Executive Chairman, Caban CIC (Pty) Ltd

PhD, Social Science, Religious Studies 


Aged 56, Ruben qualified as a blue collar tradesman who miraculously navigated his way to the upper echelons of academia, business, civil society, corporate and government in South Africa. He channels his philanthropic energies through the Ruben Richards Foundation – a non-profit organisation – founded in 2012. His Foundation, which was recently visited by Britain’s Prince Harry, is also the recipient of the 2015 Reconciliation Award conferred by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation for its community development work in marginalised and traumatised communities. Ruben is a published author and much sought after public speaker who holds qualifications in mechanical engineering and experience as both a tradesman and CEO of one of South Africa’s largest marine and heavy engineering companies. Ruben has earned post-graduate degrees from Switzerland and the USA, including a PhD in Religious Studies from the University of Cape Town. 


His overall experience encompasses a wide range of professional disciplines. He has held positions such as visiting Professor (both in South Africa and the USA), Chairman of the Entrepreneurship Advisory Board of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. He served under the leadership of Archbishop Desmond Tutu as the Executive Secretary of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa and was Deputy Director-General (DDG) of the now disbanded Scorpions (i.e. South Africa's FBI). Ruben consults to international agencies such as the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) as a Democratic Governance Consultant on the African continent. 


Ruben holds various directorships in the profit (including publically listed companies) and non-profit sector. He currently serves as President of the South African and Medium Enterprises Federation, President of the Khoisan Chamber of Commerce and Industry and is also the former CEO of the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry.