Fossil Free South Africa was legally established as a voluntary association in early 2015. Our NPO number is 149-064. On this page you will find information about our people, funding, governance and endorsements.
David Le Page
Environment and human rights journalist, formerly of Mail & Guardian, Treatment Action Campaign, Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute.
Jo-Anne Smetherham has been thrashing about with words for about 25 years as a journalist and PR writer. She is still thrilled at having won the 2010 PICA health writer of the year award for a Men’s Health story on the origin of epidemics. Jo loves telling stories of the people working to create a humane and sustainable world we all want to live in.
Human rights activist, administrator, outdoor lover, formerly with Harvest of Hope and the Children’s Resource Centre.
Management committee (board)
Andrew is a psychological counsellor, teacher, educational content developer and activist with Extinction Rebellion South Africa. He has been one of our most active volunteers.
Past and present advisors
The campaign has drawn on the following people at times for strategic and other advice. Some have served on our ManCo. We are very grateful to them all.
- Past secretary: Laura Bergh, a sustainability leadership and social enterprise advisor with a Masters in Sustainability Leadership (Cambridge), Chief Enabler of the Poverty Stoplight Office (SA).
- Past chair: Mellony Spark: investment analyst and former astronomer.
- Past chair and advisor: Dr Nick King, analyst and futurist; former CEO of the Endangered Wildlife Trust, founding chair of FFSA.
- Co-founder and former administrator: Robert Zipplies, sustainability consultant and author of Bending the Curve.
- Cormac Cullinan: Lawyer and author, Cullinan & Associates (Cormac was a member of our management committee until March 2017).
- William Frater: Independent consultant, former director of Frater Asset Management.
- Malcolm Gray: Former global head of ESG at Investec Asset Management, now co-founder and CCO of Libryo.
- Jeunesse Park: Founder, Food & Trees for Africa.
- Simon Gear: Anchor presenter for 50/50 on SABC 2, author and professional speaker.
- Bishop Geoff Davies: Patron and former head of SAFCEI (Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute).
- Richard Worthington: Activist, independent energy and climate change expert.
- Rukia Cornelius: Regional gender lead for Oxfam Southern Africa.
- Lise Pretorius: Formerly GCX Africa, now with WWF Asia, and adviser to Flourish.
- Happy Khambule: Former ManCo member, former policy and research coordinator, Project 90 by 2030; now climate and energy political advisor for Greenpeace Africa.
We work on an ongoing basis with staff and students at UCT, particularly the student-led Green Campus Initiative and the Climate Action Project.
Our thanks to these UCT staff members in particular:
- James Irlam (senior lecturer, Health Sciences)
- Jesse Burton (Energy Research Centre)
- Dr Eduard Grebe (formerly post-doc research fellow, Centre for Social Science Research)
- Tania Katzschner (lecturer, Department of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics)
Funding, annual reports & financial reviews
Our latest annual report: 2019
- Fossil Free SA’s first budget of approximately R70,000 was funded through a Thundafund campaign that closed on 31 January 2015. We have since received some ongoing contributions from supporters and donations at events.
- In 2017, our May divestment workshop was funded by R30,000 from 350.org and R12,000 from Futuregrowth Asset Management. Futuregrowth also part-sponsored our 2019 workshop on Climate-Proofing Retirement Funds. David Le Page’s travel to a 2017 global divestment conference in Amsterdam was sponsored by the Wallace Global Fund.
- 2017–2021: We received core operational funding from the Wallace Global Fund. We continue to receive small monthly donations from a number of individuals. We also received $3,000 from a private donor in the US in 2018.
- During 2021, we received core funding from the European Climate Foundation and Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.
The global divestment campaign has been endorsed, by, amongst others:
- Archbishop Desmond Tutu (who has also specifically endorsed our UCT campaign)
- The British Medical Association
- The World Council of Churches
- Former US vice-president Al Gore
- The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia (and now Australia)
- World Bank president Jim Yong Kim
- And many others… more here.
Our South African campaign has been endorsed by these organisations and individuals:
- Archbishop (of Cape Town) Thabo Makgoba
- UCT Green Campus Initiative
- 350 Africa
- The People’s Health Movement
- Southern African Alternative Energy Association
- Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute (watch Bishop Geoff Davies explain why divestment is vital)
- Treasure the Karoo Action Group
- Pregs Govender, former MP and deputy chair of the SA Human Rights Commission (in her personal capacity)
- Earthlife Africa
- The Landmark Foundation
- Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation
- Ronnie Kasrils, former minister of water affairs and forestry.
- Simon Gear, anchor of SABC3 environment programme 50/50.
- Nelson Mandela Bay Transition Network
- East Rand Protective Workshop
Academics endorsing the UCT campaign:
- Dr Gina Ziervogel
- Dr Eduard Grebe
- Dr Claire Kelly
- James Irlam, senior lecturer, Health Sciences
- Richard Calland, associate professor, law faculty
- Cormac Cullinan, research associate of the Department of Public Law at UCT
- Phoebe Barnard, lead climate scientist at SANBI: “As a ‘leading Afropolitan university’, UCT can show Africa and South Africa true leadership here.”
- Professor Ralph Hamann, Graduate School of Business
- Tania Katzschner, senior lecturer, School of Architecture
- Endorsements for this campaign are now being added to our petition calling on the University of Cape Town to be true to its own research and traditions, and divest from fossil fuels. If you’re part of the UCT community, please do add your signature.
If you are part of a South African organisation that endorses this movement, please message us so we can add your name. We value all our supporters equally. But if you are, say, a professor or run an investment company, your endorsement, like the names above, could be very helpful, so please let us know.
Our campaign was originally inspired by the work of 350.org. We have close working relationships with 350 Africa, and with Just Share. We are a registered network supporter of the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment. Our UCT campaign has been an ongoing partnership with the student members of the Green Campus Initiative. We are affiliated with SACAN and the SA Climate Justice Coalition.