Team

 Subcommittee opposing mining expansion

90fb6502-e3fd-4333-8a4a-763b90fbbd5fSheila Berry

Sheila Berry has been associated with the iMfolozi Wilderness Area and wilderness for more than 30 years. She was one of the pioneers of Wilderness Psychology in South Africa in the early 1980s and facilitated wilderness experiences for traumatized youth at risk. Most of these young people came from violent townships and were already pursuing a life of crime. The opportunity to experience the peace and healing of the iMfolozi Wilderness, the Eastern shores of Lake St. Lucia and the Drakensberg offered hope and contributed to transforming lives. She attended three World Wilderness Congresses and was at the Congress in Scotland, in 1983, where the Wilderness Action Group (WAG) was formed. She has been WAG ’s Deputy Chairperson for several years and is also a trustee of the Ian Player Foundation, the Magqubu Ntombela Memorial Trust and the Global Environmental Trust. She has worked with indigenous people, particularly hunter-gatherer communities in Africa, and spent four years on Bazaruto island in Mozambique, working with artisanal fishing communities. As a champion of wilderness and an environmental activist, she made a submission to the Leon Commission during the Save the St.Lucia campaign, where she documented the therapeutic value of wilderness, based on research she conducted for her Masters’ degree. She was also involved in Save Our Vaal Environment, a campaign that successfully opposed the Wonderwater open cast coal mine proposed by SASOL that would have contaminated the Vaal river and destroyed a vital wetland.

RogerRoger Porter

Roger Porter worked in the formal nature conservation field for about 39 years for the former Natal Parks Board now known as Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW) and continues to undertake conservation projects in his private capacity.  His field of expertise is in developing World Heritage in Africa.  For example, Roger has assisted the IUCN in the extension of the Mount Kenya World Heritage Site, and the governments of Lesotho and Botswana in the preparation of the nomination dossiers to list Sehlabathe National Park and Okavango Delta, respectively, as natural World Heritage sites. He qualified as an ecologist and rose through the scientific ranks to become Head of Conservation Planning in EKZNW. He wrote the EIA for each of 14 proposed dams in the Mfolozi catchment and co-authored the conservation- tourism development alternative to mining at St Lucia as well as the Response Reports to that proposal. He also authored the nomination dossiers that were submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage Center for the successful listing of the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park (now the iSimangaliso Wetland Park) and the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park as World Heritage Sites. He has been involved with many conservation planning projects including the Maloti Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation Area and Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation Area programmes.

SifisoSifiso Senzo Dladla

Sifiso Dladla was born and bred in Pietermaritzburg. He became a community activist while still at school when the Greater Edendale Development Forum (GEDF) was formed, a poverty reduction strategy of Msunduzi Municipality focussed on the Edendale area. He later became GEDF’s Communications Officer. He holds various certificates from international and local training institutes covering a broad range courses including gender equality, Alternative to Violence Project (AVP), Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), and a Leadership course by the University of KZN. He worked as a journalist and a film producer before dedicating his life to community activism. The change in career direction came as a direct result of producing a film for SABC’s 50/50 about the Somkhele communities living adjacent to Somkhele mine, close to the boundary of the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park in Zululand. The social, economic and environmental injustices he witnessed spurred him on to join forces with Somkhele elders and leaders committed to upholding both tribal and the constitutional laws of South Africa that protect the well-being of all citizens through the provision of a healthy environment, clean air and water, and sustainable livelihoods.  In May 2014, he became involved in Fuleni where he has been supporting community activists opposed to Ibutho Coal’s proposed Fuleni Anthracite Project.  Since January 2016 he has been working at UCT in the Land and Accountability Research Centre (LARC)  but is still actively involved with GET and the Somkhele and Fuleni communities.

SalSally Jackson

Sally Jackson’s deep passion for the environment makes her a committed and active GET trustee, while being a mother to two young children.  After travelling to many different countries and experiencing various cultures, South Africa drew her back home, where she worked as an administrator with a number of NPOs focusing on social upliftment, sustainable livelihoods and care for the natural environment.  These experiences, together with a desire and need to help preserve our precious wilderness to share with future generations, enable Sally to be effective in helping move GET forward.  Her main contribution to GET is assisting with fund-raising, including the organisation of events.

DSCF0082Rob Symons

Rob Symons is an organic farmer, writer and blogger with a passion for wilderness and environmental and social justice issues. He is also a web designer currently specialising in the NGO sector and is developing the websites for EarthLore and the Magqubu Ntombela/Ian Player Foundation.

Rob is interested in using the internet to spread awareness about environmental and social issues, and is involved in a project to communicate environmental and sustainability matters for Verdant Life. Rob acts as webmaster and manages social media for the Save Our iMfolozi Wilderness campaign.  The website has won runner up for two consecutive years in the SA Blog Awards – Best Environmental Blog category.

Legal Team

Kirsten Youens

Kirsten Youens

Kirsten has 16 years experience in environmental litigation, conservation, remediation and pollution law as well as corporate policy and compliance auditing. She has consulted extensively, researched and provided opinions on various statutes, bylaws and ordinances, and many aspects of environmental law. She has prepared a number of ISO14001 registers, audited clients for ISO14001 compliance and assisted clients in ensuring due diligence and legal compliance.

Kirsten has advised clients regarding decisions and issues which may have present or future enviro-legal implications and provided assistance in mapping the way forward in reducing risk, solving issues and complying with the law. She has given advice on waste management specifically with regard to the safe handling, and disposal of waste; advice on water management specifically with regard to registration of water uses, licensing requirements, effluent discharge permits and water pollution; advice on development law specifically with regard to Environmental Impact Assessments, building approvals and land use approval and application for and negotiation with government departments regarding permits such as the APPA permit and Scheduled Trade permit.

Kirsten has been extensively involved in advising clients in pollution control of hazardous substances and the clean-up, public claims and other problems related thereto. She prepares opinions and reports concerning environmental legislation, as well as the implementation of requirements under the Promotion of Access to Information Act, the Protective Disclosures Act, the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, the National Road Traffic Act and its Dangerous Goods Regulations. She has prepared and submitted comments on the environmental Bills published for public comment and presented papers on the proposed Waste Management Bill and the regulations promulgated under the National Road Traffic Act.

Kirsten obtained a Bachelor of Social Science degree, an LLB degree and Masters in Environmental Law (cum laude) all at Natal University, Durban, South Africa. She wrote her Masters thesis on Animal Rights: A Moral and Legal Discussion on the Standing of Animals in South African Law.

Kirsten completed her Articles of Clerkship in general litigation at Shepstone and Wylie Attorneys in Durban during 1999 and 2000. In December 2000 she resigned from that firm and took up a position as a Professional Assistant in Garlicke & Bousfield’s environmental department, to focus on her main interest in law and be mentored by Norman Brauteseth. When Norman Brauteseth left to open his own firm, Kirsten joined him there and after a further three years Kirsten opened her own practice and has been practising for her own account since then.

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