Meet The Team
Bobby Peek has been groundWork's Director since its launch in 1999. He has worked on environmental justice issues since 1995, starting as a community activist in south Durban. In 1998, he received the Goldman Prize for Africa for uniting the Durban communities against polluting industry in south Durban, South Africa, through the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance. He advises on various national and international environmental justice strategies. He has received an honorary PhD from the Durban University of Technology.
Waste Campaign Manager
He is the Waste Campaign Manager and has been instrumental in the formation of South African Waste Pickers Association, which is a growing movement that unites waste pickers from throughout South Africa. Prior to joining groundWork, he worked with environmental consultants and spent some time teaching. Musa has a Bachelor of Social Science Honours Degree, majoring in Environmental Sciences, Policy and Development from University of KwaZulu Natal and holds a Project Management Diploma from Varsity College.
UMI Waste Project Campaigner
Asiphile Khanyile works as the UMI Waste Project Campaigner. She joined groundWork in 2021. Asiphile is passionate about academic research, waste management, and working with communities. Prior to joining groundWork, Asiphile worked as an intern specialising in environmental education and waste management. She holds a degree in Geography and Environmental Management and a postgraduate degree in Environmental Science from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She is the recipient of the 2021 Albert T Modi Ubuntu Award for her outstanding inter/multi/transdisciplinary master's research at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
GAIA Communications Coordinator
Carissa Marnce works as the Communications Officer for Africa’s Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), and has done so since 2020. She holds a National Diploma in Journalism from the Durban University of Technology and is currently studying towards a postgraduate degree in Journalism. Carissa has experience in writing for local news media and enjoys using various types of online media tools.
Coal Campaigner - Mpumalanga
Thomas Mnguni is groundWork’s Community Activist. He joined the team in 2015. He is one of the co-founders of the Greater Middelburg Residents Association, which focuses 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, which aims to protect people from abuse and illegal arrest, especially during protest action. He co-founded the Highveld Environmental Justice Network (HEJN), a network of six towns, 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 became part of management.
Coal Campaigner - KwaZulu Natal
Robby Mokgalaka is groundWork's Coal Campaign Manager. He joined groundWork in 2014. 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. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Law and his LLB from the University of KwaZulu Natal. Before joining groundWork, he was a research intern and manager at UKZN, a research assistant at the Medical Research Council and a Candidate Attorney at the Legal Aid Board.
Media and Communication Campaign Manager
Tsepang Molefe is groundWork’s Media, Information and Publications Campaign Manager. He joined groundWork in 2018 Tsepang is passionate about social and environmental justice issues, and he believes that communities have the potential benefit from developing and running their own small-scale economies. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Economics from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Prior to joining groundWork, he worked independently with a number of publications as a writer and content developer, and he also gained experience in corporate South Africa working for ABSA, BATSA, SABMiller, and Coca-cola SA.
Shelley Paterson CA (SA)
Shelley Paterson CA (SA) is groundWork’s Financial Director, and joined groundWork in 2018 as a Financial Consultant. Her role is to provide support in NGO compliance and reporting to funders. Her exposure in different companies has afforded her the opportunity to obtain extensive experience in many types of business environments, including finance, manufacturing, retail and consulting as well as different types of non-profit organisations. Shelley finds it rewarding supporting organisations that are making a difference in the world. She has held various positions in the past, including audit manager, financial director and as a chief financial officer for another national environmental NGO.
Environmental Health Campaigner
Mafoko Phomane is our Environmental Health Campaigner. Mafoko is a public health professional and researcher with over 15 years of experience in the public health and development sectors in South Africa and Lesotho. She has held project coordinator and research positions at the Rural Health Advocacy Project with Wits Health Consortium in South Africa, as well as district-level HIV program roles at the Ministry of Health in Lesotho. Mafoko holds a Master of Public Health degree, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Human Resources, and monitoring and evaluation experience.
Gillian Waterworth is groundWork's Bookkeeper. She joined groundWork full-time in 2012, after having worked part-time for a number of years. She has always been interested in groundWork's work and admires what the organisation has accomplished. She previously worked for the Chartered accounting firms Alan English & Co as a bookkeeper and then moved on to Warmingtons and Jacques Theron & Associates as a Senior Bookkeeper.
GAIA Africa Regional Coordinator
Niven Reddy is groundWork’s Campaign Research and Technical Support Manager. Since joining groundWork in 2016, Niven has shifted from general campaigns research to focusing his time as the African Regional Coordinator for the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) and the #BreakFreeFromPlastic movement. After graduating in Environmental Management he spent a few years facilitating social science courses at a Maritime college before working as a junior environmental officer at an environmental planning consulting company.
Executive Assistant to Director
Joan Cameron is based in Johannesburg and has enjoyed an association with groundWork since 2014, providing admin and logistics support to various projects through a number of short-term contracts. In late 2019, Joan was appointed to the post of Executive Assistant (part time) to Bobby Peek, Director of groundWork. Joan has considerable previous experience in senior administrative posts at Wits University and with a range of local, national and international NGOs with diverse spheres of interest. She also works as a freelance editor for various publishing houses, independent authors and students working on dissertations and theses.
Rico Euripidou is groundWork’s Campaign Coordinator, a position created in groundWork to manage and support campaign staff in the strategic alignment of groundWork’s six campaigns. He has been with groundWork since 2005. His interests lie in working on issues of energy, chemicals policy, climate change and public health, all of which are, of course, closely interrelated. He trained as an Environmental Epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom.
Writer and Researcher
David Hallowes writes the annual groundWork Report on the state of environmental justice.He has worked…
Writer and Researcher
David Hallowes writes the annual groundWork Report on the state of environmental justice. He has worked as an independent practitioner doing research and facilitation with civil society organisations across a range of sectors, including environment, education, career information, labour, land and rural development and organisation development. In 1992, he organised Earthlife Africa's International Environment Conference where the concept of environmental justice was introduced and from which the Environmental Justice Networking Forum was formed. He has a BA from what was then the University of Natal and an MA from the University of Essex in the UK.
Environmental Justice Education Manager (Junior)
Tsholofelo Sepotokele is the Environmental Justice Education Manager (Junior) at groundWork and is instrumental in the planning and the facilitation the Environmental Justice School for activists. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities, with majors in Anthropology and Development Studies. She has also obtained an Honours degree in Journalism and Media Studies from Rhodes University, where she focused on Critical Social Theory, Critical Media Studies, and Critical Research Methodologies. Tsholofelo is currently writing-up her thesis for her Masters in the same field. She possesses expertise in module coordination, higher education lecturing, data collection and analysis, and research report writing. She equipped with knowledge of social, decolonial, and sustainable development theories aimed at improving advocacy and awareness raising interventions.
Avena Jacklin is groundWork’s Operations Director. She joined groundWork in 2020. Avena innovated soil ameliorants produced from alien invasive wattle trees. She is the winner of the Mpumalanga Female Farmer Award (2007, 2009) and runner up in the 2008 Grassland Society of Southern Africa’s Peter Edward Award for Best Conservation Farming. She has 25 years experience in environmental consultation including compliance, mine closure, rehabilitation and public participation. She was the Project Coordinator for the SDCEA- DN Air Quality Project in 2002 and in 2018 worked on the Just Energy Transition Exchange with groundWork and SSNC.
Environmental Justice Education Coordinator
Jeanne Prinsloo plans and co-ordinates the groundWork Environmental Justice School for activists. There have been five annual schools since 2014. Together with Bobby Peek, she has written papers describing the rationale and process of the school. Jeanne is also a teacher and has engaged in curriculum development relating to education, media and gender over several decades both for university and NGO courses.
Global Green and Healthy Hospital (GGHH) Coordinator
Azeeza comes into this position with over 6 years of experience working for Gauteng Health as an Assistant Director for Research, Policy and Capacity Building. Azeeza has been involved in policy formulation and managing projects that are in line with Sustainable Development Goals and the National Development Plan. She was instrumental in developing Safety, Health, Environment, Risk, Quality (SHERQ) policy in the Department that guided the occupational health and safety aspects of readjusting to the COVID-19 pandemic in public healthcare facilities. Azeeza has a master's degree in Medical Virology, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Management. Health, integrity, truth, justice and activism are core values that inform her career choice.
Senior Just Transition and Coal Campaign Manager
Michelle Cruywagen joined groundWork in 2022 as a Senior Just Transition and Coal Campaign Manager, her work includes support to the Africa Coal Network (ACN), Life After Coal Campaigns and capacitating grassroots activism. Prior to joining groundWork, she provided input to GIZ’s Climate Support Programmes response to the IKI call for proposals for a Just Transition to a decarbonised Economy. Michelle has an MPhil in Sustainable Development and her masters thesis explored the cost of a just transition in South Africa. Her career includes 20 years of strategic communications experience.
Assistant Coordinator for Africa Coal Network
Nerissa Anku is a Assistant Coordinator for Africa Coal Network. She is based in Ghana. Nerissa is an energetic individual who longs to contribute towards building better a world by addressing the challenges of Africa’s energy sector and its related climate issues. She hold PhD in Sustainable Energy Management and a MSc in Energetics and Environment.
Thembeni Ngcobo is the groundWork office caretaker. She joined groundWork in 2020.
Thembeni Ngcobo is the groundWork office caretaker. She joined groundWork in 2020.
GAIA/BFFP Africa Plastics Campaigner
Merrisa is a Masters graduate, her thesis was focused on assessing the levels of microplastic pollution within the Knysna Estuary. Prior to her current role, Merrisa has been walking a path among the strong youth (Youth for Marine Protected Areas – Youth4MPAs) in South Africa through advocating for increased ocean protection.
Logistics & Admin Manager
Bathoko Sibisi is groundWork's Logistics & Admin Manager. She has been with groundWork since 2001. She grew up in KwaMakhutha Township in South Durban adjacent to toxic industrial production, which is from where her interest in environmental justice stems. She obtained her N6 Secretarial Diploma from Pietermaritzburg Technical College. She worked at Environmental Justice Networking Forum, before joining groundWork.
Climate and Energy Senior Campaign Manager
Yegeshni Moodley is a groundWork’s Climate and Energy Senior Campaigner.