Bobby Peek is groundWork's Director. He has a Bachelor of Arts Honours from the University of KwaZulu Natal in Durban. He previously worked at the Institute for Social and Economic Research at UKZN and Environmental Justice Networking Forum in Pietermaritzburg, after which he became one of the founding members of groundWork. In 1998, he won the Goldman Prize for Africa.
Environmental justice is about power relations and ensuring that there is equity amongst all peoples. From Bobby's first experience of corporate power – just after our hard fought for democracy in 1994 – being used against the community in which he lived in Wentworth, south Durban, he has been driven to seek ways of dismantling this corporate power so that we can have a true democracy as the basis of environmental justice in South Africa.
Gillian Addison is groundWork's Deputy Director of Finance and Administration. She has a matric from Brescia House Convent in Johannesburg, going on to work at Environmental Justice Networking Forum and then becoming one of the founding members of groundWork in 1999.
Gill's main interests in relation to environmental justice work are building groundWork into a strong and effective organisation, supporting staff in their personal and professional development and finally, seeing communities fighting successfully for social and environmental justice.
When groundWork was established, the members chose environmental justice as the focus of the fight for social justice and ultimately a change in the system. This system is one that favours the rich at the expense of all others including our environment and is responsible for the greatest danger humankind has faced, climate change. groundWork has been able to demonstrate to people how their human rights are being violated by government and industry's abuse of our environment and together a successful environmental justice movement is being built within the broader social justice movement.
Samuel Chademana is groundWork’s Mercury Campaign Manager, he has a BSc in Forestry from the School of Natural Resources of the Copperbelt University; a Postgraduate Diploma (Honors level) in Community Development from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and BPhil (Hons) in Sustainable Development from the University of Stellenbosch. He also recently completed a Diploma in Community Based Climate Change Adaptation with the Centre for Sustainable Development based in California.
He brings to his current role 10 years of experience in project Cycle Management i.e. the design, implementation and evaluation of Donor, private and Government funded community projects, essentially in the socio-economic development and Climate Change adaptation spaces. Originally Zambian, he has worked in South Africa throughout his professional career. Some highlights of his work experience include four years as an Associate Program officer with the UNDP’s Energy and Environment Group; working on Climate Change Adaptation and International Waters projects at a regional level in Eastern and Southern Africa; Three years with the City of Cape Town as a Professional officer for Local Economic Development and two years as an Assistant Policy and Strategic Planning officer with a South African government Development Agency known as the Independent Development Trust.
His interests are in the pursuant of sound Environmental management that is people centered and that ensures intergenerational equity i.e. meeting present human needs without prejudicing the needs of posterity.
Musa Chamane is groundWork's Waste Campaign Manager. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Sciences and a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Policy and Development Studies from the University of KwaZulu Natal in Pietermaritzburg. He also has a diploma in Project Management from Varsity College in Pietermaritzburg. His previous place of work was at Built Environmental Support Group.
Musa is interested mainly with working and mobilising communities around environmental justice issues, protecting the environment and working with government at all levels to affect change.
For Musa, groundWork's work is important because it aims at shifting people's thinking when it comes to environmental issues. The environment's well-being is very important for the health and sustainability of all living organisms, including humans. Often people's attitudes towards the environment are fuelled by lack of understanding, and groundWork looks to empower communities with the knowledge of the potential impacts that may arise from poor environmental management.
Rico Euripidou is groundWork's Environmental Health Campaign Manager. He has a Master's degree in Environmental Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a Master's degree in Contaminated Land Managed from Nottingham University in England. His previous place of employment before joining groundWork in 2005, was at the University of Witswatersrand as a research manager in Limpopo.
Rico's interests lie in working on issues of energy policy, climate change and public health, all of which are of course interrelated.
Due to us currently facing the single greatest threat to humanity in our lifetime and this being underpinned by energy policy, widespread inequality and human suffering, Rico believes that this is a cause worth fighting for and that groundWork offers the space in which to achieve this.
Thomas Mnguni is groundWork’s Community Activist, he joined the team in 2015. He matriculated in 1992 and worked for Columbus Stainless Steel until 1996. He later joined the board of the Highveld Entrepreneur Development Centre, and later became part of management.
Thomas is also one of the co-founders of the Greater Middelburg Residents Association, which focused on service delivery and socio-economic issues. He is also a member of the Freedom of Expression Network, which works closely with the Freedom of Expression Institute, that aims to with protect people from abuse and illegal arrest especially during protest action.
Thomas joined environmental activism in 2008 and has been mobilising communities around the Highveld since then. He also co-founded the Highveld Environmental Justice Network in (HEJN) 2015, The network consists of six towns.
Robby Mokgalaka is groundWork's Coal Campaign Manager. He has a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Law and his LLB from the University of KwaZulu Natal in Pietermaritzburg. He joined groundWork in 2014, with previous employment being a research intern and manager at UKZN, a research assistant at the Medical Research Council and a Candidate Attorney at Legal Aid.
Robby's interests lie in working with people, particularly in assisting, organising and working with them to mobilise around issues of justice, whether it be social or environmental.
groundWork is a critical part of society's functioning and for Robby, he believes that this work will affect positive change in communities by reducing pollution in any form and ensuring a healthy environment for people, no matter who they are. For Robby, it is a new form of justice he is working for in groundWork and one that he embraces strongly.
Niven Reddy is groundWork’s Campaign Research & Technical Assistant. He has a Bachelor of Social Science in Geography and Environmental Management from the University of KwaZulu Natal, Howard College. He joined groundWork in 2016 having previously worked as a Junior Environmental Officer for an Environmental Consultant.
Niven’s interests lie in working with communities and using the legal platform of proposed environmental applications to combat environmental injustices, as well as promote sustainable and safe alternatives to reduce our carbon footprint. He also does groundWork's in-house mapping.
Nombulelo Shange is groundWork’s Media, Information and Publications Campaign Manger. She joined groundWork in 2016 and holds a Master’s degree in Sociology, as well as an honours and undergraduate qualification in Sociology, Political Science and International Relations. She has a background as a social researcher and has previously worked as a media intern at an enterprise development organization.
Nombulelo has over 5 years’ experience as an educator, she has taught everything from kindergarten to university level. She is passionate about research and has done research on African Traditional Religion and social development. She’s also passionate about writing and education and believes that media can and should be used as an educating tool. She also believes in people led storytelling and knowledge production which is decolonized and free of government and corporate control.
Her interest in environmental justice was sparked by an Environmental Sociology course in university which enlightened her on the fact that environmentalism is not just about trees and saving whales, but that environmental issues impact those who are most marginalized in society, mainly women, children and people of colour living in the global south. She hopes to play a value adding role in changing this dynamic.
Luqman Yesufu is groundWork's Global Green and Healthy Hospital (GGHH) Network Campaign Manager. He has a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria and a Master of Public Health with a specialisation in environmental health from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. He previously worked as an Industrial Hygienist at Solid Earth International, before joining groundWork in 2014
Luqman's main interests are the promotion of sustainability and environmental health, particularly in the health care sector, using behavioural change strategies to improve community relationship with environment, and to become an advocate for policies and practices that promote public environmental health.
As someone who has previously been involved in environmental health research, Luqman feels that working at groundWork gives him an opportunity to be proactive in his desire to make a difference to the environment, making it safe and sustainable.
Gillian Waterworth is groundWork’s Bookkeeper. She has taken numerous accounting and tax courses, including Pastel Accounting and Pastel Payroll. She joined groundWork full-time in 2012, after having worked part-time for a number of years. She previously worked as Senior Bookkeeper at Warmingtons, and Jacques Theron and Associates.
For Gill, the personal connection she had with the organisation through Bobby and Gill for over a decade, she has always been interested in groundWork’s work and admired the organisation has accomplished.
Bathoko Sibisi is groundWork's Administrative Assistant. She has a N6 Secretarial Diploma from Pietermaritzburg Technical College, and has previously worked at First National Bank and Environmental Justice Networking Forum, before joining groundWork in 2001.
Bathoko grew up in Kwamakhuta township near Umbogotwini, where noxious smells from Kynoch and Tioxide would waft into her home on a daily basis. At that stage, there were no organisations such as groundWork to assist the community in how to deal with these polluting companies. She recognises the importance of groundWork's work in relation to this, as when these companies were shut down by civil society organisations, her community could breathe again.