Marije Versteeg – Mojanaga: Director

Marije Versteeg-Mojanaga been at the helm of the Rural Health Advocacy Project (RHAP) since its inception in 2009. Marije’s expertise lies in health advocacy and social justice, organisational development and governance, coalition-building and partnerships for social change. She is currently working on issues relating to fair priority-setting of healthcare resource allocations, and the ethics of healthcare worker advocacy. Marije holds a Masters Degree in Culture, Organisation and Management from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and is studying towards a Masters in Applied Ethics at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. She has spearheaded the development of the two flagship programmes of the RHAP, which are The Voice Project (Building a critical mass of advocacy competent healthcare workers) and the Rural-Proofing Policy and Budgetting Programme. Marije has authored peer-reviewed and popular publications, provides regular presentations on issues affecting human rights and health in public fora and represents RHAP in a number of civil society coalitions, committees and government bodies. She is a member of the Executive Committee of the Rural Doctors Association of South Africa and represents RHAP on the Treatment Action Campaign National Council. Marije can be contacted at


Russell Rensburg: Programme Manager Health Systems and Policy

Russell is RHAP’s Programme Manager for health systems and policy. His work includes managing RHAP’s rural proofing programme which advocates for the equitable allocation of resources for rural health care delivery. Before joining RHAP, he worked with the UNAIDS supported Technical Support Facility, managing technical assistance to 19 focus countries across Eastern and Southern Africa. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce with majors in Management and Economics. Russell can be contacted at


Samantha Khan-Gillmore: Knowledge Manager

Samantha Khan-Gillmore is responsible for RHAP’s knowledge management and communications work. Having managed The Voice Project for two years, she continues to lead on RHAP’s Advocacy in the Curriculum work as well providing overall communications leadership and support to the organisation. Before joining RHAP she has managed education, workers’ and human rights programmes for over a decade, in South Africa and across the African continent. Samantha has previously worked for the Discipline of Occupational and Environmental Health (DOEH) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), Durban, as well for local and international labour movements. She holds a post-graduate (Honours) qualification in Politics and an undergraduate Law degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban. Samantha can be contacted at


Mafoko Phomane: Projects Coordinator

Mafoko coordinates the Rural Mental Health Campaign, the Nyandeni Learning Site and the Voice healthcare worker advocacy workshops. Starting off as an intern, Mafoko has been with the RHAP since 2014. She holds a BA in Psychology and originates from Lesotho where she worked for the Ministry of Health in the field of District Health Management and HIV/AIDS. She is in her final year of the MpH in Rural Health at the University of the Witwatersrand. Her MpH thesis investigates mental health care service delivery by rural nurses. Mafoko can be contacted at

Karessa Govender: Project Officer

Karessa obtained her undergraduate degree in occupational therapy from the University of the Witwatersrand in 2009. She is currently completing a master’s degree in occupational therapy through the same university with a specialisation in neurosciences. Karessa has been committed to public service since the onset of her career and has served in four different hospitals since 2010. During this period she has actively contributed to improving the quality and range of services provided in the departments she has worked in. Karessa’s involvement in the public sector has spurned her interest in social advocacy and the unique but often overlooked role of rehabilitation workers in advocating for social justice. Karessa started at RHAP as an intern in 2017 and was appointed Project Officer in 2018, working across programmes with an emphasis on Human Resources for Health and the Nyandeni Learning Site. Karessa can be contacted at

Peggy Bopape: Administrator

Peggy is the Office Administrator for RHAP, managing the office environment and the logistics of the different programmes. Before joining RHAP she worked for the NPO Right To Care as the Training Coordinator; coordinating health trainings such as HIV Counselling and Testing, Basic Counselling Skills, TB, Paediatric and Primary Care supporting Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Free State Province. She has a Diploma in Information Technology, Certificate in Office Administration and completed a Training and Development Management short course through the University of Cape Town. Peggy can be contacted at

Sharon Gostino: Research Intern

Sharon Gostino started as an intern at RHAP in July 2017. She holds a Public Health degree from Monash University and is currently pursuing an undergraduate Law degree from the University of South Africa. Prior to joining the RHAP team, she interned with Community of Aid Response (CARE), an NGO that focuses on research of HIV/ AIDS and other communicable diseases and also promoting the well-being of people through health education and awareness. Sharon has first-hand experience with the health system in a rural setting and its challenges and gaps. Sharon can be contacted at

Natasha Salant: Intern

Natasha joined as an intern in February 2018 and her focus is on health systems and policy. She holds an Honours in Philosophy from The University of the Witwatersrand, as well as an LL.B from The University of Cape Town. Natasha is committed to the idea that well-placed and passionate individuals, working through the law, are able to punch above their weight in the cause of moving towards a robust participatory democracy which holds government to account.