Merle Mcombring-Hodges

Ms Merle McOmbring-Hodges (Chairperson)

Ms Merle Henriette McOmbring Hodges has over thirty years’ experience in Science Education and Academic Leadership. She has managed major capacity development and Executive leadership development initiatives funded by the British Council, USAID, UASAID and the EU. She sees the green Economy, Community development and social entrepreneurship as essential components of the HE Curriculum. She has been the CapeNature board Chairperson since 1 December 2016.

Vision for CapeNature
My vision is that CapeNature will be supported to effectively and efficiently carry out its environmental mandate through transparent, inclusive and participatory leadership.

“The Western Cape is the home of the most biodiverse fauna and flora. It is our duty to let it live on for our children.”

Dr_Colin_Johnson_ProfileDr Colin T Johnson (Vice Chairperson)
Dr Johnson was appointed to the board in May 2016 and became Vice Chairperson on 1 December 2016. He is a botanist with special interest in ethno botany (the inter-relationship between plants and people). From 1980 to 2008 Dr Johnson occupied senior management positions at different higher education institutions and national structures related to agriculture, water and botanical gardens. He is currently a member of the Langeberg Municipality Protected Area Advisory Board and Table Mountain Trust fund. As the Western Cape has a great cultural diversity, many people still use a wide variety of plants in their daily lives for food, fuel, medicine, water and the other necessities of life. In addition the region has seen great changes in population migration resulting in the socio-cultural and environmental landscape Dr Johnson hopes to address.

Vision for CapeNature
My vision is for CapeNature to be recognized and experienced as the conservation authority of the Western Cape and that it be seen as a public entity that is proactive to deliver on its mandate of:
• conserving the biodiversity for future generations
• expand the conservation economy and provide the goods and services that will enhance the quality of life for all while at the same time
• sustain the environmental integrity of the Province

Mandla MchunuAdvocate Mandla Mdludlu

Advocate Mandla Mdludlu joined the labour market as a Clerk of the Court at Mount Frere in the Eastern Cape in the seventies. He later joined the Department of Public Works in Mafikeng in what is currently known as North West Province, before he worked for Good Hope Teachers Training College in Cape Town. He has served as Board member for many organisations including the Estate Agents Affairs Board on two occasions, the National Home Builders Registration Council and Western Cape Rental Housing Tribunal. He also served as one of the Board of Directors for the Cape Town International Convention Centre (Pty) Ltd. Because of his legal background he was appointed in the past to chair the Valuation Appeal Boards for three municipalities: the Cape Winelands, Langeberg and Stellenbosch Municipalities.  He was also appointed to be an Audit Committee member for Social Cluster Audit Committee which was a combination of four departments in the Western Cape. He is currently a member of the Audit Committee for Drakenstein Municipality, the largest municipality outside Cape Town.

Vision for CapeNature
My vision for CapeNature is that education drives must be conducted to inform the public at large that biodiversity boosts ecosystem productivity, where each species, no matter how small, has an important role to play. It is my firm belief that all species on Earth depend on each other for survival. The people must be informed that plants are of great use for both orthodox and traditionally trained doctors in order to win the battle against deforestation with its catastrophic consequence.

Biodiversity conversation is important for the Western Cape and South Africa at large because “Scientists know we must protect species because they are working parts of our life-support system” by Paul Ehrlich.

Bruce Mckenzie

Dr Bruce McKenzie

Dr Bruce McKenzie studied at the University of Cape Town from where he obtained his PhD in 1984. He has lectured at the University of Transkei, University of Western Cape and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, where he is presently employed. He lectures in Conservation Ecology and has supervised 10 Masters Degrees and published over 40 research papers and reports. Dr McKenzie had a ten-year interrupted period away from academia when he was the Executive Director of the Botanical Society of South Africa (BOTSOC) between 1997 and 2008. During this time he managed various administrative and conservation programmes and projects. These included close co-operation with Conservation Agencies such as CapeNature.

Vision for CapeNature
I believe CapeNature has a very challenging mandate in being the major custodian of Biodiversity Conservation in the province. This challenge needs to be centred about involving the public at large, communities surrounding conservation areas and developing sound partnerships to champion biodiversity conservation, in arguably the hottest hotspot in need of conservation in the world.

Danie NelMr Danie Nel

After obtaining a legal qualification from the University of South Africa, Mr Danie Nel served in the department of Justice as Public Prosecutor and Magistrate. After 14 years of service he switched to local government in which he has been involved for the past 30 years, mainly in the fields of development and enforcement of legislation, strategic planning and development, capacity building and corporate governance.

Vision for CapeNature
My vision is to establish and maintain CapeNature as a centre of excellence for nature and biodiversity conservation.

“It is essential to sustain the high levels of biodiversity in the Western Cape in order to achieve the Provincial objective of creating opportunities to provide all inhabitants with health, food, wealth, fuel and the vital services our lives depend on.”

Paul-Slack-Board-MemberMr Paul Slack
Mr Slack was appointed to the board in July 2015. He has been a CA in South Africa since 1981, and is a SETA accredited Assessor and member of the Principal Officers Association. Mr Slack is a business owner, as well as service as a Chariman for many services, boards and councils in South Africa, as well as service as a board member in various organisations. He has also lectured in many universities and colleges and brings a wealth of financial experience to the CapeNature board.

Vision for CapeNature
My vision is to ensure that CapeNature continues to receive unqualified audits, maintains its financial sustainability and monitors and improves financial controls throughout.

 

Mervyn-Burton-Board-MemberMr Mervyn Burton
Mr Burton was appointed to the CapeNature board in July 2015. He is a Chartered Accountant with extensive General Management and Financial Management experience in various industries including FMCG, Retail, Logistics, Fishing and Financial Services, among others. His fields of expertise are Corporate Governance, Strategic Management, Enterprise Risk Management, General Management, Business Turnaround Management, Financial Management, Accounting, Taxation, and other related fields. He holds various non-executive director positions and audit committee member positions both in the private and public sectors. He runs his own consultancy focusing mainly in the Corporate Governance Space.

Vision for CapeNature
My key focus on the CapeNature board will be Governance and Income Generating projects and partnerships. I am a member of the Marketing and Eco-Tourism Board Committee.

aubrey-redlinghuis-board-memberProf Aubrey Redlinghuis
Appointed to the board in July 2015, Prof Redlinghuis is a Geographer by training and has occupied senior management positions over decades at different higher education institutions. He is serving on the Conservation Committee of CapeNature.

Vision for CapeNature
My vision is that of CapeNature being a public entity synonymous with excellence in biodiversity conservation in the Western Cape and which will endeavour to pro-actively enhance its impact given its mandate to promote and ensure nature conservation, furnish services and provide facilities for research and training and generate income – a public entity having a passion for achieving its major objective of balancing the interests of (a) the environment, (b) the conservation economy and (c) society whilst sustaining the environmental integrity of the Province.

Prof-Hendricks

Prof Denver Hendricks
Currently the Deputy Dean for Postgraduate Education in the Faculty of Health Sciences at UCT, Denver Hendricks was seconded from the Division of Medical Biochemistry where he is an Associate Professor with a PhD in Medical Biochemistry. His primary research area involves the molecular mechanisms of cancer with a focus in oesophageal cancer, characterising proliferative and survival pathways in cancer cells and exploring approaches to block cancer cell growth. Prior to his employment at UCT, he worked as a visiting scientist at the NIH in Bethesda, USA (1996-2000). Before that, he lectured in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), where he taught Biochemistry for seven years (1989 – 1995). He obtained his PhD from the Department of Medical Biochemistry, UCT (1989), and his BSc from UWC (1981).
He has a passion for the natural environment, with long-standing interests in birding, the spectacular plant life in the Cape Floral Kingdom (with a particular interest in our orchids, proteas, ericas and pelargoniums) and anything that catches his eye while walking. He has worked extensively in the environmental education arena for many years, in the NGO sector, specifically providing training to secondary school teachers and their learners, and retains a strong interest in this area.

Vision for CapeNature
My vision is for Cape Nature to be the most efficient, effective and exciting custodian of our natural environment in the country, for our reserves to be used more effectively as a teaching and learning resource for our schools and for higher education, and for our reserves to have value for the people of South Africa.