Meet The Team

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Staff

Bobby Peek

Director

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.

Musa Chamane

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.

Asiphile Khanyile

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.

Carissa Marnce

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.

Thomas Mnguni

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.

Robby Mokgalaka

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.

Tsepang Molefe

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.

Marina Agortimevor

Marina Agortimevor

Coordinator of Africa Coal Network (ACN)

As a renewable energy (RE) advocate, Marina joined groundWork in July 2023. In her role as Coordinator, she works with ACN’s 80 member organisations in 24 countries towards a just transition…

Marina Agortimevor

Coordinator of Africa Coal Network (ACN)

As a renewable energy (RE) advocate, Marina joined groundWork in July 2023. In her role as Coordinator, she works with ACN’s 80 member organisations in 24 countries towards a just transition. This involves linking initiatives across Africa ensuring cohesion between campaigns and struggles that aim to stop coal development and, when relevant, gas and oil extraction to ensure justice for communities and workers already impacted by these fossil fuel industries. On taking up her new role Marina said, “It birthed a dream where I wanted to see Africa transition to sustainable sources of energy in a way that will be just, people friendly and regenerative. I get to do that with ACN. It creates an opportunity to unify Africa and bring about solidarity in working towards a just energy transition.” Marina has long experience in energy, RE projects, business development and the electrical/electronics manufacturing sector. She is a certified professional engineer in Ghana, holds a BSc in Electrical Engineering and a Master’s in Business Administration.

Mafoko Phomane

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

Bookkeeper

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.

Niven Reddy

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.

Joan Cameron

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

Campaign Coordinator

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.

David Hallowes

David Hallowes

Writer and Researcher

David Hallowes writes the annual groundWork Report on the state of environmental justice.He has worked…

David Hallowes

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.

Tsholofelo Sepotokele

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

Operations Director

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.

Jeanne Prinsloo

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.

Azeeza Rangunwala

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.

Michelle Cruywagen

Michelle Cruywagen

Senior Just Transition and Coal Campaign Manager

Michelle Cruywagen

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.

Dorothy Brislin

Dorothy Brislin

Senior Communications Campaigner

Dorothy is a communications specialist with over 20 years’ experience serving in the human rights space, working to achieve environmental, economic and social justice…

Dorothy Brislin

Senior Communications Campaigner

Dorothy is a communications specialist with over 20 years’ experience serving in the human rights space, working to achieve environmental, economic and social justice. As a feminist activist, she is thrilled to have joined the formidable team of campaigners at groundWork. Previously, she headed communications and campaigns for an international NPO providing strategic communications support to 17 Programmes, across 16 SADC countries and has worked with teams in various contexts internationally, regionally, nationally and at local, community level. She has led campaigns and supported social movements in relation to struggles on land, mining and extractives, food sovereignty, safe cities, arts, media and freedom of speech among others. Her core aim is to support people from all walks of life to find the power in their voices, tell their stories and be heard. She champions the use of arts and creative expression for social change in her work.

Nqobile Ranela

Nqobile Ranela

Coal Campaign Administrator

Nqobile Ranela studied at the Nelson Mandela University whereby she obtained a degree in BSc Environmental Sciences majoring in Botany and Geography…

Nqobile Ranela

Coal Campaign Administrator

Nqobile Ranela studied at the Nelson Mandela University whereby she obtained a degree in BSc Environmental Sciences majoring in Botany and Geography. She enjoys everything that touches on the topic of ecology. In April 2022 she was appointed as an intern at groundWork.

Thembeni Ngcobo

Thembeni Ngcobo

Office caretaker

Thembeni Ngcobo is the groundWork office caretaker. She joined groundWork in 2020.

Thembeni Ngcobo

Office caretaker

Thembeni Ngcobo is the groundWork office caretaker. She joined groundWork in 2020.

Merrisa Naidoo

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.

Bathoko Sibisi

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.

Yegeshni Moodley

Yegeshni Moodley

Climate and Energy Senior Campaign Manager

Yegeshni Moodley is a groundWork’s Climate and Energy Senior Campaigner.

yegeshni@groundwork.org.za

Siphesihle Mvundla

Siphesihle Mvundla

Energy Democracy Campaigner

Siphesihle Mvundla

Energy Democracy Campaigner

Siphesihle Mvundla is groundWork's Energy Democracy Campaigner. He joined groundWork in 2023. Before assuming his role at groundWork, Siphesihle taught Political Ecology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. His research interests are in the environmental governance and management space in the third world.

Neebha Budhoo

Neebha Budhoo

Africa Operations Manager

Neebha Budhoo works as the Africa Operations Manager for the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA). She holds postgraduate degrees in English and Criminology from the University of KwaZulu Natal…

Neebha Budhoo

Africa Operations Manager

Neebha Budhoo works as the Africa Operations Manager for the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA). She holds postgraduate degrees in English and Criminology from the University of KwaZulu Natal...

Nontobeko Makhaye

Nontobeko Makhaye

Africa Coal Network (ACN) Administrator

Nontobeko joined groundWork in October 2023 and has more than eight years’ experience in her field, Nontobeko is an expert in managing office operations, maintaining records, scheduling meetings, and organising events for program beneficiaries and delegates…

Nontobeko Makhaye

Africa Coal Network (ACN) Administrator

Nontobeko Makhaye is the Africa Coal Network (ACN) Administrator . With more than eight years’ experience in the field, Nontobeko is an expert in managing office operations, maintaining records, scheduling meetings, and organising events for program beneficiaries and delegates. She has worked across South Africa for local and international organisations focusing on environmental education, natural resources management, event coordination and community engagement. Nontobeko has previously worked with marginalised communities, youth and women in programs that aim to bring about a positive change in their lives and has great passion for environmental justice and education. She holds an Honours degree in Geography and Environmental management from UKZN and a Program M&E qualification from UCT.

Ciza Mukabaha

Ciza Mukabaha

Africa Coal Network (ACN) Assistant Coordinator

Ciza Mukabaha is the Africa Coal Network’s assistant coordinator, he  joined the groundWork team in October 2023…

Ciza Mukabaha

Africa Coal Network (ACN) Assistant Coordinator

Ciza Mukabaha is the Africa Coal Network's assistant coordinator. Ciza joined the groundWork team in October 2023 to work with the ACN Coordinator, particularly serving the francophone region in linking different coal, gas and fossil fuel struggles. “The goal is to stop the expansion of coal and secure justice for affected communities and workers. As part of this team, I can contribute to fighting all forms of injustice - climate, energy, food, air, water etc. I am concerned with the well-being of people and human rights; social and environmental justice are no different,” he said. Ciza’s qualifications include a Bachelor’s degree, a Postgraduate Certificate in Education and a Master’s degree in Population Studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Before joining groundWork, he was involved in Education, Research and Development for several organisations including the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and the Department of Education.