Conference Chair: Ria Wilken

Ria Wilken holds a MSc in Environmental Science (Urban ecology) North-West University, Potchefstroom.   She has experience in biological science since 1982 where she did agricultural research for 19 years before focusing on the protection of the environment.  Ria presented courses at the Department of Agriculture for production of vegetables, the use of soil analysis for fertiliser recommendations and receive various awards at different conferences where she present talks.  She worked as an Environmental Officer for Department of Environment, in the Pollution & Waste management section in Nelspruit for 5 years before starting her own company, UmSinsi Environmental Specialists in 2006.  She manages various EIA projects, writing BA & EIA reports, Environmental Management Programs and Plan & rehabilitate disturbed open spaces.  Ria also apply for Water Use and Waste Licenses and act as ECO for different projects.  Ria is very passionate about preserving our environment for future generations and this can been seen in the following memberships namely:   Bird Life Lowveld, Honorary Rangers (SANPARKS) – Lowveld Region, City of Mbombela Environmental Management Committee, Plant Specialist Group, Botanical Society of South Africa, the South African Association of Botanists (SAAB), Land Rehabilitation Society of Southern Africa (LaRSSA).  Ria is a member of the International Association for Impact Assessment, South Africa (IAIASA) since 2003 and was a committee member and chairperson for the Mpumalanga Branch and was a committee member on the National Executive Committee (NEC).  Ria is chairperson for the Conference Organising Committee for 2019 in Bela-Bela.

Conference Vice-Chair: Phil Radford 

Philip Radford, holds a BSc degree in Environmental Science from the University of Plymouth, United Kingdom (UK) and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Environmental Protection from Salford University, UK. Philip has completed a variety of other courses in environmental management, waste management and pollution prevention.

Philip spent most of his career in the United Kingdom working for the Environment Agency as an Environment Officer dealing with environmental audits, compliance inspections and enforcement of illegal waste operations. He relocated to South Africa in 2009 to work as an Environmental Consultant in Nelspruit before joining Ecoleges in 2011. 

Philip carries out environmental monitoring and auditing (ECO and Auditor) and has prospects for becoming a registered lead auditor under the South African Auditor and Training Certification Authority (SAATCA).

Philip is a member of the Honorary Rangers Lowveld Branch and IAIAsa. He is also in the process of registration with the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions.
He is currently the IAIAsa, Mpumalanga, Branch Chair.

Programme Director/Technical Co-Chair: Sean O'Beirne

Sean has more than twenty years experience in the environmental assessment and management field. In that time he has lead a series of large scale EIAs most notably in the aluminium, petrochemicals and transport sectors. Sean has many years of experience with international lenders and has worked in the Russian Federation, the Middle East and various countries in Africa in this capacity. He has conducted a number of due diligence reviews for lenders and a number of independent peer reviews on large scale EIAs. Sean is a certified environmental assessment practitioner having being certified in 2008.

Technical Co-Chair & Sponosrhsip: Taryn Bigwood

Taryn Bigwood has a Masters Degree in Geography focusing on Zoo-Geomorphology from the University of Pretoria and has a consultancy (Environmental Management Assistance PTY LTD) in Delmas since 2013.  Taryn has been exceptionally dedicated and passionate about the environment as she spends much of her free time in the veld, birding, hiking, visiting game reserves and diving.  

Her career path has also displayed passion for the environment, as she has worked in environmental related fields for the Government (Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority, EMI Grade 2) and the private sectors for approximately 14 years, which has given her a comprehensive insight into all facets of Environmental work enabling her to assist companies and organizations to eliminate their environmental risks on any level by undertaking all environmental licensing (EIAs, WULA and WML) compliance monitoring, compliance auditing and environmental systems implementation and closure audits.  

Taryn is a member of the IAIAsa (is on the branch committee for Mpumalanga, the Conference Operations Comitee and the secretary for the National Execrative Comity) Southern African Association of Geomorphologists (SAAG) and Landscape and Rehabilitations Society of South Africa (LaRSSA) and has presented a number of courses and presentations at a number of different organizations and companies to improve Environmental awareness and to further knowledge on the subjects she loves.    

Conference Secretary: Riana Bate


Riana Bate obtained her B.Sc. Degree in 1982 from the University of Pretoria and thereafter, a B.Sc. (Honns.) degree in Entomology in 1983 at the same university. In 1984, she joined the Agricultural Research Council, Grain Crops Insitute, as a Junior Researcher. At the same time, she enrolled for a M.Sc. at the University of Stellenbosch.

Riana Bate obtained her M.Sc. Degree in 1986 and worked as a Researcher for Grain Crops Insitute for 14 years in the field of grain insect pests. During this time, she submitted papers at different congresses of the Entomological Society as well as the Crop Production Society. She is the author of 5 scientific papers as well as several articles for popular subject magazines and has given a number of speeches at farmer’s days as well as helped with training of subsistence farmers.

Riana Bate joined GEOVICON (Pty) Ltd in 1998 as a biologist and assists with the compilation of several Environmental Management Program Reports. She has also completed several Floristic as well as Stream Bio-Monitoring, Biodiversity and Wetland assessment contracts. 

In 2006, Geovicon (Pty) Ltd formed Geovicon Environmental (Pty) Ltd, where she is one of three co-directors, and still specialising in the biological field. Geovicon Environmental (Pty) Ltd has a level 2 B-BBEE rating. 

She is a Professional Natural Scientist registered with SACNASP.  She is a member of  IAIAsa, ESSA, SASCP, ZSSA, BOTSOC, SASAQS, SAWS, LEPSOC, AFRAS, DENDROSOC, BSA and LaRSSA.

NEC 2019/2020 President: Sabelo Nkosi

Sabelo B Nkosi is a member of the International Association for Impact Assessment South Africa (IAIAsa) and is currently the serving in the National Executive Committee (NEC) as President. In the past he has served on the NEC as President–Elect and Treasurer and has also served in the KZN Branch Committee for several years.

Sabelo is also a Senior Environmentalist at eThekwini Municipality in the Biodiversity Impact Assessment Branch of the Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department. His work is mainly focused on private EIAs and various land use planning applications with the aim of protecting the Municipality’s biodiversity assets. He has been involved in a number of biodiversity offsets within the Municipality and has an interest in the implementation of biodiversity offsets, and is member of the Municipal Planning Tribunal. He is a grade 2 Environmental Management Inspector (EMI) and has a keen interest in environmental law.

Sabelo has a BSc Honours degree in Entomology, where he studied plant-animal interactions such as pollination systems and biological control, and a BSc degree in Botany and Entomology, both from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He is registered professional ecologist with the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP) and is one of the founding members of the Environmental Assessment Practitioners Association of South Africa.

Lastly, Sabelo enjoys team sports, especially rugby, which has earned him some amateur colours and has won a number of trophies within the KZN Rugby Union structures. He also has taken up road running and enjoys travelling, music, photography and cooking, particularly for his wife and three children.

Past President & Awards: Robyn Luyt

Robyn is currently the Deputy Director: Environmental Impact Management at Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land & Environmental Affairs. She obtained an MSc cum laude (Botany) from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal and is registered as a Professional Natural Scientist with the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions. She began her career in integrated environmental management in the private sector before moving to government, and has over 15 years experience in the field of IEM.

Marketing: Danielle Sanderson

Danielle is an experienced Social and Environmental Consultant. After gaining her Master’s degree in Social Science (Environmental Management) and working in the corporate sector for a number of years she has become an independent consultant, primarily focused on her background in Environmental and Social Assessment. One of Danielle's passions is the role that people play in developing integrated environmental management; particularly within South Africa. Part of this passion includes volunteering on the both the KwaZulu-Natal and national IAIAsa committees. 

Danielle's experience includes a variety of projects and roles in the field of environmental management, socio-economic development and social impact assessment. Environmental management experience includes numerous licensing and permitting processes, sustainable development integration, and compliance auditing. Socio-economic consulting experience includes coordinating and facilitating community participation, stakeholder engagement and specialist Social Impact Assessments. Danielle has experience in a number of sectors including renewable energy, mining, industrial, waste management, infrastructure and oil and gas.

Entertainment: Claudine Roos


Claudine commenced her studies in 2002 at the North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus (then the PU for CHE) and attained the degree BSc. Biological with cum laude in 2004.  In 2005 she enrolled for a Masters Degree in Environmental Sciences (Ecotoxicology), which focused on persistent organic pollutants in the water environment in the Vaal Triangle region – a Water Research Commission (WRC) project.

She completed the degree in 2006 and graduated with distinction in 2007, also at the North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus).  From 2007 to 2010 she studied a PhD in Environmental Sciences (Ecotoxicology) at the North-West University.  The study focused on persistent organic pollutants in major rivers and cities in South Africa.  The findings of her study was published in a WRC report titled “Persistent Organic Pollutants in the Water Environment”.  During her studies she represented the NWU at national and international conferences and published her work in peer-reviewed journals such as Chemosphere, Soil and Sediment Contamination, and Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, amongst others.

In 2010 she enrolled for an internship programme at the Centre for Environmental Management (CEM), North-West University.  In the same year she was appointed as a Junior Environmental Management at the CEM.  She was promoted to a Senior Environmental Manager in 2014, where her main functions included short course training and environmental-related consultation.  Her focus was mainly on waste management, hazardous substances management, integrated water resource management, ISO 14001-based environmental management systems, environmental auditing and environmental impact assessment (EIA).

She was the environmental assessment practitioner responsible for the application for waste management licences and supporting EIA processes for 15 landfill sites in the North-West Province, which formed part of the Presidential Outcome 10 project in 2014.

In 2014, the Department of Science and Technology (DST), as part of the Waste Roadmap Project, approached Universities throughout South Africa to facilitate the development of a post-graduate degree in Waste Management.  Claudine was one of the team members at the North-West University who was responsible for the development of a BSc. Honours Degree in Environmental Sciences, with specialisation in Waste Management.  The degree was offered for the first time in 2015 and in 2016 the first ten students graduated the degree.  She was also involved in the development and delivery of a Masters Degree in Environmental Management with specialization in Waste Management, which commenced in 2017.

Claudine started working as a Senior Lecturer at the School of Geo- and Spatial Sciences of the North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus) in June 2018, where she is responsible for teaching and supervision related to waste management, environmental management and hydrology.

She is a SAATCA-registered EMS lead auditor and a Professional Natural Scientist registered with SACNASP.  She is a member of the Institute for Waste Management of South Africa (IWMSA), the Chemical and Allied Industries Association (CAIA), the Society of South African Geographers (SSAG) and the International Association for Impact Assessment of South Africa (IAIAsa).  She has contributed to these associations by attending workshops, presenting papers and contributing to conferences. 

Stewardship: Patrick Sithole 

Dr Patrick Sithole has been a member of IAIAsa for over 10 years and served the organisation at various levels from provincial level to the National level. He holds a PhD (Environmental Sciences) and an MPhil in Environmental Law and Management. Patrick is also registered with SACNASP as a Professional Environmental & Chemical Scientist, and with DAFF as a Registered Pest Control Operator. He has over 20 years of experience in the Intergarted Environmental Management (IEM) sector in Southern Africa and he has done a lot of work in a number of countries across the African Continent. In the past 20 years, Patrick has worked on various infrastructure, development and strategic projects as an Environmental, ssocial and sustainability expert. He has also been involved in climate change, health, compensation on historical land claims and involuntary resettlement projects across Africa. 

Stewardship: Desmond Musetsho

Desmond is an established Environmental Scientist, who is the founder of Naledzi Environmental Consultants (Pty) Ltd, which has served the South African environmental sector for 16 years. He possess a Master of Environmental Management Degree, a Master of Business Leadership Degree and is currently reading for his PhD in Environmental Sciences. 

Desmond is also very passionate about teaching, and has for many years been attached to both the University of Venda and the University of Limpopo, teaching environmental sciences on a part time basis. He occupies several positions with leading professional bodies in South Africa, ranging from EAPASA to SACNASP. He has participated in various community environmental initiatives, such as playing a role as the leader of the Mphaphuli Community’s environmental desk.

Desmond's experience includes a variety of projects and roles in the field of environmental management, cleaner production assessments, water use licence applications, permitting processes, sustainable development integration, community participation and compliance auditing.

Transformation & Social media: Abulele Adams

Abulele has been working as an environmental assessment practitioner at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) since January 2014. She holds a Master of Science in Geography from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth. Her undergraduate degree was a BSc in Environmental Science with Honours in Geographic Information Systems. She also completed a year of courses in the Sustainability Economics and Management Masters programmes at the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, Germany.

Abulele has worked on the Strategic Infrastructure Projects including the National Wind & Solar PV Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), Electricity Grid Infrastructure SEA as well as the Square Kilometre Array SEA which were commissioned by the national Department of Environmental Affairs.

Local Logistics & Co-Ordination: Retha Weir

Retha Weir has twenty two years’ experience as an environmentalist; she started as an environmental education officer at Lapalala Wilderness School after finishing her BSc degree at the University of Port Elizabeth. In 1994 she excepted a job in the Environmental Education section at National Department of Environmental Affairs, and in 1996 she moved to the wetland section within the department and then to the EIA section in 1999 where she evaluated Scoping and EIA reports on National Level. Retha completed her BSc Honours part-time at the University of Witwatersrand before moving into private practice.

In 2002 Retha started Complete Environmental Services, which she has been heading since then. Complete Environmental Services has a very good track record and vast experience in conducting environmental impact assessments, drawing up environmental management plans and managing specialist teams for EIA and WULAs for large and small industries, mines, housing and lodge developments.

Students: Nqobile Lushozi

Nqobile Lushozi recently completed his MSc (Geoinformatics) at Stellenbosch University. His master’s research was funded by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) through their Studentship Programme. He holds an Hons (Environmental Sciences) obtained from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in the Pietermaritzburg campus where he began his involvement with IAIAsa in the year 2015. Before starting his MSc he was an intern at the South African Environmental Observation network (GFW node) under the DST/NRF (2016/17) Internship programme. His research interests are in the application of GIS and remote sensing techniques for water resource management. 

DEA Representative: Milicent Solomons

Milicent Solomons is a Director: Strategic Infrastructure Development with the Department of Environmental Affairs in Pretoria. She holds a Masters Degree in Geography and Environment Management from the University of the Western Cape. 

Milicent is responsible for the processing of applications for environmental authorisations as required in terms of the National Environmental Management Act, 1998 as amended. In addition, she is responsible for coordinating with government departments including Department of Trade and Industry through the InvestSA One Stop Shop, Department of Economic Development through the Presidential Infrastructure Coordination Commission and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries through the Oceans Economy Operation Phakisa to ensure that the environmental impact assessment processes for strategic initiatives/ and projects are not unduly delayed and applications are processed proficiently. 

She is no stranger in the environmental industry, having spent approximately 12 years as an environmental consultant, prior to joining the department in 2011. She was mainly responsible for the management of environmental impact assessment applications, including public participation processes and drafting and review of environmental impact assessment reports. Her experience includes client liaison, project management and implementation of environmental, social and sustainable development objectives. 

Milicent specializes in integrated environmental management and has successfully served a range of clients, including Eskom, Transnet, SANRAL, ACSA and a number of clients in the renewable energy sector.

DEA Representative: Vusi Skosana

Director: IEA: National Infrastructure Development (NID)
Department of Environmental Affairs: Head Office Pretoria.

I am qualified Environmentalist with the highest qualification being a MSC in environmental Ecology from University of Pretoria (Tukies) and a Master’s Degree in Environmental Management from the University of Free State. 
I have over 25 years’ experience in the field of environmental management and natural sciences. Started my working career in Mpumalanga for the provincial department of agriculture, land and environment. Also worked for Gauteng (GDARD) and the Department of Water Affairs all in the field of environmental management.  I currently work for the national Department of Environmental Affairs: Head Office Pretoria as a Director: Integrated Environmental Authorisations (IEA): National Infrastructure Development (NID) responsible for EIAs review, processing and authorisation.

DEA Representative: Sindi Dlomo


Ms Sindiswa (Sindi) Dlomo is a Deputy Director: Public Sector within the Directorate:  National Infrastructure Development with the Department of Environmental Affairs in Pretoria. She holds a Degree in Environment Management, Geography from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. 

Sindi is responsible for the processing of applications for environmental authorisations as required in terms of the National Environmental Management Act, 1998 as amended. She specializes in integrated environmental management and has successfully served a range of clients, including but not limited to Rand Water and other water boards, Department of Water Affairs, Department of Public Works, National Department of Forestry and Fisheries, Eskom, SANRAL, and a number of clients in the environmental management sector.  In addition, she is directly responsible for coordinating with all national government departments which may impact on the environment when implementing their respective mandates and for the facilitation of EIA applications, mainly those which are cross boundary (provincial and national borders in collaboration with the various SADC regions and applications coming through international waters), to ensure that the environmental impact assessment processes for government and national based strategic initiatives are not unduly delayed and applications are processed efficiently.

She has approximately 10 years’ experience within the environmental management field, having previously worked for both the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism and the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD). Sindi has vast knowledge of the sector through having been responsible for the management of environmental impact assessment applications, review and evaluation of environmental impact assessment reports and drafting of final decisions and various other formal communique. Her experience includes client liaison, project specific engagements with EAPs and proponents and the implementation of environmental, social and sustainable development objectives. Sindi also seats in various forums, and other Authorities and Environmental Monitoring Committees.

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