Meet the Team

Donald MacKay, Director
B.COM, DIP INT AUD, MBA, CIA

I have done many things over the course of my career, from software development to computer auditing and then more recently international trade consulting. I have been involved with international trade consulting since 1998, ending as an Associate Director in the tax division at Deloitte. I did many different things in my time at Deloitte, always with a strong role in business development. My final role was Global Product Development Manager for international trade consulting products. I founded XA International Trade Advisors in 2003 because I wanted to see what could be done in the international trade consulting field outside of the constraints of the more structured environment present in the big audit firms. I have a passion for integrating technology into consulting and XA has led the way with technology-based solutions.

I LOVE SOLVING INTERESTING AND COMPLEX PROBLEMS, AND THAT REALLY IS THE HEART OF XA.

The result has been such things such as the creation of anti-dumping methodologies that have given us the highest success rate in the country, and data mining processes that have allowed us to bring significant and measurable benefits to many of South Africa’s largest multinationals. When I am not working, I love reading, cooking and experiencing new places. I am truly fortunate to work in an environment that allows me to see the world. Music is a huge part of my life and I am busy rediscovering the wonder of enjoying music on vinyl. I serve on the SAICA tax subcommittee on Customs and Excise.

Pieter du Plessis, Director
B.COM (HONS), CA (S.A.), H.DIP (TAX LAW) My journey took me on a long stint with Deloitte, starting with vacation work during grade 12 in 1984, to the beginning of 2004 when I finally left Deloitte to join XA with my fellow director Donald MacKay. Although I specialised in Corporate Tax at Deloitte, I had a growing involvement in large government incentive programmes, assisting the Department of Trade and Industry at some point with the drafting of the Section 12G tax incentive legislation. I carried this interest over to XA where we have been instrumental in securing a significant amount in grant funding for large private sector investment and infrastructure projects. I HAVE ALWAYS HAD A THING FOR NUMBERS, PARTICULARLY THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DIFFERENT VALUES. IT BECOMES PART OF YOUR LIFE, LOOKING FOR PATTERNS AND ANOMALIES, ALWAYS LOOKING FOR EXPLANATIONS AND ANOTHER WAY OF INTERPRETING WHAT IS RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU. The step to leave a large renowned firm and start a specialist consulting practice was probably the best thing I could ever have done. Client service is critical if a tiny start up firm wants to secure and retain blue chip clients and it became a way of life and doing business. XA’s current client portfolio underscores this philosophy. From starting out being half of a two-man band I am now part of an incredible team of people with very diverse skill sets. I enjoy observing and trying to understand people and their behaviour in dynamic interactions.  The dynamic processes within this highly specialised group of individuals at XA fascinate me. Problem solving and smart execution is at the core of what we do and every team member plays a very specific role in these processes. Outside work I enjoy cycling and I am still striving to complete my 10th Argus Cycle Tour.
Taapano Paradza, Consultant
B.ADMIN, B.COM (HONS), M.PHIL (INTERNATIONAL TRADE AND INVESTMENT LAW)

I have always aspired to work in a problem-solving environment where l can make a positive contribution. Before my journey with XA, l worked in administrative positions and a few part-time academic positions.  l decided to further my studies by pursuing a masters degree in International Trade Law.

This opened an exciting new world for me when l joined XA in 2011. l found myself at home, working in a challenging and intellectually stimulating environment with the best brains in the industry.

I ENJOY MY WORK AS IT IS NEVER ROUTINE AND INVOLVES SOLVING COMPLEX PROBLEMS ON A DAILY BASIS.

The nature of our assignments provides me with an opportunity to travel, which allows me to see new places and experience different cultures.

l have research interests in trade policy,   regional integration,  and other diverse issues of international trade law. For relaxation, l enjoy tennis and swimming.

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