Meet the team

Mark Borchers

Technical Director

Mark has a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering and a M.Sc degree in Energy and Development Studies from the University of Cape Town's Engineering faculty. After working in the civil engineering industry, in 1988 he moved to the Energy for Development Research Centre (EDRC) at the University of Cape Town before co-founding the Energy & Development Group consultancy in 1993 and Sustainable Energy Africa in 2001.

Mark's work has been broad-ranging, from integrated energy planning for the South African government, impact assessment of electrification projects, promoting access to electricity in the SADC region, developing Botswana's energy policy, promoting the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency, sustainable building, and economic analyses of low income household energy options. Over the past decade he has increasingly been involved in developing Energy and Climate Change Strategies for cities around South Africa and Africa, and supporting the implementation of such strategies. SEA has pioneered a city-based approach to transforming a country's energy future.

Mark is a partner in the award-winning Green Building - the first "future normal" green office building in Cape Town. He firmly believes that an 8-hour workday is detrimental to personal wellbeing and society, not leaving adequate space for other critically important areas of life such as personal growth, leisure, family, exercise and community participation (the essay by Bertrand Russsel 'In Praise of Idleness' is informative in this regard). It tends to keep people behaving like sheep instead of being the architects of their own lives. Mark also considers the pursuit of wealth senseless, as it has been conclusively demonstrated that (beyond enough to meet basic needs) more wealth does not improve happiness, keeps people running on a treadmill to nowhere, and fuels the enormous and indefensible disparities of wealth that exist in the country and the world.

Peta Wolpe

Managing Director

Peta has a BA degree in Sociology from the University of Essex and a Master of Science in Social Administration and Social Work Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Peta worked in the field of psychiatric social work in the United Kingdom for many years, working with adults suffering from a wide range of mental health problems. After her return to South Africa in 1996 she moved into the development sector and took a position at Community Development Resource Association (CDRA), an NGO working in the field of organisational development and training. She held leadership and management responsibilities which included strategic thinking and direction, financial management, fundraising and maintaining the organisation's internal learning processes. She left CDRA to set up her own consultancy practice bringing together her therapeutic/social work skills and experience in leadership and management to work with NGOs in building their core leadership and management. She worked with a number of organisations in Southern Africa offering a range of services including an evaluation, mentoring individuals, organisational reviews, strategic planning, and administrative and leadership team processes.

Peta joined SEA in March 2008 as the new Managing Director. She has worked on a number of projects including developing an energy strategy and implementation plan for Gauteng province, setting up a conference on climate change, developing an exhibition to take to COP 15 to showcase climate change projects within South Africa. She has facilitated workshops and given presentations on climate change and energy efficiency. Her key responsibilities lie in developing the internal sustainability of the organisation which has included holding the organisation's strategic focus and the annual strategic planning workshop, developing a learning programme for the organisation and overall management of internal processes.

She is a Trustee of the Harold Wolpe Memorial Trust and a member of the Executive Committee.ssssssss

Megan Euston-Brown

Project Manager

Megan has a BA degree in Economics, English and History, with a postgraduate degree in African History from the University of Cape Town. Her work experience includes participatory research, policy development and development practice work in the land reform and rural development sector; freelance journalism and education materials development; and training, capacity building and project management in sustainable city energy planning and implementation.

During her time at the Surplus People Project, a land reform NGO, Megan was responsible for the research and development of the national Commonage Policy (one of the country's three land reform policy mechanisms), as well as project managing a number of community land reform initiatives. This was followed by four years of freelance research, writing and project management work. Clients included the Table Mountain National Park and the Institute for Poverty Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS).

Megan joined Sustainable Energy Africa in 2004. Megan Euston-Brown has worked in the area of sustainable energy development since 2003 and currently manages the City Energy Support Unit, a programme of Sustainable Energy Africa. The unit offers support to South African cities in their move towards clean energy development and reduced carbon footprints. This involves technical and process information in the areas of policy, and implementation, of energy efficiency, renewable energy deployment and energy poverty alleviation. A substantial focus of the work is on building the capacity of people to tackle these new and complex challenges. Megan is an experienced development facilitator and trainer and has worked extensively with local level energy data collection and institutional development.

Yachika Reddy

Project Manager

Yachika has an MSc in Energy Studies from the University of Cape Town. She is currently employed at Sustainable Energy Africa (SEA) as Project Manager of the SEED Programme and involved in a number of exciting projects which include: 1) supporting cities to build workable systems to facilitate the mass roll out of renewable energy and energy efficiency, 2) promoting the integration of an eco-systems approach in urban development processes and 3) identifying key elements of urban resilience in slum/informal urban communities and working to practically include these in city and national services delivery frameworks. During her 6 years of employment at SEA, Yachika has worked across a spectrum of projects focused on rooting sustainable energy approaches and practices in urban development planning and management processes across South Africa.

Whilst studying for her Masters degree at the Energy Research Centre (University of Cape Town), Yachika was employed as a research assistant participating in energy research as it relates to poverty reduction and climate change. One of the projects in which she was principally involved, entailed an in-depth analysis of energy transitions in fuel use that occur among low-income households in South Africa. This culminated in a research paper which she co-presented with her supervisor at the Energy Transitions Workshop held jointly by Stanford University (CA, USA) and the University of Cape Town in 2004.

Prior to her Masters degree, she worked in the field of Information Systems in software development; creating, designing and developing information systems for corporates in South Africa. Soon after completing her Honours degree in Environmental and Geographical Science, she worked in the United Kingdom for 2 years as a research assistant at the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WILDCRU), Oxford University as well as the Haematology Unit, and Guys Hospital in London primarily involved in analysing statistical data related to research in the respective fields.

Lana Franks

Project Manager

Lana Franks is a creative, analytical and systematic thinker. She holds a BSc degree in Electro-mechanical engineering and a Master of Philosophy degree in Energy and Development Studies from the University of Cape Town.

Lana has five years of experience as a project engineer designing high voltage powerlines for Eskom and Vulcan Tubular, where she developed a good grounding in electricity distribution networks and equipment. Thereafter, she pursued her passion for youth development and education, gaining invaluable experience in community development, human wellbeing and capacity building. In 2012, she continued her post-graduate studies in energy and development, and on completion of her degree, worked for the Energy Research Centre conducting research on sustainable energy access for the poor and energy poverty measurement. As an aspiring researcher and speaker, Lana was awarded a joint "Best Paper Award" at the International Domestic Use of Energy conference in May 2014.

In October 2014, Lana started a career at SEA. Her unique skillset and background - engineering, development and research - is well suited for the cross-cutting work SEA does in renewable energy power generation, energy modelling, energy efficiency and access to clean energy and technology for the poor.

Lana is a socially aware engineer, with a gift for working with people (& playing the djembe drum). She helps institutions identify problems, structure the change required and craft strategies to make it happen.

Zanie Cilliers

Project Coordinator

Zanie has BSc degree majoring in Environmental and Geographical Science, Ocean and Atmosphere Science, and Archaeology from the University of Cape Town, with a BSc (Hons) degree in Atmosphere Science.

She started working at Sustainable Energy Africa in 2008, after an internship in the City of Cape Town's Environmental Management Resource department. Zanie's main focus areas include data collation and analysis, writing and energy modelling, using programmes such as EnergyPlus and LEAP (Long-range Energy Alternatives Planning). She has been involved in LEAP modelling for the City of Cape Town and eThekwini, where the modelling outputs are used to advise the metros in their planning towards a sustainable energy future.

Simisha Pather-Elias

Project Coordinator

Simisha Pather-Elias joined SEA in March 2013 as a senior project coordinator.

She has two Master of Philosophy degrees. Her first MSc degree was attained in 2005 in Biotechnology from Rhodes
University following employment as a Scientific Officer at UCT in the Bioprocess Engineering Research Unit. There whilst working on several projects relating to environmental sustainability, her interest in energy and sustainable development was stimulated. In 2009 she pursued her second Master's degree in Energy and Development at the Energy Research Centre at UCT which she completed in 2011. Her research focus was on low-carbon-based energy options for the food retail sector in South Africa, which included both energy efficiency technologies and renewable energy. During this period, she took up a graduate position at Conservation International's Climate Action Partnership division to gain experience in the sector and exposure to working with government, business and civil society on climate change mitigation and adaptation. Simisha also worked for the Botanical Society of South Africa briefly, assisting the director with managing operations, maintaining and building on the sustainability profile of the organisation, and extending the portfolio of projects through forming partnerships. Finally finding her true home at SEA, Simisha constantly aims to balance her analytical and creative skills by being involved in several projects ranging from energy and low carbon modelling and strategy development; energy poverty and intern mentoring.

As a wife and mother to two dogs, she is passionate about sustainable living, simplicity and tackling challenges in a holistic way. In her personal capacity she assists in many community development and educational projects.

Hlengiwe Radebe

Young Professional

Hlengiwe has a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Geography degree from the University of the Witwatersrand and is in the process of obtaining a Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Global Change Studies. In April 2015 Hlengiwe started her career at SEA as a Sustainable Energy Development Intern and her role in the company involves promoting energy efficiency and sustainable energy production and use towards building low carbon and resilient cities.
During her spare time Hlengiwe enjoys watching movies and spending time with friends and family. She also volunteers with a number of organisations; tutoring high school learners and promoting science education.

Mukta Govan

Finance and Admin Manager

Mukta Govan joined SEA in April 2013. She holds a BTech degree in Cost and Management Accounting from Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Mukta has been working in the non-profit sector for more than 10 years, with the key area of these non-profit organisations being local government. Her role is to provide financial management support to the organisation which is achieved through commitment, excellence, passion and attention to detail.

Zukiswa Sidlayi

Office Coordinator

Zukiswa obtained a diploma in Bookkeeping, Personnel and Training Management, and a Higher Certificate in Human Resource Management from Damelin School of Management. She also obtained a certificate in Office Administration from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and completed an Introduction to Financial Accounting with Rosebank College. She is currently undertaking a B Com degree in Accounting Science for Financial Accounting through UNISA. She worked for the Western Cape Education Department for four years as an Administration Clerk. Zukiswa joined Sustainable Energy Africa in November 2006 as a Financial Assistant and a Project Administrator. She currently holds an Office Co-ordinator position. Her duties involve company legal standing, human resources, information and communication technology, finances and general office administration.

Chantal Liederman

Office Administrator

Chantal matriculated in 1997 and studied at Northlink College for two years where she obtained her N4 and N5 National Financial Management certificates. She worked at Nedbank for five years and Absa for three years.

Chantal joined Sustainable Energy Africa in February 2012 as an Office/Project Administrator and Finance Assistant and is currently involved in various projects. Her duties include Company Legal Standing, Human Resource and Staff Social Activities, General Office Administration Management and Administrative Services, Information and Communication Technology ICT, Marketing and Library and Financial duties.

Nomonde Koni

Office Assistant

Nomonde obtained her Matric in 1995. She worked in various companies and her core duties and focus has always been at customer service. She joined Sustainable Energy Africa in March 2010 as an Office Assistant. Her role at SEA is to ensure that the office space and communal meeting rooms are always clean and presentable. She is also responsible for recycling, ordering of kitchen provisions and the preparation of our sumptuous lunches for the office.