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Centre for Environmental Rights – Advancing Environmental Rights in South Africa

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Non-Executive Director

Reference No: 6/2021

The closing date (8 May 2021) has passed and applications for this position are now closed.

The Centre for Environmental Rights NPC is a non-profit public interest environmental law organisation of activist lawyers working with communities and civil society organisations in South Africa to realise our Constitutional right to a healthy environment by advocating and litigating for environmental justice. We seek a just, equitable, compassionate society which is resilient, celebrates diversity, and respects the inter-dependence between people and the environment.

The Board of the Centre for Environmental Rights is recruiting a new non-executive director to fill a vacancy that will arise on the board when one of our board members retires later this year.

The Board invites interested and suitably qualified candidates to apply for the position of non-executive director of the organisation. The appointed non-executive director must understand how activism, legal advocacy and litigation contributes to social and environmental justice, and be committed to promoting and defending the role of civil society, community organisations and activists in realising environmental and other human rights. The ideal candidate for this position is a legal practitioner* (either an attorney or an advocate), and has qualifications, expertise and experience in the field of risk management that will prepare them to join the Board’s Risk Committee.

Section 34(8)(a)(i) of the Legal Practice Act, 28 of 2014 requires a majority of the governing body of the Centre, as an accredited law clinic, to be legal practitioners, as defined.


South Africa

Qualifications, skills and experience

The Centre and its Board are committed to the highest standards of governance, and to a board of directors which has the appropriate balance of knowledge, skills, experience, diversity and independence to enable it to discharge its governance roles and responsibility objectively and effectively.

The appointed non-executive director should possess the qualifications, skills, expertise and commitment which will support the organisation in achieving its objectives. Suitably qualified candidates with experience in one or more of the following areas of expertise, are encourage to apply:

  • Risk management
  • Financial management and audit requirements
  • Board governance of non-profit companies
  • Academic credentials in the areas that could include risk management, financial management, environmental law and governance, public interest law and/or social justice

Like the organisation, the Board of the Centre for Environmental Rights is committed to diversity, inclusion and transformation and strives to reflect South Africa’s racial, cultural, sex and gender diversity. Black and women candidates, as well as candidates younger than 40, are strongly encouraged to apply for this post, and will be preferred.

Candidates must have a clear understanding of the fiduciary duties of a director, and demonstrate the following personal characteristics:

  • Integrity: Have experience in a position of trust requiring him or her to act in good faith, avoid conflicts of interest, and display the highest standards of honesty and integrity within and outside the organisation.
  • Independence: Be able to exercise judgment independently of any stakeholder outside of the Centre for Environmental Rights, and not occupy any political office (in any political party) or occupy a position in any sphere of government.
  • Competence: The nominated directors must have obtained a degree or equivalent qualification and have demonstrable practical knowledge and experience relevant to the role.

Key responsibilities

The primary purpose of our Board is to provide governance and oversight of our organisation: what work we do, how we spend our funds, how we manage risk, and how we comply with law and best practice.

The Board participates in the development of the strategic direction of and plan for the organisation, and monitors the organisation’s activities to ensure that we continue to work to meet our strategic objectives.

The Board approves our annual budget, reviews quarterly reports on spending against budget, signs off on the annual audit of our financial statements, and makes sure that CER is adequately resourced to meet our strategic objectives. Board members also authorise certain payments in accordance with our internal financial policies.

The Board continuously assesses risks to the organisation, and ensures that adequate risk management measures are in place.

The Board ensures that CER complies with all applicable regulatory requirements.

The CER Board and its committees meet on a quarterly basis, and reviews its governance practices on an ongoing basis.


Non-executive director positions are not remunerated, but all reasonable and agreed travel expenses will be covered by the organisation. The position will also entail a comprehensive induction that includes training in best practices of non-profit organisation governance, as required.

How to apply

Please email Executive Assistant Phumla Yeki [email protected] with a brief explanation of your interest in and suitability for this role, as well as a copy of your CV.