An influential woman in South Africa’s waste industry: Dr Suzan Oelofse

Caption: Dr Suzan Oelofse, South Africa’s ‘go-to’ person when it comes to waste-related issues. Oelofse officially took her place as the President of the Institute of Waste Management Southern Africa (IWMSA) from 01 July 2014, with a vision to better the country as a whole in the way waste is dealt with.

Local Jo’burger, ballroom dancer and photography enthusiast, Dr Suzan Oelofse, has been involved in an industry perceived as a ‘man’s world’ for many years. Oelofse the Research Group Leader for Waste for Development at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR) Natural Resources and Environment Operating Unit, joined the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) in early 2006.

Although a botanist by training and having obtained her PhD in Plant Physiology from the University of Johannesburg, Oelofse’s career in botany was short-lived. “I joined the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) in the pollution and waste section in 1996 where I was involved in the development of the White Paper for Integrated Pollution and Waste Management project as well as the first National Waste Management Strategy”, explains Oelofse.

Frequenting industrial sites early on in her career, Oelofse describes how she could not understand why the heaps of waste could not be used for something else. “The thought that all waste generated is in essence the result of consumer demand and consumption made me realise how unsustainable human activities are and thus my passion for waste management was born”, says Oelofse.

Oelofse believes that perceptions are changing when it comes to the waste industry and the role of women in waste management. “Women are much needed in the waste industry and with more and more women pursuing careers in waste management – on every level – I envisage a radical shift over the next few years towards an ethical, innovative and properly legislated industry”, says Oelofse.

“Being the President of the IWMSA provides me with the opportunity to influence the strategic direction of the IWMSA to ensure that we remain relevant and that we continue to make a difference in the waste management community”, says Oelofse. Establishing a working relationship with the Department of Environmental Affairs has been an achievement that Oelofse is most proud of since having joined the IWMSA team.

As President, her main areas of focus will be strengthening relationships with government, supporting the role of the IWMSA in regulating the industry, and shifting the focus from waste disposal to realising the resource potential of waste and implementing innovative technologies.

“All new developments under the Waste Act have implications for our members and the waste industry as a whole,” says Oelofse. “It is therefore imperative that the waste sector’s voice is heard at the appropriate level to have the necessary influence and impact towards improved waste management standards and legislation. The IWMSA is currently updating all its training material to include all the latest developments in legislation”.

Given the increased need for a regulatory body to oversee the conduct of the waste industry, Oelofse says she will further endeavour to position the IWMSA favourably for taking up this role and working with the authorities towards establishing a mutually acceptable system.

“Other exciting news for the industry is that we can look forward to having qualified waste management professionals in the near future”, says Oelofse. The Department of Science and Technology, in collaboration with South African Universities, is developing post-graduate qualifications in Waste Management.

Oelofse encourages the public to help preserve the country by getting involved in recycling initiatives. “WasteCon 2014, our flagship waste management conference is truly world class and should not be missed. It promises to be very informative and will be held from 06 to10 October 2014 at the Lord Charles Hotel in Somerset West”. Oelofse notes the transformation that the IWMSA has achieved in its membership. “It clearly shows that waste management is creating job opportunities, especially for previously disadvantaged individuals”, she explains.

For more information about IWMSA and WasteCon 2014, visit or contact 011-675-3462.

Smiles of joy this Mandela Day!

Caption: Durbanville Children’s Home in Cape Town was a flutter with giggles and excitement on International Mandela Day when Peninsula Beverage Company (PenBev – local bottler of The Coca-Cola Company’s products in the Western and Northern Cape) spent the afternoon with the youngsters of the home. 

Spirits were high at the Durbanville Children’s Home last Friday (18 July 2014) when Peninsula Beverage Company’s (PenBev) Human Resource Department celebrated Tata Madiba’s birthday with the children. The festivities kicked off with the little ones singing and dancing before the PenBev team rolled up their sleeves to make the lively bunch smile even more.

Over 50 children participated in the activities where the team from PenBev spoiled them with beverages, toys and brand new rulers and pencils for the upcoming school term. “We are very grateful for the opportunity to give back to our local community, especially to the youth, who are our country’s future. Durbanville Children’s Home is doing exceptional work and it is great to be working together with them. We are very fortunate to be able to be part of various Mandela Day events, including the Durbanville Children’s Home activities,” says Bryn Morse, HR Director at PenBev.

The youngsters at Durbanville Children’s Home come from abusive and neglected environments, which have instilled a sense of ‘nobody cares about me’ within them. In many cases, this has caused them to feel invisible and unimportant. “Through the kind gestures of PenBev on Mandela Day, the children felt very special as someone was willing to spend quality time with them and, most importantly, make an effort for their happiness. One of the children even said, ‘Wow, aunty! I thought this was Mandela’s birthday but it feels like my birthday’. Thank you PenBev and all the wonderful staff for making such a difference in the children’s lives,” says Johanna Strauss, Marketing and Fundraising Manager at Durbanville Children’s Home.

This was just one of the initiatives that the PenBev teams lent their support to on Mandela Day this year. They helped various communities around the Peninsula by giving out food, beverages, blankets and scarves at old age homes, orphanages and hospitals as part of their 67 minutes.

For more information about Peninsula Beverages, visit or contact 021 936 5500. PenBev is also on Facebook:

Photographer: Craig Wilson

Flex your green muscle Eastern Cape!

The much acclaimed Top Green Organisation Awards coordinated and sponsored by the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) in partnership with the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) is now open! Companies across the Eastern Cape are urged to enter online before 30 August 2014 to stand a chance of not only walking away with one of the most prestigious green titles in the country, but also showing the rest of South Africa the province’s green mettle.

All Eastern Cape organisations stand a chance of being recognised for their green contributions; categories include Small, Medium, Micro Enterprises (SMME’s), municipalities, provincial and national government departments as well as non-government organisations.  Entries for the Top Green Organisation Awards close on 30 August 2014; all interested parties can visit to download the entry form.

The Top Green Organisation Awards is aimed towards recognising and showcasing the achievements of organisations that comply with legislation governing broad environmental management compliance and green economy initiatives. “It is a wonderful opportunity for winners to demonstrate their innovation in environmental management,” says Honourable Sakhumzi Somyo, Member of the Executive Council at the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT).

The entrants will be shortlisted and audited from September to October by professional members of the DEDEAT and the IWMSA to determine who the winners are.  Finalists will also receive a detailed report outlining the findings from the audit and site visit. The winners will be announced at an esteemed Gala Banquet at the end of November – a platform honouring only the best of the best in environmental management within the Eastern Cape Province!

“The Eastern Cape Top Green Organisation Awards is a great platform for us as a province to showcase the responsible environmental management practices in the Eastern Cape. This is very much in line with the provincial goals and efforts to develop capabilities and demonstrate leadership as the hub of green economy,” says Somyo.

“We are very excited to be working with the DEDEAT on this programme. We believe it will gear all residents to the continual improvement of the quality of life in the Eastern Cape. The IWMSA’s KwaZulu Natal branch is already involved in a similar project and we are looking into rolling this very successful project out to the rest of the country as well,” says Dr Suzan Oelofse, President of the IWMSA.

Entrants are advised to submit any supporting information to assist in the review. This information can range from the company’s waste management or environmental policy statements and projects undertaken to address environmental management and cost savings.

For more information, please visit or contact the IWMSA Eastern Cape branch at or 043 733 8349. IWMSA is also on Facebook, Twitter and LindedIn.

One Million Lights for Brighter Futures

With 1.45-million people, representing 11% of South African households, living without electricity and a further 3.6% of households accessing electricity informally*,  light is a scarce commodity for many, often disrupting daily life and education due to limited study time.

Energizer® South Africa and USA registered nonprofit, One Million Lights are teaming up to improve the daily lives of children and adults in poor rural villages around the world, by providing clean and healthy lighting.

As the makers of the world’s longest lasting battery, Energizer® South Africa is committed to also making light last longer for a bright and healthy future. The One Million Lights partnership forms part of Energizer’s That’s Positivenergy campaign, a campaign focused on what people can do together to make the world a more positive place.

During July and August 2014, primary school learners in Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal will be receiving 7,000 solar and kinetic lights in areas without electricity.

“This the first time since the initiative’s inception in 2008 that we are sharing our healthy glow with the people of South Africa”, says Anna Sidana, Founder and CEO of One Million Lights. “We believe that all children should have access to a clean and eco-friendly solution to light, which enables them to study at night and add value to the time they spend with their families.”

The One Million Lights campaign has distributed over 50,000 safe, rechargeable solar lights around the world, replacing dangerous and polluting kerosene lamps.

“As a clean, healthy, renewable resource, solar lighting is such a natural fit,” says Rashmi Vadivelu, senior brand manager for Energizer® South Africa. “It is a wonderful opportunity to offer lighting to communities that will ultimately brighten their entire lives by extending study and play time, while eliminating carbon emissions, improving household health, and greatly increasing income savings.”

The campaign aims to ultimately distribute one million solar lights and replace dangerous and polluting kerosene lamps in communities where people are dependent on non-renewable and toxic fuels for their lighting needs.

For more information on One Million Lights, please visit, and

For more information about Energizer® and its That’s Positivenergy activities, please visit the website at

* According to Statistics South Africa’s General Household Survey (GHS) conducted in 2012.

About One Million Lights

One Million Lights is a USA registered nonprofit with a mission to improve the daily lives of children and adults by providing clean and healthy solar lighting. Its goal is to distribute one million solar lights and replace dangerous and polluting kerosene lamps in communities where people are dependent on non-renewable and toxic fuels for their lighting needs. These solar lights enable children to study at night and adults to extend their workday, all while eliminating carbon emissions, improving household health, and greatly increasing income savings.

About Energizer®:

As part of the of their That’s Positivenergy campaign and as the makers of the world longest lasting battery, Energizer South Africa have partnered with One Million Lights to make the learning last longer in areas without electricity.  

Proactive Cape Town businesses are taking ACTION!

Photo Caption: Cape Town business owners were in for a treat last week (17 July 2014) when the Founder and Chairman of ActionCOACH – the world’s number one business coaching franchise – Brad Sugars (standing fifth from the left), visited South Africa. Through an inspired session, Sugars helped business owners understand how to take action to grow effectively, simply, practically and cost-effectively in spite of the times. International award winning owner of Building Best Business and a certified ActionCOACH, Kathi Clarke (standing sixth from the left), invited all her clients and their clients to the educational seminar.

International ActionCOACH Founder and Chairman, Brad Sugars, who is also a bestselling author and successful entrepreneur himself, is currently visiting South Africa to share his knowledge. During an interactive three hour seminar at the Southern Sun Hotel in Cape Town on 17 July 2014, over 400 business owners took in Sugars’ extensive know-how, which yielded outstanding feedback from the audience.

During the seminar, business owners were reminded about the importance and ‘how to’ of identifying the right leads and investing wisely into the right marketing strategies. Most importantly, attendees learnt to test and measure these continuously to ensure that it’s generating both life-time customers and repeat business.

“I’m very privileged to have had 150 of my clients and their clients attend what was a hugely informative and practical seminar and to hear their feedback that it was a truly valuable evening. We are delighted to have hosted Brad who is world-class at what he does and resonates so with entrepreneurial owners because he speaks from hands-on experience,” says Kathi Clarke, owner of Building Best Business and certified ActionCOACH Business Coach in Cape Town.

Sugars talked about his latest book ‘Buying Customers’, which urges business owners to think of marketing efforts as an investment and not an expense. ‘Buying Customers’ is now on shelves – a must read for all business owners!

Currently placed in the top 100 ActionCOACH Business Coaches in the world, Kathi Clarke is an Industrial Psychologist, with over 25 years’ experience in growing businesses in five African countries.  Since returning to Cape Town in 2010 she has successfully helped more than 50 entrepreneurs to significantly grow their profits, develop entrepreneurial muscle and enjoy the lifestyle which prompted them to start their own business in the first place. Contact her on 021 423 9514 or if you’re an entrepreneurial business wanting to get bigger or a bigger business wanting to get better. Kathi Clarke is also on Facebook