Staff

KIRSTEN WHITFIELD - Communications Officer

I’ve worked as Advocacy/Communications Officer since 16 January 2017.

Most of the work I’m doing at the moment is centred on sprucing up SECTION27’s website – making it more user friendly, adding content where it’s needed, shifting things about – I’m also doing social media upkeep and working on a few campaigns (Know Your Constitution, Sexual Violence in Schools, etc.) and otherwise just anything the Comms/Advocacy team throws my way. I’m still learning and enjoying the process of getting to know the organization and all the great people who work here.

I stick around because I love the work we do here, because it’s amazing to me to see people coming together to affect actual material change in people’s lives. I think a lot of people dream of making a difference but there is so seldom any concrete sense of what that means and I feel like I’m getting a chance to see that here.

Prior to coming here, I was studying Linguistics at UCT for what feels like a hundred years and doing various writing and editing jobs as well as tutoring at UCT. It was during my years at UCT that my belief in social justice started to take shape and during the years of #FeesMustFall that it began to find real direction. That was the first time that I really saw what collective action could do and just how much work needed to be done to begin improving the lives of the country’s majority.


PAMELA CHOGA - SLSJ Research Fellow

I started working at Section 27 on the 9th of January 2017. I am a SLSJ (Students for Law and Social Justice) Research Fellow for the Education Team. I work under the supervision of an attorney and I assist with research and drafting for literary projects, and upcoming litigation. I also consult with clients, who are mostly schools and this entails a lot of travelling. My job also encompasses community outreach programmes such as conducting sexual violence workshops in communities.

Section 27 has a lovely environment and the people are super friendly. I applied for this job because I want to contribute to the wonderful work Section 27 is doing for communities in both the health and education sectors.

I did my LLB in 2015 and I’m about to complete her LLM in International Economic Law at Wits University. I was a member of the Students for Law and Social Justice.


BHAVNA RAMJI - Attorney

I’ve been an Attorney in the Education work area since 1 September 2016.

I conduct litigation on behalf of interest groups, learners and school governing bodies on cases aimed at achieving equality in the public education system.  I am working on cases involving learners with disabilities, and on school funding and resources.

I am at SECTION27 because I believe in strengthening the State while making it more accountable and effective.

I started working 2010 and have worked in private practice and in the non-profit sector.  Before joining SECTION27, I worked primarily on litigating housing and property cases, representing protestors, and working on behalf of Western Cape farmworkers.


LILLIAN MWANANGULU - Office Assistant

I joined SECTION27 on 11 May 2015. I am office the Office Assistant.

I look after everyone and ensure we work in a happy and clean environment. I also keep the ship running, i.e. I make sure we have coffee.

I stick around because there are some really cool people working here, who are saving the world one soul at a time, and it’s great to be a part of that team.

Before I joined SECTION27, I worked at CARE International as a Research Assistant where I did work in TB, HIV/AIDS and the ARV roll out in different provinces. I am the mother to two lovely children whom I love very much and I am currently studying to be an accountant.


VUYOKAZI GONYELA - NSP Review Advocacy Officer

I started working in January 2016. I work as the NSP Review Advocacy Officer.

My job is to create wider strategic awareness about National Strategic Plan on HIV,TB and STIs. I am also responsible for identifying advocacy issues within the NSP through monitoring implementation of this plan. I also provide capacity building and technical support for provincial civil society forums within aids councils and through activists engagement, particularly focusing in Eastern Cape, Limpopo, Kwa Zulu Natal, Mpumalanga and Gauteng.

I stick around because SECTION27 is a great and cool organisation to be part of. The organisational commitment towards advocating for the realisation of the Bill of Rights gives a human touch to the lived realities of most poor and vulnerable populations which are mostly undermined by those in power.

Before SECTION27, I was working for Treatment Action Campaign as a Provincial Organiser in Eastern Cape and also part of the National Capacity Building team that was running national and regional training. My provincial responsibilities included monitoring implementation of the Provincial Strategic Plan and identification of advocacy campaigns,  supporting TAC branches through prevention and treatment literacy information, identification and execution of district and provincial advocacy campaigns. I worked for TAC for at least 12 years from branch level to Provincial positions which included leadership roles in governance structures giving political leadership to the province.


TENDAI MAFUMA - Researcher

I’ve been working as a Legal Researcher with the Public Health Team since 11 January 2017.

I do everything from researching issues of law and human rights, interviewing and taking statements from deponents, developing partnerships with other human rights organisations to policy research.

I applied to SECTION27 because I’m passionate about social justice and legal literacy. The biochemist in me could not resist SECTION27’s descriptor “catalyst for change”.

Before joining SECTION27, I completed a Master of Science in Biochemistry and LLB degreed at Rhodes University. I also clerked for Justice Madlanga at the Constitutional Court.


TEBOGO SEPHAKGAMELA - Researcher

I started to work at Section27 on 10 June 2013. I worked as an Intern while busy with studies until I got employed as a Researcher in 2016.

Among other thing, I do field research (visit schools to monitor challenges), advocacy training to community members and school governing bodies, and engaging with Limpopo Department of Education about challenges in the schools.

There was nothing much I was doing before I joined Section27 besides concentrating on my LLB degree studies. My time was dedicated to my studies and doing some church work, like administration.

 


NTSIKI MPULO - Senior Communications Officer

I’m a Senior Communications Officer. I’ve been working here since 1 August 2015.

My role is to facilitate communications from our organisation to our key constituencies through various media including social media, mainstream media and our website. I also provide stories and content for the SECTION27 and TAC publication, Spotlight. I draft media statements and field media queries, as well as assist with organising events and manage the branding and merchandise for our organisation.

I stick around because no day is the same.  I’m involved in work that shapes the future of our country and make meaningful input into activities that make a difference in the lives of some of the most vulnerable communities in South Africa.

I’m accidental activist.  Prior to working for SECTION27, I left corporate South Africa because I wanted to write more about health and education which have been my passion for decades. I did a stint as a journalist at a weekly magazine in the Media24 stable. Before that, I was involved in the tourism industry in various organisations from the private sector to an agency of government.  I hold a Bachelor of Commerce from Wits University and a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism.


FARANAAZ VERIAVA - Senior Researcher

I started working at SECTION27 on 1 September 2014 as a Senior Researcher and Legal Counsel working primarily in the field of education rights. 

I provide guidance and strategic support to the Education Team at SECTION27.  I work closely with other members of the team in developing and building the education cases at SECTION27.  I assists in the drafting of legal papers and occasionally appear in court as counsel for SECTION27.  I’ve also written academic articles and produced research reports and other articles on the work of SECTION27.  Most recently, together with other SECTION27 staff, I compiled and edited a Basic Education Rights Handbook to make basic education law and policy easily accessible.

I work at Section27 because I am committed to improving the education system to ensure a quality basic education for all South African learners.

Before coming here, I worked at Idasa and headed the Western Cape office of the South African Human Rights Commission. I was a founder of the Education Law Project at the Centre for Applied Legal Studies at Wits University. I also worked as an advocate of the Johannesburg Bar.


ELINOR KERN - Grants Coordinator

I’ve worked as Grants Coordinator from Monday to Wednesday since 1 May 2015.

I’m responsible for reports and proposals to donors.

I stick around at SECTION27 because social justice is important to me.

Prior to working here I studied languages and librarianship but have been working in the funding and fundraising sector for the past 16 years. I’ve worked for the Heinrich Boell Foundation, Sacred Heart College and Tshikululu Social Investments and in various other consulting positions.

 


NOMATTER NDEBELE - Communications Officer

I started working on SECTION27’s Communications Teams on 1 June 2015

My duties include media liaison, advocacy work and writing content for the organisation.

I stick around because I enjoy being part of a team that’s as dedicated to changing the world as I am.

Before I joined SECTION27 I was just another young thug trying to get off food stamps. I kid, I was a journalist at a news agency that was always looking for something a little more meaningful than daily market reports, but now I’m here and I am doing the things.


BASETSANA KOITSIOE - Executive Assistant

I have been Executive Assistant to the Executive Director and Director of Litigation at SECTION27 since 25 January 2016.

My duties are to manage and maintain the Executives’ schedules, appointments and travel arrangements, to arrange and co-ordinate meetings and events, and record, transcribe and distribute minutes of meetings.

I stick around because my work offers me a great deal of learning experience and I enjoy working with the team at SECTION27.

Before I came to SECTION27, I got a BA degree in Political Science and English Literature and an LLB both from the University of the Witwatersrand. My human rights and social justice involvement began in 2014, when I joined Student for Law and Social Justice. I was portfolio head for legal education and we ran constitutional literacy service initiatives in high schools in the inner city of Johannesburg. In 2015, I interned for a year, at the Centre for Applied Legal Studies for the Access to Information Programme and then I came here to SECTION27.


LUVO NELANI - Legal Researcher

I started work at SECTION27 on 18 January 2016. I work as a Legal Researcher in the Private Health Team.

I have primarily worked on the Health Market Inquiry and Access to Medicines. I am involved in advocating for intellectual property reform to broaden access to quality and affordable medicines.

I first became aware of SECTION27 while I was a student and I thought and still think the use of strategic litigation and advocacy is impactful in driving access to healthcare services.

I worked at Hogan Lovells before joining SECTION27.


NTOMBI MAPHOSA - Paralegal

I am researcher and I co-run the legal advice office. I started working at SECTION27 on 11 of January 2016.

I consult members of the public, take statements and do research on any legal issues they have. If their issue falls outside of the mandate of SECTION27 I refer them to one of our partner organisations and ensure that they receive help. I also do research and advocacy work on a few health matters such as TB and School Health.

I have only worked here for a little over a year but I have been exposed to so many opportunities and so many more are coming my way. I have gained so much experience in many different things and this is one of the reasons that I’m going to turn out to be a well-rounded human rights lawyer one day. This organisation is the only one of its kind and holds a special place in people’s hearts. It really does feel like being around family every day when you’re in the office.


KATE PATERSON - Attorney

I started at SECTION27 the first time on 17 June 2010, and the second time on 2 February 2015. I am an Attorney in the Education Team

I focus on education provisioning, school governance and sexual violence. My two major cases at SECTION27 have been BEFA v Minister of Basic Education (the textbooks case) and Komape v Minister of Basic Education.

I leave SECTION27 for the second time in May 2017, but my time at SECTION27 has been immensely rewarding, stimulating and formative. I believe strongly in the project and the people working in it.

I began my career as Mark Heywood’s personal assistant. At the time, I’d completed by undergraduate and Honours degree in Law and Politics. I studied my LLB degree at Wits while working at SECTION27. I then completed articles at Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa and returned to SECTION27 as an attorney.


THABANG POOE - Legal Researcher

Thabang Pooe graduated from the North West University in 2011 where she obtained her LLB degree. Nthabi, as she is commonly known was extremely involved in student politics and served on the Student Representative Council. She was also involved and served in organisations such as the Students for Law and Social Justice (SLSJ) and through her work for SLSJ she continued to work on projects aimed at equipping law students with the necessary skills to enter the legal profession; and on access to justice campaigns like the compulsory community service for law students campaign, student advice programme and research around legal education in South Africa.

She joined SECTION27 in January 2012 as part of a fellowship programme with SLSJ before working as a legal research assistant in 2013 focussing on cases related to the right to basic education, which includes work on sanitation in schools, provision of learner teacher support material in schools, school infrastructure and sexual violence in schools. Thabang clerked for Justice Madlanga in 2013-2014 before returning to SECTION27 as a legal researcher.


THUTHUKILE MBATHA - Researcher

I’ve worked as a Researcher at SECTION27 since 8 January 2014.

I run the Advice Office and the national campaign for Community Healthcare Workers calling for the recognition as an important workforce in the fight against HIV and TB.

I stick around because I believe in the cause and in empowering people to advocate for what is rightfully theirs.

A bit of my pre-SECTION27 background is that I am from Umlazi, South of Durban. I have a Bachelor of Social Science degree in Psychology and Anthropology. I also did a Master’s degree in Population Studies through the University of KwaZulu Natal. I worked for Maurice Webb Research Institute for a year as a Research Assistant. I have recently been appointed as the 2017 South African AVAC fellow, where I will be advocating for access to PReP for University students.


SAAMIAH JARDINE - Procurement & Admin Officer

I started as Procurement and Admin Officer in January 2013.

I handle all admin and travel related requests and queries. I do al credit card related purchases for events and meetings for SECTION27.

I stick around at SECTION27 because I love what I do here. Also I have a home away from home and a family away from family. I feel proud to work with all these amazing people doing absolutely amazing things for all the people of South Africa. Who would not want to stick around?

Before SECTION27, I was a mere accounting student looking for a part time job to help sustain me during my years at varsity. While at SECTION27 I managed to complete my accounting degree but decided to stay in my current position to learn more and grow with the organisation.


BRIDGETT MOHAPI - Financial & Admin Clerk

I’ve been Finance and Administration Clerk since 3 March 2014

I am responsible for providing financial administrative and clerical services in order to ensure effective, efficient and accurate financial and administrative operations.

I stick around because the environment is so good, the people are so supportive, and I believe in the work that SECTION27 is doing, fighting to provide humanity to people in how they handle their cases, how the Communications Department keeps us updated every time, etc.

Prior to joining SECTION27, I worked for various companies including Inet- Bridge (Financial data), Pearson Education Holding, Boe- Securities, and Legae- Securities (stock broker) at Johannesburg Stock exchange. My work ranged from back office support/office assistant to Settlement Administrator in stock broking firms. I have completed a course at Damelin RPA’s, Diploma computer course at S.E College, Intro to Bookkeeping with BOE and Sage Pastel.


THEMBI MAHLATHI - Executive Receptionist

I work at SECTION27 as an Executive Receptionist

I stick around here because I am not limited to small dreams. There is always an opportunity to dream bigger

Before I joined the winning team, I worked as a waitress and a Hairdresser.