Dr Zweli Mkhize

Minister of CoGTA

Dr Zweli Lawrence Mkhize is a medical doctor, legislator and politician. He was born in Willowfontein, Pietermaritzburg on the 2nd of February in 1956. He graduated with an MBChB degree from the University of Natal (now University of KwaZulu-Natal) in 1982. In 1983, Mkhize did his internship at McCords Hospital in Durban before being employed at Edendale Hospital in his hometown, Pietermaritzburg.


Dr Mkhize has played a pivotal role in the process leading towards the establishment of a democratic government. In 1986, he went into exile and continued with his medical practice in Swaziland and Zimbabwe. He returned to South Africa in 1991 to work at Themba Hospital in the Eastern Transvaal. Later the same year, he started his private practice in Pietermaritzburg.


Between 1991 and 1994, Mkhize served as a member of the ANC’s National Health Secretariat, the structure that was tasked with the responsibility of developing the country’s health policy. Dr Mkhize co-founded the Regional Health Forum and became a member of the National Health Forum.


Comrade Zweli Mkhize served as the provincial chairperson of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal from 2008, a position he was re-elected into in 2012. He played a pivotal role in the successful hosting of the 2010 World Cup Soccer tournament as the Chairperson of the 2010 World Cup Political Oversight Committee between 2006 and 2010. His previous appointments include MEC for Finance and Economic Development from 2004 to 2009. Mkhize also held the position of Chairperson of the ANC’s National Education and Health Sub-Committee and was leader of Government Business in KwaZulu-Natal between 2004 and 2009. He served as MEC for Health in KwaZulu-Natal from 1994 to 2004. He served as Premier of the KwaZulu-Natal Province from 2009 to 2013.


Dr Zweli Mkhize has been Chancellor of the University of KwaZulu-Natal since 2009. At the ANC’s 53rd National Conference in Mangaung, December 2012, he was elected as the Treasurer General of the African National Congress, a position he held until December 2017. 







Andries Nel

Andries Nel is South Africa’s Deputy Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs. As Deputy Minister for COGTA, he is, amongst others, championing the Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF) and the broader urban agenda of South Africa both locally and abroad. Prior to this he was Deputy Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development. He has been a Member of Parliament for the African National Congress since 1994 and holds a Bachelor of Civil Law from the University of Pretoria.


As an MP he has served as Deputy Chief Whip, Acting Chief Whip and House Chairperson of the National Assembly and participated in a wide range of portfolio and ad hoc committees. He has also served the constituencies of Pretoria Central, Centurion and Attridgeville as well as Waterberg in Limpopo and Midvaal in Gauteng.


He is National Co-ordinator: Legal and Monitoring of the ANC’s National Elections Team.

Before South Africa’s first democratic election Mr Nel was an activist in the National Union of South Africa Students, South African Students’ Press Union, Students for a Democratic Society, Students for Human Rights and the End Conscription Campaign. He has been active in politics since he attended high school in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

From 1996 to 2001 he was a member of the National Executive Committee of the ANC Youth League and co-ordinator of the Lawyers for Human Rights' Capital Punishment and Penal Reform Project between 1990 and 1994 and a member of ANC structures in the Pretoria area.


He is married to Kim Robinson, who describes herself as, “a New Yorker by birth and proudly South African by marriage.” She is CEO of Renaissance Strategic Solutions, a consultancy specialising in organisational development.






Gunther Adler

State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community

Gunther Adler was born in Leipzig in 1963. He completed his higher education and was involved internships in the medical sector. From 1986 to 1990 he did his medical studies, thereafter he went on to study political science, sociology and public law.

He has been involved in various positions in the service of the state:

1992 – 1994

Assistant to Dr Hans-Jochen Vogel, Member of the Bundestag

1998 – 1999

Research assistant to Minister President (retd) Dr h.c. Johannes Rau

1999 – 2004

Member of the Personal Office Staff of the Federal President, Office of the Federal President, Berlin

2004 – 2008

Office manager, National Executive Committee of the Social Democratic Party of Germany

2008 – 2009

Head of the Policy Planning Division and Planning Commissioner at the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development

2009 – 2012

Head of the Foreign Trade Division at the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development

2012 – 2014

State Secretary at the Ministry for Building, Housing, Urban Development and Transport of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia

2014 – 2018

State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety

Since 23 March 2018

State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community





Dy Currie


Dy Currie is Brisbane City Council’s inaugural Chief Planner and a highly experienced planning executive with national and international experience in planning and economic development.   Dy is also the President of the Commonwealth Association of Planners representing more than 40 000 planners around the world.   A past National President of the Planning Institute of Australia, Dy is a Fellow of PIA, an Honorary Lifetime Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (UK) and, also of the Urban Development Institute of Australia. 







Dr. Peter Geraghty FRTPI


Currently Director of Planning and Transport at Southend on Sea Borough Council in the UK, he is an as experienced practitioner having worked across all sectors – public, private and voluntary. He has held senior leadership roles in several local authorities. Peter was President of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) 2013-14 and Chair of the RTPI’s International


Committee and representative on the Global Planners’ Network, 2014-2017. He was the RTPI’s representative on the UK Built Environment Advisory Group for humanitarian Action (UKBEAG). Peter is currently the UK representative to the Commonwealth Association of Planners.


Peter is a graduate of the University of Liverpool from where he received a PhD and a Masters degree. As well as being a Fellow of the Royal Town Planning Institute; he is also member of the Chartered Institute of Building and a Fellow of the Association of Building Engineers and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts.







Kristin Agnello


Kristin Agnello is the Vice President (Canada) of the Commonwealth Association of Planners and Co-ordinator of the Commonwealth Women in Planning Network. A Registered Professional Planner with the Canadian Institute of Planners and a member of the National Association of Parliamentarians, Kristin holds cum laude degrees in fine arts, architecture, and urban design, as well as a professional certificate in international development.


A sought-after strategist, researcher, author, and lecturer, Kristin represented the Commonwealth Association of Planners at the World Design Summit in Montreal in 2017 where she participated in deliberating and ratifying the Montreal Design Declaration, the world’s first interdisciplinary design declaration. The declaration outlines a commitment from the world’s design organizations to leverage design for the betterment of living conditions for all, today and in the future.







Viral Desai MRTPI


Viral is a Senior Planning Consultant at Atkins and was RTPI Young Planner of the Year for 2015. Viral is strongly passionate about infrastructure planning, tackling the housing crisis and ensuring the issues of climate change are addressed through the planning system. Throughout his career he has worked in both the Public and Private Sector on a number of small, medium and NSIP sized projects, recently delivering an application to the UK government for a New Nuclear Power Station. As a Young Planner he believes that the profession needs to move forward as the world around the built environment rapidly changes to deliver a more sustainable future for all.


Viral is the Young Planners Co-ordinator for the Commonwealth Association of Planners (CAP). With CAP, he has built a network of Young Planners across the Commonwealth. The network has expanded considerably, aiming to share practice, ideas and tackle the issues of youth, climate change and urban planning across the Commonwealth.


Recently he helped deliver the Powering our common future: Urbanism In the Commonwealth Youth Manifesto to the Commonwealth Summit in London. This was a manifesto that was brought together through the CAP network, who inputted and consulted upon its drafting. The words of the Manifesto helped shape the final communique. He is very enthusiastic about ensuring that across the globe we can influence and improve sustainability by sharing practice. He believes in promoting the town planning outside the profession and delivering a holistic approach to sustainable development.







Dr Lauren Andres


Dr Lauren Andres is a senior lecturer in spatial planning at the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (University of Birmingham - UK). Her expertise sits within the field of urban studies and planning with a key interest in urban temporalities, air pollution and planning education. She has extensive expertise in leading and participating to interdisciplinary projects, in a variety of contexts mainly Europe, Africa and Brazil.


The key word summarising what she has been exploring for the last fifteen year is ‘urban transformations’, at different spatial and time scales. This includes social economic changes and their impact in the production of derelict spaces, environmental changes and challenges for sustainable and resilient planning and governance and political changes leading to various voices to interfere in the production of new urban spaces.







Dr Pingla Udit 


Dr Pingla Udit has more than 20 years’ experience in peace, conflict and humanitarian issues on the African continent and beyond. She served as head of Early Warning Desk at African Union seconded by the South African Government. She was Country Director of South Sudan with ACCORD for a year until the compromise peace initiative. She is currently writing a book on history of women's resistance and continues to be an associate of African Union and Senior Professional consultant on UN Roster for six thematic areas.







Amanda Gcanga


Amanda is an emerging expert in water governance. She holds Masters degree in International Water Management from Wageningen University, Netherlands. While working towards her degree she got involved in a number of projects in Spain, Malawi and South Africa looking at water governance arrangements and the sustainability of the resource. Currently she is enrolled as a PhD candidate at the Centre for Complex Systems in Transition (CST) at Stellenbosch University, where she also heads water niche area. She is also an embedded researcher at the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership, looking at governance systems dynamics.


Her primary focus is on water governance approaches, governance, urban resources and sustainable transitions. As cities expand, they place ever-greater demands on systems such as water, energy, transportation and waste management. In the case of water, this coupled with the impact of climate change on traditional seasonal precipitation levels, is resulting in serious water shortages in an increasing number of cities.


Amanda is a holds a fellowship in the following programmes:

  • Southern African Systems Analysis Centre
  • International WaTERS Network Graduate Fellowship
  • US International Visitor Leadership Programme







Professor Vanessa Watson

School of Architecture and Planning, and African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town, South Africa


Vanessa Watson is professor of city planning in the School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics at the University of Cape Town (South Africa). She holds degrees from the Architectural Association of London, a PhD from the University of Witwatersrand, and is a Fellow of the University of Cape Town.


Her research over the last thirty years has focussed on urban planning in the global South and the effects of inappropriate planning practices and theories especially in Africa. Her work seeks to unsettle the geo-politics of knowledge production in planning by providing alternative theoretical perspectives from the global South.


She is the Global South Editor of Urban Studies and is on the editorial boards of Planning Theory, Built Environment, Planning Practice and Research, the Journal of Planning Education and Research, and Progress in Planning. She is a senior editor of Oxford Bibliographies Online: Urban Studies. She is the PI of the ESRC/Dfid project (Consuming Urban Poverty) on urban food security in Africa.


She was the lead consultant for UN Habitat’s 2009 Global Report on Planning Sustainable Cities, was chair and co-chair of the Global Planning Education Association Network, a founder of the Association of African Planning Schools and is a founder and on the executive of the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town.


Recent books are: De Satge R and V Watson (2018):  Urban Planning in the Global South: Conflicting rationalities in contested urban space, Palgrave; G Bhan, S Srinivas and V Watson Eds (2018): Routledge Companion to Planning in the Global South, Routledge; and Gunder, M., and A. Madanipour and V Watson (eds) (2018): The Routledge Handbook of Planning Theory, Routledge. 







Nellie Lester

Independent Consultant, Johannesburg, South Africa


Independent Development Consultant specializing in policy and strategic planning. She is an enthusiast for spatial integration and has consulted for DBSA Infrastructure Delivery Division. She was General Manager at Housing Development Agency and previously served as Deputy Director General, at the Department of Cooperative Governance formerly Department of Provincial and Local Government (dplg) from July 2007 to February 2012.


She holds a Master’s degree in Urban and Rural planning from Dalhousie University, Canada. In 1995 she joined the University of Cape Town as a Lecturer at the School of Architecture and Planning. From 1997-1999 she was a Senior Planner at the City of Cape Town, Planning and Economic Department. She was Executive Director at Plan Act in Johannesburg before joining COGTA.


She is a member of South Africa Planning Institute (SAPI) and currently a council member on the South African Council for Planners (SACPLAN). She has served on various boards included South African Cities Network (SACN).







Ashraf Adam


Ashraf Adam is the chief executive officer of the Mandela Bay Development Agency, was a board member of the South African Planning Institute as Past President until 2013 and Vice-President (Southern Africa) for the Commonwealth Association of Planners from 2010 to 2012 and served on the South African Council for Planners.


His career in planning has covered: public sector advisory services (multi-sector), integrated development planning, spatial, environmental, civil infrastructure and transportation planning, environmental management, climate change and governance, strategic, developmental, spatial, and sector planning, land use management, municipal governance and the use of smart technology, economic development and municipal futures.


He has been the Deputy Chair of the Municipal Demarcation Board since February 2014. He has also been the executive director of SALGA responsible for Economic Development and Planning. He was also been the executive manager of Economic Development at the Drakenstien Municipality







Andrew Boraine


Andrew Boraine has been involved in South Africa’s local government, urban and economic development and transition processes for the past 40 years, as student leader, activist, advisor, negotiator, government planner, city manager, chief executive, facilitator, partnership and partnering specialist, systems change practitioner, designer, communicator and writer.


Andrew is CEO of the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership (EDP), which facilitates issue-based and area-based partnering solutions, and knowledge-sharing and learning, aimed at strengthening the city and regional socio-economic development system.


Previously, Andrew was Chief Executive of the Cape Town Partnership (CTP), a cross-sector partnership established in 1999 to coordinate the regeneration of the Cape Town Central City.


In 2002, Andrew conceptualised and coordinated the establishment of the South African Cities Network (SACN), a network of the major metropolitan regions in South Africa. He chaired the SACN Board for five years. Prior to this, he was City Manager of the City of Cape Town (1997-2001) and Deputy Director General in the Department of Constitutional Development (1995-1997), where he helped to draft the local government chapter of the South African Constitution.


Andrew is an Adjunct Professor with the African Centre for Cities (ACC) at the University of Cape Town (UCT). The ACC operates as an interdisciplinary research and teaching programme around the dynamics of urbanisation in Africa and the global South. Andrew currently teaches on the subject of Partnering for Systems Change in a number of Masters programmes and is a member of the UCT Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment Advisory Board.


Andrew served on the Board of the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) for nine years, where he chaired the Infrastructure Delivery and Knowledge Management Committee. He chaired the Board of the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) for seven years, and is a Nonresident Senior Fellow with the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program in Washington.







Professor Ivan Turok


Ivan Turok is Executive Director at the Human Sciences Research Council, responsible for the Economic Performance and Development programme. He is Editor-in-Chief of the international journal ‘Regional Studies’ and Honorary Professor at the University of Glasgow.


He is also Chairman of the City Planning Commission for Durban. Ivan is an urban and regional economist/planner with over 30 years’ experience of research, teaching and policy advice. He is an occasional adviser to the United Nations, OECD, African Development Bank, UNECA and several national governments. He was a member of the Expert Panel that prepared SA’s Integrated Urban Development Framework.


He is the author of over 150 academic publications, journal articles, book chapters and books, many of which are highly cited internationally. His research covers various aspects of city and regional development, labour markets, urbanisation, urban transformation and affordable housing. His latest jointly-edited book is called Transitions in Regional Economic Development (2018, Routledge). He also co-authored Inclusive Urban Development in South Africa: What Does It Mean and How Can it be Measured? (IDS Working Paper, 2018).







Dr. James Chakwizira


Dr. James Chakwizira is a Senior Lecturer and Head of Department: Urban and Regional Planning in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa. Prior to joining the University of Venda, James worked at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria initially as a Senior Researcher under the Rural Access and Development Research Group in the Rural Infrastructure and Services Competency Area and later as an Acting Research Group Leader as well as working in the Transport Systems and Operations Competency Area of the Built Environment Unit.


James is a registered professional planner with the South African Council of Planners (SACPLAN); a corporate member of South African Council of Planners (SAPI), the current Chairperson of the Committee of Heads of Planning Schools (CHoPs) in South Africa. He is also a member of the National Transport Forum (NTF). Besides being a Council member and Deputy Chairperson of SACPLAN, he also serves as the Chairperson of the Registration Committee (RC) as well as being a member of the Education and Training Committee (ETC).


James is an experienced spatial & transportation specialist who has consulted on national and regional projects in Africa, Asia and Europe. He has published, taught at universities in Southern Africa, practiced in both the public and private sector leading multidisciplinary teams and units focusing on regional transportation, spatial development, sustainable regional economic development, climate change and adaptation, regional integration, appropriate technology, poverty reduction and wealth creation and sustainable human settlements.


His passion is to continuously provide thought leadership in the application of new knowledge and technological innovations in order to resolve the challenges of the marginalised and disadvantaged communities and societies inhabiting the built and non-built environments of Africa.







Mr Khetha Zulu


Mr Khetha Zulu originates from KwaDukuza, KZN North Coast but now based on the South Coast where he is working for the Ray Nkonyeni Municipality as Head of Department: Strategic Planning and Governance since 2012. He is the current chairperson of the South African Council for Planners.


Mr Zulu obtained a Master’s Degree in Town and Regional Planning from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, a Master of Commerce in Leadership Studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, a Certificate in Municipal Finance Management Programme from the University of Pretoria, a Certificate in Ethics Programme from the University of Stellenbosch, and a Certificate in Thought Leadership for Africa’s Renewal with Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute.







Tshediso Matona


Tshediso Matona is currently the Secretary of Planning in the National Planning Commission in the Presidency, South African Government, since September 2015. He was the Chief Executive of power utility Eskom from October 2014 to May 2015. He was previously the Director-General (DG) of Public Enterprises (DPE) since January 2011. Prior to that, he was DG of Trade and Industry from 2005 to 2010. An economist by training and an experienced executive in the public sector, he held several senior positions in government throughout his career, and served as a trade diplomat at the SA Embassy to United Nations (UN) and World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland from 1996 to 1998.


In his current role he provides strategic and technical support to South Africa’s National Planning Commission, a think-tank that compiled the National Development Plan and advises government on its implementation.   In this role, Matona also leads and supervises a multi-disciplinary team of professionals.


He has over 23 years of senior management experience and skills in the fields of international trade and diplomacy, export promotion, investment promotion, industrial development, enterprise development, economic/business regulation, and corporate governance, among others.


He holds Bachelor and Honours Degrees in Economics and Politics from the University of Cape Town (UCT), a Masters in Development Economics from the University of East Anglia (UK), various certificates, including an Executive Leadership and Management certificate, as well as a certificate in Infrastructure Development from Harvard University’s J F Kennedy School of Government.







Deon van Zyl


Deon van Zyl holds degrees in architecture from the University of the Free State and a master’s degree in Urban Design from the University of Cape Town. He cut his teeth in the redevelopment of brownfield land, with exposure to land remediation. His interest lies in Development Facilitation through a multi-disciplinary approach, with specific emphasis on land beneficiation, precinct development and brownfields land remediation and development. 


He is a Director in AL&A, a Development and Project Management consultancy and specialises in land sourcing, development conceptualisation, land beneficiation through management of environmental and planning applications, concept design, lease negotiations and project finance negotiations. 


He has been the Chairman of the Western Cape Property Development Forum since 2011 and still holds this position.









Loudon is an experienced urban planning practitioner and academic. He holds a Post-graduate Diploma and a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from Melbourne University, Australia. He worked in Australia for 15 years as an urban planner in the local government sector where he rose to a mid-level management position. His experience involved regulation of urban development, urban planning advocacy, metropolitan urban policy articulation and implementation, as well as large scale urban revitalisation projects management.


Before migrating to Australia, Loudon worked as a town planner in Malawi from the early- to mid-nineties for six years. His experience ranged from development control to the planning and management of urban housing estates under the state housing parastatal – the Malawi Housing Corporation.


Loudon now holds an academic position at Mzuzu University in Malawi where he has been since 2014. His role is teaching and research in urban planning. His areas of research interest include urban governance, cities and climate change, sustainable development and cities of the Global South, urban housing, among others. He has recently been appointed as Head of the Built Environment Department, which runs three degree programmes in Urban and Regional Planning, Geomatics Engineering, and Estate Management.


In July 2016, he was elected President of the Malawi Institute of Physical Planners, a position he holds to date. He is a Certified Practicing Planner in Australia and a Corporate Member of the Malawi Institute of Physical Planners.







Jean-Claude Bolay


Jean-Claude Bolay is Director of the Cooperation & Development Center of EPFL (CODEV) and Professor at the Faculty of Natural, Architectural and Built Environment (ENAC) (http://cooperation.epfl.ch/) , integrated in the Laboratory of Urban Sociology (LaSUR, Institute of Territorial Development). By training he is sociologist (bachelor) and political scientist (PhD from the University of Lausanne, Prize of the University of Lausanne). To reach his grade, he was awarded a scholarship from the Swiss National Foundation of Science and worked during 2 years in the postgrade Colegio de Mexico, in Mexico City (1982-83) and therefore in the Center for Latin American Studies of the UC Berkeley University, California (1984).


From 1986 till 1989 he has been working as senior staff of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in the frame of a slum’ upgrading project of the World Bank and Cameroun Government in Duala, Cameroun. He was contracted by the EPFL in the frame of urban research projects in developing countries, becoming quickly the leader of several projects focused on urban upgrading actions, urban planning, social participation, urban environmental issues and governance in much diversified contexts as Burkina Faso, Bolivia, Argentina, Cuba, Ecuador, Vietnam, to cite some of them. He teaches at the master level in the Architecture section since 1995.


In 2001 he was named by the President of the EPFL as responsible of the cooperation with emerging and developing countries’ partners, and therefore in 2005 as professor. He is presently leading a team of 25 scientific and administrative collaborators. He published more than 60 articles and edit several books on urban issues in developing countries as on development and scientific cooperation. He is also Director of the UNESCO Chair “Technologies for Development” and has organized 5 International Conference of the Chair focused on the links between research and operational implementation of development’ projects.


Among his recent publications on urban issues, we can underline:

  • Bolay Jean-Claude (2017). Urban Planning in Developing World: Which Alternative for Poor Cities? In Roberto Alvarez, ed. Green Energy and Technology. Springer, Paris, Heidelberg, New York, Dordrecht, London.
  • Bolay Jean-Claude, Chenal Jérôme, Pedrazzini Yves, Cvetinovic Marija (2016). Learning from the slums: the habitat of the urban poor in the making of emerging cities. Springer: Paris, Heidelberg, New York, Dordrecht, London.
  • Bolay, Jean-Claude (2016). Prosperity and Social Inequalities: Montes Claros, How to Plan an Intermediary City in Brazil. Current Urban Studies, 4, 2, 175-194. http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/cus.2016.42013.