between all blockchain roleplayers and stakeholders, to catalyse the use of blockchain technologies within South Africa.  SANBA has four main objectives:
  • Connecting the players in the blockchain ecosystem into a pre-competitive collaboration space to support research, development and innovation in blockchain technology.
  • Facilitating skills development, advocacy and education on “all things blockchain”.
  • Catalysing blockchain adoption in all sectors of South Africa.
  • Leveraging the blockchain ecosystem as a lobbying platform to tackle issues blocking blockchain adoption in South Africa.


SANBA membership is open to all with an interest in Blockchain and DLT technologies. Both individuals and organisations are welcome to join SANBA.

SANBA membership is available FREE OF CHARGE. The aim is to help drive blockchain adoption in South Africa by harnessing the blockchain ecosystem.

Why become a member?

As an advocacy group, our mission is to guide and promote comprehensive adoption of distributed ledger technology across all industry sectors and within government. We do this by engaging with market participants, educational institutions, regulators, policymakers and technology innovators through direct communication, comment letters, events, research and more to guide the public dialogue about blockchain, distributed ledger and smart contract technology, so that industry and markets can realise the full potential of these capabilities.

If you or your organisation is interested in engaging in blockchain ecosystem to drive adoption forward, then joining SANBA, offers many opportunities for engaging with peers through our advocacy, education, proof of concepts and thought leadership initiatives.

Membership & Benefits

Access to free and/or subsidised skills development opportunities, government engagement, project exposure, events, endorsements, research and development, peer reviews, technical mentorship, Proof of Concept developments and the opportunity to attend subsidised international blockchain conferences and events. Many of these are exclusive SANBA Members-only opportunities. Members also have opportunities for media coverage on the SANBA website.

Institutional members who positively contribute to the ecosystem will have their logos displayed on the SANBA website and members may display the SANBA logo on their websites.

The SANBA Ecosystem

SANBA was initially founded by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), their Office of Digital Advantage and the CSIR. However, the Alliance is run and governed by the blockchain community using blockchain principles. SANBA is distributed and decentralised with members of the ecosystem providing nodes of expertise and driving activities within their nodes.

The different ecosystem players per node are as follows:

POLICY & REGULATION – Mostly government departments and regulatory authorities;

FUNDING – Funding bodies such as government funding programmes, banks and other credit & loan providers, venture capitalists and grant providers (e.g. donor funding);

SKILLS DEVELOPMENT – This includes both public and private education and training providers as well as those involved in non-traditional ways of stimulating skills and knowledge development (e.g. hackathons, internships, bootcamps, competitions, conferences, seminars, workshops, mentorship, meetups);

SUPPORT SYSTEMS – Organisations and networks supporting entrepreneurship, innovation and information sharing (e.g. incubators and accelerators, co-location and infrastructure providers, mentorship and event organisers);

DEVELOPMENT & INNOVATION – Those organisations and individuals that are actively applying blockchain to develop solutions in the space (e.g. entrepreneurs and startups, development houses, software developers);
RESEARCH – Organisations and individuals actively engaged with blockchain research (masters & PhD students; academics; public and private research institutions; researchers within private sector companies);

MARKETS – Environments (public and private sector enterprises, industry and government) which will benefit from the application of blockchain solutions in their domains (e.g. early adopters, reference customers, pilots and proof of concepts; sectors such as Health, Education, Manufacturing, Mining ,Finance, Agriculture, Energy, etc.); and

LOBBYING, ADVOCACY & EDUCATION – Groups consisting of marketing and opinion leaders (e.g. social media influencers; traditional media; trusted experts and focused lobby groups).


SANBA has developed a 5 year strategy, which has been approved by the DSI, who will provide seed funding for the strategy. The roadmap below is a high level outline of the strategy.


The body helping to drive SANBA’s objectives is the “Consensus Forum”, consisting of approximately 12 individuals, who are committed to driving blockchain forward in the country. These members represent a cross-section of the blockchain ecosystem (start-ups, industry, academia, business, government, civil society). As a founding member and seed funder of SANBA, DSI will have at least one permanent representative in the Consensus Forum. The CSIR as the hosting institution and the secretariat will also have at least one permanent member. As suggested by the name, all decisions are made by consensus.

2021 Consensus Forum members

Akhona Damane

CSIR, Manager: Office of Digital Advantage Akhona Damane is responsible for facilitating the implementation of the Department of Science and Innovation’s ICT Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) Roadmap.

Merryl Ford

CSIR, Manager: Emerging Opportunities, Next Generation Enterprises and Institutions
Merryl is based at the CSIR, where she is responsible for driving various 4th industrial revolution projects, facilitating research and technological innovation that contributes to the improved quality of life of South Africans.

Gugu Newman

Gugu is a Co-Founder and COO at Ribbon Blockchain Pty Ltd, a social impact and for profit company specializing in public health system automation.

Paresh Daya

Paresh has spent his career specialising in financial technology, predominantly working for global, tier-1 investment banks across the UK and South Africa.

Tanya Knowles

Tanya Knowles is the Business Manager of Adhara, a global provider of liquidity management and international payment solutions for decentralised financial networks. Tanya is also the Chairperson: South African Financial Blockchain Consortium.

Gugulethu Mabuza-Hocquet

Gugulethu Mabuza-Hocquet holds a PhD in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. She is currently employed as a senior biometrics researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Moerieda Mckay

(Stride) – CEO: Stride Africa

Ian Bessarabia

Experience Coach

Ian’s coaching methodology focuses on developing his client’s self- awareness, attitude, self- reflection, self-motivation & value drivers.

Zamokwakhe Dlamini

Department of Science and Innovation
Deputy Director: ICT and Service Industries

Johan Neethling

Department of Science and Innovation
Deputy Director: ICT and Service Industries

Thembani Masinge

Department of Communications and Digital Technology

Nokubalela Mchunu

Department of Communications and Digital Technology
Balela is a blockchain expert in the Project Management office for the implementation of the Presidential Commission for the 4IR strategy.

Gugulethu Nyathi

(Ribbon Blockchain) – Founder and CEO

Malebo Mabitje-Thompson

(DTI) – Deputy Director General: Incentive Development and Administration Division

Rendani Ramabulana

(Presidential Commission for the 4IR) – Commissioner

Barbara Dale-Jones

(The Field Institute) – Founder and Director

Co-Pierre Georg

(UCT) – Manager of the UCT Fintech Masters programme / SARB Fintech Chair

Responsibilities and functions of the Consensus Forum

The Panel will have the following functions:

  1. Provide strategic guidance to SANBA;
  2. Facilitate, through research and consultation, the development of a comprehensive distributed ledger technology strategy for SA – beyond only cryptocurrency use cases;
  3. Advise on priority focus areas as well as budget allocation for SANBA in the next 5 years;
  4. Oversee and direct as required, the progress and success of SANBA, and ensure regular reporting to the relevant stakeholders and funders;
  5. Provide feedback to the National System of Innovation (NSI) on the achievement of SANBA’s objectives;
  6. Represent SANBA at official events, such as workshops, visits and conferences.
  7. Assist in marketing and expanding SANBA membership throughout the ecosystem;
  8. Support the management and monitoring of expectations of various entities and individuals (including stakeholder management).

Constitution of the Forum

Membership of the initial Forum is by invitation by the DSI’s ODA Operations Committee, of which the Forum secretariat will be appointed in a separate process. Thereafter, new members will be nominated by current Forum members.

Each member will be required to represent their institutions for a period of 2 years (from 1 January 2020) whereafter the membership will be reviewed and new members will be appointed as necessary.

Supporting Organisations

The following organisations have contributed their skills, facilities, funding and/or time to supporting the SANBA network.