Our Staff

Our staff are partners in our business, not just employees. We care for each other and demonstrate this care. We afford all staff the opportunity to grow.  We expect exceptional performance and reward it appropriately.  We do the same for and expect the same of our partners, clients, customers and suppliers. We operate on the basis of earned trust and mutual respect. We are committed to capacity development and currently host a number of interns, funded largely from our own resources, and post-graduate students.

Staff Compliment

Duncan Hay Executive Director MSc
Belinda Murray Financial Director BCom (Hons) CA (SA)
Fonda Lewis Chief Scientist MEnvDev
David Cox Principal Scientist MEnvDev
Brigid Letty Principal Scientist MSc
Jon McCosh Principal Scientist MEnvDev & Dip Agric
Kate Pringle Principal Scientist BSc Agric; LLM (Env Law); Pr.Sci.Nat
Leo Quayle Principal Scientist BSc (Hons), MPhil; Pr.Sci.Nat
Ian Bredin Principal Scientist MSc; Pr.Sci.Nat
Michelle Browne Senior Scientist MSc Agricultural Economics (Cum Laude)
 Lutendo Mugwedi Senior Scientist PhD Environmental Sciences
Sandile Hadebe Post-doc Fellow PhD Crop Science
Sian Oosthuizen Scientist MSc
Zinhle Ntombela Scientist MSc
Perushan Rajah Scientist MSc Environmental Science
Samiksha Singh Scientist MSc Environmental Science
Zanele Shezi Senior Community Facilitator Dip Agric Man
Simone Chetty Scientist MSc
Nosipho Makaya Intern BSc (Hons) Geography and Environmental Management
Matthew Dickey Intern BSc (Hons) Geography and Environmental Management
Mlungisi Shabalala Intern BSc (Hons) Hydrology (Cum Laude)
Thembani Nxumalo Intern BSc Hons Agriculture
Nisha Rabiduth Projects & Programmes Manager
Jackie Robinson Bookkeeper / Office Manager
Sindiswa Zondi Office Assistant  
Mandisa Ndaba Office Assistant
Londiwe Mnikathi Receptionist and Switchboard Operator

Duncan Hay (MSc) – Executive Director

Duncan assumed the position of Executive Director in May 2015. He was previously a staff member at the Institute from 1992 to 1998 and served as an internal director from 1998 to 2004. Duncan has a masters’ degree in Zoology from the University of Natal and a postgraduate diploma in Environmental Security from the University of Cambridge.  He is also an Associate Research Fellow of the University of KwaZulu-Natal and has worked extensively with the Universities of Florida, Montana, the West of England (UWE) and Monash, South Africa. His primary professional interests include water resource and estuaries management, rural development focusing particularly on the craft sector, and community-based natural resource management. He has authored and co-authored over forty research reports, book chapters, handbooks and peer reviewed publications. He is a former board member and Chairman of the Midlands Community College and has completed the Comrades Marathon on 11 occasions.

Belinda Murray (BCom (Hons) CA (SA)) – Financial Director

Belinda Murray is a Chartered Accountant (SA) having qualified in 1998. Belinda studied at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg where she obtained her BCom and BCom (Hons) degrees.  She served articles at KPMG where she was an Audit Manager before joining the INR in 1999 as Financial Manager. In March 2008 she was appointed to the INR’s Board of Directors as Financial Director.

Fonda Lewis (MEnvDev) – Chief Scientist

Fonda has expertise in both the social and natural sciences, informed by her qualifications as well as her working experience in both fields. Fonda has a Masters Degree in Environment and Development, a Bachelor of Social Science (Economics and Geography), and a National Diploma Nature Conservation. She has 23 years of relevant working experience. Her key expertise is the interface between social and ecological systems taking into consideration key issues such as climate change, gender issues, poverty and resource use dependency, and environmental change. Focus areas include action research in:

    • Resilience building and adaptation, including community based and ecosystems based adaptation
    • Economic tools and incentives for improved environmental management
    • Local economic development and livelihoods approaches to enhancing environmental management
    • Integrated environmental management, monitoring, auditing and reporting
    • Socio-economic assessments including consideration of issues such as gender, livelihoods, poverty, resource dependency

Fonda is responsible for leading and developing the Adaptation and Resilience Programme at the Institute of Natural Resources. She is a member of IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group (SULi) and the Ecosystem Services Partnership (ESP). Fonda has strong leadership and management skills, having successfully led a number of donor funded multi-disciplinary project teams, including a number of transboundary projects.

Fonda has worked extensively on projects in a number of countries throughout Southern Africa including Lesotho, South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. She also has experience in Uganda, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Mali, Zambia and Swaziland.

David Cox (MEnvDev)Chief Scientist

David has a Masters degree in Environment and Development and is responsible for the IEM Programme at the INR where he holds the position of Chief Scientist and has worked since 1999. The focus of David’s experience has been in the application of a wide range of IEM tools from strategic planning and assessment through to project level assessment and implementation. He has also been responsible for various projects concerned with improved environmental governance through better alignment of the institutional and legislative processes and actors associated with IEM. He subsequently has a good understanding of the various components of the environment, the associated issues, the governing legal framework, and the consideration of stakeholder participation in the process or environmental assessment and management. David’s involvement in IEM is supplemented by experience in natural resource management including projects focusing in INRM and IWRM, biodiversity offsets and a specific focus on wetland conservation and management.  David is current chairman of the KwaZulu-Natal Branch of IAIAsa.

Brigid Letty (MSc Agric) – Principal Scientist

Brigid Letty is a Principal Scientist working for the Institute of Natural Resources NPC (INR), which is based in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. She has a BSc.Agriculture majoring in Animal Science and an MSc.Agriculture through the Department of Range and Forage Resources at University of Natal. Brigid has some 16 years experience in smallholder agriculture and food security, having worked firstly as a livestock specialist with the Farming Systems Research Section at the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs before joining the INR in 2003.

Brigid has a good understanding of smallholder agricultural systems in South Africa and experience with similar systems in other African countries through her involvement with the international PROLINNOVA network (Promoting local innovation in ecologically oriented agriculture and natural resource management) as a national coordinator for South Africa. As the assistant coordinator for the EU-funded JOLISAA project (Joint learning about innovation systems in African Agriculture), she has further developed her knowledge of multi-stakeholder innovation systems focused on smallholder farming systems.

As a researcher with the Department of Agriculture, and more recently with the INR, Brigid has engaged in a range of research projects focused on agriculture and food security. Brigid has extensive experience in data collection and analysis (including statistical analysis) and the preparation of research reports.

Through various initiatives, including PROLINNOVA and JOLISAA, Brigid has experience with both arranging and facilitating workshops and training events as well as preparing workshop reports. Through her involvement in conducting research (including action resarch with smallholders) and her interactions with provincial extension services, Brigid has a good understanding of agricultural extension and technology transfer  including the challenge of low adoption rates of externally developed technologies. She has worked with research staff from the Human Sciences Research Council, the Agricultural Research Council, the National Advisory Council on Innovation and various provincial departments of agriculture.

Jon McCosh (MEnvDev)  Principal Scientist

Jon is a Senior Scientist at the INR with fifteen years’ experience. He holds a National Diploma in Agriculture, a B.Sc (Soil Science and Hydrology) and has completed a Master of Environment and Development degree, which examined the role of social learning and systems thinking in the advancement of organic farming systems. His interests lie at the interface between agriculture, the environment and livelihoods. He has worked on a range of projects that focus on investigating and demonstrating how better land management can strengthen rural livelihoods, contribute to the sustainable use of natural resources and reverse land degradation, particularly in the face of climate change. He has managed a range of agriculture and livelihoods development and support initiatives and has experience and skills in policy and strategy development, field-based participatory research, enterprise planning and development and implementation of rural development projects. He is involved, among others, with a climate change adaptation project in the Lesotho Highlands, focusing on building livelihoods resilience through better agricultural practices and is leading a Water Research Commission funded project investigating micro-catchment rainwater harvesting and conservation in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

Catherine Pringle (BSc. Agric.; LLM (Env Law), Pr.Sci.Nat.) – Principal Scientist

Catherine (Kate) Pringle is an environmental scientist and has also completed her masters in environmental law. She has a special interest in ecosystem services and has also been involved in numerous projects related to water and integrated environmental management. She has worked on ecosystem services projects across South Africa, Lesotho and Kenya and was part of the project team which assessed the feasibility of developing an ecosystem services trading model for the Mnweni/Cathedral Peak and Eastern Cape Drakensberg Areas. She was also co-leader of a NERC-funded project aimed at assessing the impact of the Pongolapoort dam on the provision of downstream ecosystem services and the consequent impacts on poverty. Her experience in Lesotho includes assessing the impact of climate change on ecosystem services and investigating the maintenance of ecological infrastructure to prevent sedimentation of the new Polihali dam to be constructed as part of the Lesotho Highlands Development Project. She has also provided input regarding the integration of ecosystem services into planning processes in the KwaDukuza, Uthukela and Cape Town municipalities as well as the KwaZulu-Natal stewardship programme. Her experience in the water sector ranges from ecological reserve studies to more strategic projects including the development of procedures for the determination of Resource Quality Objectives.

Leo Quayle (BSc (Hons), MPhil, Pr.Sci.Nat.) – Principal Scientist

Since completing a BSc in Chemistry and Geography, an honours degree in GIS and a Master’s degree in environmental management, Leo has gathered 13 years working experience in various environmental and planning fields. He has worked in the United Kingdom and Ghana in addition to South Africa and has additionally been involved in projects in Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Kenya and South Sudan.

He has a keen interest in understanding the spatial relationships that exist in the environment, particularly at the interface of man’s utilisation of natural resources. While Leo’s core skills are related to GIS, he has been involved in a wide variety of projects while with the INR. More recently he has been working in the fields of water resource assessment and management, focusing on aquatic ecology, water quality, biomonitoring and river health. He has worked as a water quality specialist on a number of river reserve determinations and has developed water quality monitoring plans for a number of clients including Umhlathuze Water and AECI Chemicals. He is also an accredited SASS5 practitioner.

He has equally strong interests in terrestrial biodiversity and ecosystem service conservation planning and has developed a range of planning instruments including a biodiversity and open space management plan for KwaDukuza municipality, a systematic conservation plan for the uMshwati City development node, a landscape characterisation of seven local municipalities bordering the Ukahlamba Drakensberg World Heritage Site and Environmental Constraints Frameworks for two of Eskom’s field services areas.

He has strong GIS skills which are a key component of much of the work that he undertakes and has recently begun developing software to enable the customisation of GIS products and the development of custom project components. He recently developed a quaternary scale catchment prioritisation application for the Department of Water Affairs to assist with the understanding of the impact of land based activities on water resources. This application included an embedded GIS interface allowing the production of maps and associated reports.

Ian Bredin (MSc, Pr.Sci.Nat) – Principal Scientist

Ian is a Principal Scientist at the INR with over ten years’ experience. He manages the INR’s Wetland Ecological and Terrestrial Ecological Themes. His qualifications include a BSc Honours Degree in Zoology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and an MSc Degree in Veterinary Science from the University of Pretoria. He is a registered Professional Natural Scientist in the fields of Ecological and Zoological Science. His primary interest is in wetland ecology, where he has gained extensive experience in the assessment, management and monitoring of wetlands. He also has a keen interest in biodiversity, ecosystem services and natural resource management, with sound experience in biodiversity assessments, integrated catchment management, sustainable land management, and community-based natural resource management. He has worked on projects in South Africa, Lesotho, Malawi and Mozambique. Ian has authored and co-authored over fifty consultancy reports, which include research reports, information booklets and peer reviewed publications. He has also presented at national conferences including the SANBI Biodiversity Planning Forum, SASAQS Conference, National Wetland Indaba, WRC Symposium, and the IAIAsa Conference.

Examples of recent projects Ian has managed include:

      • The development of a guideline for determining appropriate buffer zones for rivers, wetlands and estuaries (WRC project);
      • The development of an Integrated Catchment Management Plan for the Letseng-la-Letsie catchment in Lesotho, Lesotho’s only RAMSAR site (Millennium Challenge Corporation funded project); and
      • The aquatic and wetland assessment for the proposed RBM Zulti South mineral lease area, which also included the development of a wetland rehabilitation and management plan.

Ian has also been involved in a range of other projects, recent examples include:

      • The development of Resource Quality Objectives for water resources in the Upper and Lower Vaal Water Management Areas, where he developed the RQOs for wetlands (Department of Water and Sanitation funded project);
      • Identifying climate change adaptation strategies and building capacity for adaptation in the Lesotho Highlands Mountain Catchments to improve the resilience of livelihoods and ecosystem services, where he focused on the ecosystem component (USAID Southern Africa funded project); and
      • A water secure future for Southern Africa – Applying the Ecosystem Approach in the Orange-Senqu Basin, where he provided technical support to the Lesotho component to this transboundary project (USAID funded project).

Ian is currently a member of two WRC steering committees and is a reviewer of WRC proposals, and has also been a reviewer for Water SA. He is the vice-chair of the KZN Wetlands Forum and is a member of the Southern African Society of Aquatic Scientists.

Michelle Browne (MSc Agricultural Economics) – Senior Scientist

Michelle joined the INR in 2017 as an environmental economist. She has a Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics (cum laude) and is studying towards a Doctorate in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics. Michelle has previous work experience as a consultant in assessing, monitoring and managing environmental issues surrounding water resources, as well as project management. Her research experience has involved multiple projects investigating the society-economic-environment interface. Michelle aims to continue exploring and developing economic concepts and methods in managing the risks of, and finding solutions to, environmental challenges in both the public and private sector.

Lutendo Mugwedi (PhD Environmental Science) – Senior Scientist

Lutendo holds a PhD in Environmental Sciences from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg. Lutendo’s primary interests relate to biodiversity conservation, invasive alien plant management (biological, chemical, mechanical and integrated control methods), terrestrial restoration ecology and sustainable use of natural resources such as medicinal plants, firewood and timber to ensure biodiversity conservation and a continued provision of ecosystem services for the current and future generations. Lutendo strongly believes that sustainability science can be achieved by trans-disciplinary research, because trans-disciplinary research involves actors / stakeholders from outside academia (e.g., local communities and civil society organisations) in the research process (design and implementation) in order to integrate the best available knowledge (scientific and indigenous), reconcile values and preferences, as well as create ownership for problems and solution options. Lutendo has over nine years’ experience in terrestrial biodiversity assessment, invasive alien plant management and restoration of degraded ecosystems. This experience was acquired at both the academic and research institutions. He worked as; a Lecturer at the Durban University of Technology, a Technical Assistant at the University of Pretoria, a Teaching Assistant at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and a Trainee Researcher at the Agricultural Research Council: Plant Protection Research Institute.

Sandile Hadebe (PhD Crop Science) – Post-doc Fellow

Sandile holds a PhD in Crop Science from the University of KwaZulu Natal specialising in crop water use and crop modelling. He also holds a BSc Hons in Plant Pathology from the same University where research was on biological control of soil borne fungal diseases. Previous work experience has included work as project evaluator on a project for emerging rose geranium growers and nurseries for Winrock International, and work as an assistant researcher for the University of KwaZulu on a climate change resilience project. Sandile’s key interests are plant pests and diseases, soil–plant–atmosphere continuum, mutational plant breeding, climate change adaptation, crop modelling and water use, crop agronomy, nutrition and physiology. Sandile joined INR in April as a Post-doc Fellow.

Sian Oosthuizen (MSc Geography) – Scientist

Sian Oosthuizen is a stakeholder engagement specialist with a Master of Science degree in Geography from the University of KwaZulu Natal (PMB). She particularly focuses on developing and implementing innovative engagement tools such simulation games and modeling. Sian has 5 years of working experience that have involved game designing and strategy development in the field of environmental management. During this time, she has also been involved in a range of projects from climate change vulnerability mapping, risk assessments and adaption; to natural resource management and beyond. Sian aims to continue exploring, developing, designing and applying stakeholder engagement tools for a range of projects to become a specialist in this field.

Zinhle Ntombela (MSc Agriculture) – Scientist

Zinhle is an Agricultural scientist with a Master’s degree in Agriculture (Crop Science), which she obtained from the University of KwaZulu Natal. Zinhle’s interests are agriculture, improvement of rural livelihoods through development of close relationships with rural communities and implementation of Participatory Action Research. She started her career as an intern at one of the Monsanto research farms where she gained technical experience in crop science and plant breeding. She then joined the Agricultural Research Council as a Junior Researcher where she lead projects on Development of 10 x 10 food garden model and enterprise development for smallholder farmers of Eastern Cape. Zinhle joined the INR in June 2015 and works under the Agriculture and Rural Livelihoods Theme and is currently involved in the Water Research Commission funded projects i.e investigating the infield rainwater harvesting methods at KwaZulu-Natal (Msinga) and Eastern Cape (Ntshiqo) and the Water use of agroforestry systems.

Perushan Rajah (MSc Environmental Science) – Scientist

Perushan Rajah has an MSc in applied environmental science from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and wishes to start reading for a PhD specialising in remote sensing GIS in 2016. His main interests are agricultural remote sensing (precision agriculture), forestry applications and climate change implications. With regards to the INR, Perushan is involved in various remote sensing and GIS projects which include the KZN National Recourse Management strategy, basic environmental assessments and climate vulnerability modelling.

Samiksha Singh (MSc Environmental Science) – Scientist

Samiksha holds a MSc Degree in Environmental Science which she obtained from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Her interests lie in the field of aquatic environments and bio-monitoring. She completed her 12 month internship at the INR and has been recently appointed as a Scientist from January 2017.  Whilst working at INR she will mainly be involved in the Environmental impact assessment of the Pietermaritzburg Airport expansion together with providing assistance on field visits for aquatic monitoring.

Simone Chetty (MSc Hydrology) – Scientist

Simone holds an MSc degree (77%) in hydrology which she obtained from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and is currently a scientist at the Institute of Natural Resources NPC.  Her MSc focuses on the impacts of up-scaled rainwater harvesting on ecosystem goods and services in the rural catchments of Potshini (Bergville) and Makanya (Tanzania). Her interests lie in the fields and environmental hydrology and modelling, linked to ecosystem goods and services. One of her skills includes GIS mapping and application. She is also an accredited SASS5 practitioner, which contributes knowledge to water quality aspects of aquatic specialist studies. Simone has also developed a keen interest in promoting community water awareness, which as a result has seen her participate in local campaigns such as World Water Day and World Wetland Day in Edendale. She has also been a volunteer miniSASS trainer for the Msunduzi Municipality from 2014-2015.

Zanele Shezi (Diploma Agriculture) – Senior Community Facilitator

Zanele is a Senior Community Facilitator with a National Diploma in Agricultural Management which she obtained from UNISA. She has extensive experience working as an agricultural development facilitator, having worked with rural farmers for over ten years in a variety of settings. She has an excellent understanding of rural small-scale agricultural systems and the socio-cultural context in which rural agriculture occurs. Zanele has skills in facilitation, participatory approaches (PRA), multi stakeholder engagements,  local institutional settings and governance.

Nosipho Makaya (BSc (Hons) Geography and Environmental Management) – Intern

Nosipho holds a BSc Honours Degree in Geography and Environmental Management which she obtained from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She is currently concluding her MSc degree in Environmental Science which investigates the utility of remotely sensed data in determining the spatial distribution of gully erosion in a communal landscape of KwaZulu-Natal. Nosipho’s interests lie in the fields of Integrated Environmental Management, Land degradation and GIS.

Matthew Dickey (BSc (Hons) Geography and Environmental Management) – Intern

Matthew holds a BSc Hons Degree in Geography and Environmental Management which he obtained from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.  He is currently finishing his Master’s degree in Environmental Science at UKZN, which seeks to quantify soil erosion from commercial sugarcane and forestry in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.  His interests lie in water quality, EIA’s, compliance monitoring, biomonitoring and alien invasives.  Matt joined the INR team as an intern in April 2018.

Mlungisi Shabalala (BSc (Hons) Hydrology) – Intern

Mlungisi holds a BSc Honours Degree in Hydrology (Cum Laude) from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He just finished working on his MSc in Hydrology, which was investigating the potential impacts of changing agricultural land management practices on water resources in the uThukela catchment using the ACRU hydrological model. His interests lie in understanding the trade-offs between the socioeconomic benefits of changes in land use (agriculture, mining, industry, etc.) and the impacts of these changes on ecosystem benefits and human well-being, as well as the added threats due to climate change.  Whilst working at INR, Mlu will mainly be involved in the Agriculture and Rural Livelihoods Theme.

Thembani Nxumalo (BSc (Hons) Agriculture) – Intern

Thembani Nxumalo joined the INR in April 2018, as an NRF Intern. He is a BSc Hons in Agriculture graduate with Plant pathology as his major subject. Thembani is in a process of concluding his Masters at UKZN which was primarily based on the development of a biological control agent of wheat leaf rust. His interests lie in crop protection, and various agricultural systems which strive for the improvement of agronomic yields.  Thembani will mainly be involved in the Agriculture and Rural Livelihoods Theme.