Promoting excellence in public participation in Southern Africa

Board of Directors

Meet our board

IAP2 SA relies on the passion and leadership of a board of volunteer directors elected annually by members. Our directors bring a diverse range of skills, talents and experience to grow the organisation into a powerful professional network. We are always looking for committed individuals to join this team. If you are interested to get involved, let us know.

The 2015 Board was elected at our 2015 Annual Meeting on the 6th of May. Read more about our Directors below.

Lerato Ratsoenyane – Chairperson

Lerato Ratsoenyane: Social and Labour Plan Practitioner: Ledjadja Coal (Pty) Ltd

Lerato is a certified IAP2 Public Participation Practitioner with more than 10 years’ experience in stakeholder engagement within the environmental consultancy and mining industries. She currently serves as a Social and Labour Plan (SLP) Practitioner for Ledjadja Coal (Pty) Ltd. Key focus areas: Effective planning, budgeting, implementing, monitoring and reporting of Social and Labour Plan, Mining Charter Scorecard targets, as well as Corporate Social Investment initiatives, through strict governance and legislative compliance. She is also responsible for the development, mentoring, coaching and capacity building of local Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises. She was previously involved in local and international EIA projects in Liberia, Mali and Botswana and served as a Committee Member and Secretary for the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA): Gauteng Branch. Lerato has served on the IAP2SA board and Executive Team since 2013.

Erika du Plessis – Vice-Chairperson

Erika du Plessis: Stakeholder Engagement Specialist and Owner: African Stakeholder Engagement Consultants (AFSEC)

Erika is the Regional Service Line Lead for the Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Unit at Aurecon South Africa. She has been involved in social and public participation processes for the past 19 years in various parts of the world, mostly in developing countries like Ghana, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique and South Africa and has extensive experience in public participation, social impact assessments and dealing with sensitive stakeholders.

She builds trust relationships between companies and their stakeholders; conveys risk information; conducts public participation for environmental authorisation processes in mining, industry and other; Erika conducts public sensitivity analyses pertaining to companies and projects (existing or proposed), conducts corporate or community risk assessments as part of SHECQC assessments.

Erika manages communication and awareness creation campaigns to achieve clients’ goals while maintaining close contact with the needs of marginalised communities. She is experienced in building capacity of communities by way of posters, fact sheets, one-on-one discussions and site visits to similar projects.

Erika holds international certification from the International Association of Public Participation (USA), and is currently the Vice Chair for the International Association for Public Participation (South Africa) (IAP2SA).

Nicolene Venter – Secretary

Nicolene has 19 years’ experience in the public participation and stakeholder engagement . She has managed the stakeholder engagement components of large and complex environmental authorisation processes across many sectors in Africa, including in South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Kenya. She is well versed with local regulatory requirements as well as international best practice principles for community consultation and stakeholder engagement, as well as international guidelines and performance standards. She has particular experience in the power sector, most notably on large linear power lines and distribution lines, as well as renewable energy projects. Existing and previous clients include Eskom, various Independent Power Producers (IPPs), and Environmental Consultants (Lidwala Environmental, Savannah Environmental, SiVEST, Naledzi Environmental).

Ken Smith – Representative to the IAP2 Federation Board

Ken Smith

Ken Smith

Ken Smith has been involved in various aspects of environmental management in Southern Africa since 1985, after having studied in the mid-70’s for a B.Sc. (Zoology and Entomology) at Rhodes and graduating with a B.Sc. Agric. Degree in 1985 at the University of Natal. Ken became increasingly involved with the communities associated with the mining activities as a result of the introduction of Integrated Environmental Management to the mining sector.

Consequently he undertook public participation in the areas of scoping the terms of reference for impact assessments and closure objectives, amongst others. He gathered skills and experience in Stakeholder Participation, Conflict Resolution and Risk Communication by completing an internationally recognized five module certificate course and several associated special courses. Ken is registered as a Professional Natural Environmental Scientist, is a Life Member (and currently a Board member) of the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) and a member of the IAIA. He currently represents the Southern African Affiliate of the IAP2 on a Task Force with the US and Canada to develop a programme for the certification of Public Participation professionals.

Timothy Hart

Tim Hart: Corporate Social and Development Specialist at SRK Consulting

Tim is a social and development practitioner with more than 40 years of experience in the field. Areas of expertise include social assessment, social and development planning, resettlement planning, organisational assessment, stakeholder engagement and relationship building, mediation and conflict resolution and corporate social investment.

Tim has led and contributed to projects in the natural resources sector (mining and water) in Southern, West and East Africa. He has also worked in South America and Russia. Clients include financiers, donors, mining companies, regional development agencies and government departments charged with resource management and regulation. Tim has a particular interest in securing community benefits and lasting development through mining, and advises in this context.


Sediko Rakolote

Sediko Rakolote

Sediko has over 15 years’ experience in the NGO, Government, and Corporate sectors.

His expertise includes stakeholder/public relations management, communications, resource mobilisation, marketing, policy formulation, policy analysis, policy implementation, policy monitoring and evaluation, research, writing, strategic planning and leadership.

He is a proponent of participatory democracy and in 2015 passed the NQF Level 8 certificate in Public Participation at Stellenbosch University with distinction.

He is currently a part-time student at Unisa studying towards Masters of Public Administration. His thesis is on the role of ward communities in encouraging community participation. He is also studying towards a Certificate in Advanced Conflict Resolution with the Advanced Dispute Resolution Network.

Dr Thato Shale

Dr Thato Shale

Dr Thato Shale

Dr Thato Shale obtained her Doctoral Degree in Natural Science from the University of Natal in 2003. She has a vast experience in Environmental and stakeholder management through her various positions which she occupied in mining industry, academia, consulting and government sectors.

She is currently at Trans Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA) as an organisation’s Social Specialist. Her role is to manage, guide, monitor and oversee the performance of social teams in the implementation of TCTA bulk water supply projects.

She ensures that the professional service providers and the contractors align the implementation of the projects to the desired stipulated outputs in projects’ specifications, legal requirements and best practices. Her specialist involvement in the projects focuses on:

• maximizing stakeholder participation and benefits;
• minimising negative impacts;
• maximising job creation;
• developing skills;
• sharing of information and education and awareness;
• mentoring the social team;;
• restoring livelihood for the directly impacted; and
• Managing and mitigating of social risks.

She worked at Gold Fields mining company as a Stakeholder Relations Manager, implementing social and labour plan (SLP) and building and maintaining relationships with key stakeholders. She further worked as a consultant for different mining houses as Senior Transformation Advisor, under the Managing Transformation Solutions Company, where she compiled social and labour plans for new and amended existing mining rights. Prior to these, she worked as a conservationist for Gauteng Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Environment and consulted on biodiversity conservation for Lesotho Highlands Water Project during the construction of the Mohale Dam. She project managed the study on health and economy relationship conducted by Wits and Princeton Universities.

Amelia Visagie

Amelia Visagie

Amelia Visagie

Amelia is currently employed in Aurecon as a Senior Consultant in the Stakeholder and Communication Unit in the Tshwane Office. She has over twenty six years’ experience in government and the private sector. She is a Business Consultant in various areas, including stakeholder management; public participation, enterprise and skills development; incubation centres with exit strategies; community development projects; skills audits; new venture creation; entrepreneurial development; social investment; training, facilitation, training needs analysis and curriculum development and franchise opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Amelia is always looking for opportunities to develop Private Public Partnerships through collaborative innovative processes.   She is a natural motivator who, through teamwork, believes that all stakeholders have something valuable to add to any project in place through the creative design thinking processes. 

She started her career working in local, provincial and national government departments as a strategic thinking partner in development of Training and Development strategies.  Subsequent to her time in the public sector she moved on to establish her own training and development company through which strong relationships were developed with the University of Pretoria, government departments and private sector.  Her passion was and will always be to assist people to understand their personal strengths and assets and develop to their full potential.  She had been involved in various community research and development initiatives as well as public participation projects when she joined Aurecon.   This portfolio has expanded to include stakeholder engagement strategies, sustainable Socio Economic Development and Enterprise development initiatives that stretches from tender phase right through to implementation and exit phases. Her goal is to ensure that these initiatives are both interactive and co-creative. Amelia strongly believes that stakeholder engagement and communication between role players is the glue of any project and is the differentiator that sets great projects apart.

She is the founder member of Chameleon Performance Improvers, a training and development company.   She has a BCom (Hons) degree in Industrial Psychology from the University of South Africa (UNISA).  She is registered as a Chartered HR Professional South African Board for People Practices (SABPP) and is a Commissioner of Oaths.  She is also registered at the International Association for Impact assessment in South Africa (IAIAsa) and is delivering a paper on inspiring integrated environmental management: crafting innovative solutions to persistent Environmental and social problems.  She is serving on the African board of the International Association of Public Participation (I&AP2). 

Amelia is an Accredited Assessor and facilitator with a national qualification in Adventure-related Experiential Learning (AEL); a Public Participation and stakeholder management facilitator, Professional Coach; Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator and Neurolinguistics Practitioner. Her skills include project management, curriculum development, training and facilitation skills, and negotiation skills. She presents different courses on a regular basis, including mentoring and coaching; leadership and managerial development, performance and time management; managing effectives meetings; telephone etiquette; customer services; diversity awareness workshops; assertiveness workshops; and secretarial development course at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) and for University of Pretoria. Further courses presented by Amelia include team building interventions; Community Pedestrian Safety course, Eat What You Grow vegetable garden course, conflict management courses; motivational courses and interventions; creativity in the workplace; and entrepreneurial development. She helped to develop the Advanced Management Development Programmes (AMDPs) and Emerging Management Development Programmes (EMDPs) at the University of Pretoria, which are currently still presented to officials in the Public Service. Amelia advises and assists consultants and companies in the development of their training and development policies, and aligns their course material.

In addition, she has experience in the management of procedures and policies, and ensuring the implementation thereof; quality assurance of proposals, course material, presentations and assessments; negotiations with shop stewards, unions, external consultants and managers. She is a facilitator in community processes through Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) facilitation on construction and other developmental programmes and projects.

She was a finalist in the South African Business Women of the year competition. Amelia was the founding member of the Public Service Trainers Forum (PSTF), a national government forum as well as the Chrysalis Foundation for abused girls. She is doing motivational talks on women day events annually. She was a speaker on Creativity in Training at the PSTF Conference, the annual Rooi Rose Women’s day event as well as the Cancer Association Women’s conference. She also wrote numerous motivational articles for different magazines. She is presenting at a paper at the IAIAsa conference in August 2017 on Innovative solution for persistent social problems.

Amelia believes that communities can no longer be thought of as complex masses of needs and problems, but should rather be viewed as diverse and potent webs of gifts and assets.  Each community has a unique set of skills and capabilities to channel for community development.  Everyone should have the opportunity to be a producer of their own and their community’s well-being!  This is a great opportunity for Public Private Partnerships.  It takes EVERYONE to build a strong and safe community!

Christine Breet

Christine Breet

Christine Breet

Christine Breet holds a Master’s degree in Communication Management on the role of communication during change managementand founded Christine Breet Communication in August 2016.

She is a GAP stopper and communication consultant. She spots the problem and stop the problem with a communication solution. She utilise my business skills to set up three new business ventures with the Yes Group. This includes a new private university and a GAP Year Shenstitute for Entrepreneurs – VSheCS.

This entailed research, communication and marketing, international project management and project implementation. She specialise in the full spectrum of corporate communication aspects, including internal and external communication, change management, project management and planning. She assists TUT (the Emalahleni and Soshanguve campuses) with communication and marketing project management. She is a social mobilisation practitioner (community development) and participate in and with stakeholder engagement. She has excellent organisational and execution skills with great experience in marketing, public relations, media relations and advertising.

Currently working for Aurecon Consulting Engineers as a Manager for Communication and Stakeholder Engagement. She is a guest speaker, facilitator and lecturer for short courses for S-Leer and POP-Up in various communication fields. She also assist S-Leer with all their communication needs. She serves as a director of the Shenternational Accredited Business Communications for the African chapter and a member of the DevCom team to win three international Gold Quills for our Sappi Abashintshi programme (2016 and 2017) as well as a Prism Award (2017). She also serves on the Blue Ribbon judging panel for the Shenternational Quills in 2016 and 2017 in South Africa and Atlanta, USA.

Previously Christine was employed as the Senior Communication Consultant Leader at DevCom (Development Communication Solutions) in Pretoria. They specialise in strategic communication, communication research, project communication, social mobilisation as well as internal- and development communication. She was responsible for client liaison, communication strategy, social mobilisation, enterprise development and was a member of the executive team. She is an ABCD professional – Asset Based Community Development that serves to assist with social mobilisation in communities. She had various corporate clients that we assisted. She is an accredited associate for DevCom.

Previously she worked as the Deputy Executive Head: Development at Solidarity Helping Hand. In her role as Deputy Executive Head she was responsible for the strategic and operational leadership in the departments marketing, communication, national projects, national chapters and social welfare. It was her responsibility to oversee the communication and marketing of the organisation to our internal and external target markets.

She was also responsible for the implementation of national projects and training of our volunteers with regard to social welfare. At Helping Hand she was the brand custodian and set the strategy of the organisation in conjunction with the other executive heads. Under her supervision and the media presence was increased with 350%. She implemented the corporate identity of Helping Hand as well as brand manuals. The national project growth increased with 120% and she initiated and implemented 5 new national projects. She acted as a mentor for various persons in the Solidarity Movement.