What we do

Initiatives falling within the Freshwater Programme to date include: 

  • Working for Wetlands, which focuses on the rehabilitation, protection and sustainable use of South Africa’s wetlands, while contributing to the creation of employment as part of the Expanded Public Works Programme.
  • National Wetland Inventory, which is involved in mapping the extent, distribution and diversity of freshwater ecosystems in South Africa.
  • National Freshwater Ecosystem Priority Areas project (NFEPA), which aims to identify a national network of freshwater conservation areas and to explore institutional mechanisms for their implementation.

NFEPA Project Summary (November 2008)
Progress Report (May 2011)

Freshwater Programme workers

Reason for our programme

Recognising the value and threatened status of South Africa’s freshwater biodiversity, and the need to build competence and leadership in this area, SANBI has established a programme focusing on freshwater biodiversity. This is in line with the establishment of other biome and ecosystem programmes within the institute. The freshwater programme promotes integration, coordination and synergy between initiatives, thereby allowing a programmatic approach to be adopted.

What we have achieved

Working for Wetlands started rehabilitating wetlands throughout South Africa 10 years ago. Currently there are 40 projects in all provinces that see to it that degraded wetlands are rehabilitated.

  • Through Working for Wetlands, over 800 wetlands throughout South Africa were rehabilitated.
  • Through the National Wetlands Inventory, over 114 000 wetlands were mapped and classified using the newly-developed South African Wetland Classification System, through the National Freshwater Ecosystem Priority Areas project.
  • Through Working for Wetlands, above 15 000 job opportunities were created for people from vulnerable and marginalized groups. Funding for training of Expanded Public Works Programme beneficiaries was accessed from the Department of Labour.
  • Over 100 000 training days provided and over R50 million spent on training of project beneficiaries. Enterprise development training and support to contractors involved in the programme was provided, allowing them to establish successful independent businesses.

Who we are


John Dini (Director)
Betty Ncubuka (Programme Administrator)
Conride Mhlari (Manager: Social Development & Training)
Namhla Mbona (Manager: National Wetlands Inventory)
Mbali Kubheka (KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Coordinator)
Thomani Manungufala (Gauteng Provincial Coordinator)
Thilivhali Nyambeni (Free State Provincial Coordinator)
Japie Buckle (Eastern Cape Provincial Coordinator)
Heidi Niewoudt (Western & Northern Cape Provincial Coordinator)
Andre Beetge (Mpumalanga Provincial Coordinator)
Collin Nemadodzi (Limpopo Provincial Coordinator)
Eric Munzhedzi (Manager: Implementation & Aftercare)
Umesh Bahadur (Manager: Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation)
Pontso Pakkies (Communications Coordinator) 


  • Dept. of Environmental Affairs
  • Dept. of Water Affairs
  • Dept. of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
  • Water Research Commision
  • Expanded Public Works Programme
  • Landcare South Africa
  • Mondi Wetlands Programme
  • CSIR
  • World Wildlife Fund South Africa

John Dini
Director: Freshwater Programme
Tel: 012 843 5200

Visit the Working for Wetlands website.

Scroll to top