SECTION27 Board Appoints New Executive Director

5 November 2018

The Board of SECTION27 is pleased to announce the appointment of Ms Umunyana Rugege as the new Executive Director of SECTION27, effective 1 January 2019.  Umunyana currently holds the position of Deputy Director.  Following a planned leadership transition and a rigorous recruitment process, the Board enthusiastically agreed that Umunyana was the best candidate to succeed Mark Heywood, who will step down as Executive Director on 31 December 2018.

The appointment demonstrates the organisation’s commitment to helping to build a new generation of human rights leaders.

Umunyana is a legal practitioner who has been with SECTION27 since its inception in 2010. She holds BA in Environmental Studies (magna cum laude) from the State University of New York at Buffalo; a Master of Professional Studies (MPS) from Cornell University; and an LLB from the University of Cape Town and has clerked at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. As an admitted attorney in South Africa, she has more than 10 years of post-qualification experience in the legal profession.

Umunyana has played a leading role in a number of cases including the ex-mineworkers’ Silicosis class action (in which Section27 represented TAC and Sonke Gender Justice as a friend of the court); the Competition Commission’s Health Market Inquiry (where she made representations to the panel on behalf of patient groups at the public hearings); and the Life Esidimeni matter (in which she was part of the team that fought for the rights of mental healthcare users).

Umunyana will lead the organisation supported by a strong executive committee that includes Dr Faranaaz Veriava, Head of Education; Sasha Stevenson, Head of Health; Kuda Chimone, Head of Finance; Elinor Kern, Head of Fundraising; Ntsiki Mpulo, Head of Communications; and Violet Kaseke-Palmer, Head of Human Resources and Administration. She will also be backed by additional staff members who constitute a formidable team of activists, researchers, lawyers, communications experts and others committed to social justice.

Mark Heywood has been a remarkable leader who, together with fellow founding director, Advocate Adila Hassim, has built an organisation that is a prominent civil society voice in South Africa. Mark remains committed to the fight for social justice and will continue to work closely with civil society organisations such as SECTION27.

For more information regarding this appointment contact: Ntsiki Mpulo on 082 782 7143 or mpulo@section27.org.za

For more information on the work of SECTION27 visit the website at http://section27.org.za

Ends