Dr Desmond Kegakilwe – Chairperson 

Dr Desmond Kegakilwe is the Chairperson of the RHAP Board. Born and bred in the rural village of Tlakgameng, in the far west of North-West Province, and where he works as a rural doctor today, Dr Kegakilwe’s commitment to rural health is unwavering. Dr Kegakilwe was trained as a medical doctor in Cuba, and graduated in 2004 in South Africa not only with a medical degree but also with a strong sense to serve the underprivileged. Dr Kegakilwe is also RuDASA Chairperson. In 2012 he was one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans. Find out more about Desmond in this RuDASA interview.

Dr Daphney Nozizwe Conco (ExCo Chairperson)

Dr Daphney Nozizwe Conco is the Chairperson of the RHAP Executive Committee, tasked by the Board to providing support and oversight to the RHAP management team. Daphney is a Senior Lecturer for the Wits School of Public Health MPH program. She acquired her basic nursing degree from the University of Zululand, after which she practised in a deep rural KZN hospital. She later obtained various other qualifications, including a Doctorate of Philosophy from the Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences, London South Bank University. Her interests in Public Health include: social determinants of health; eradication of poverty and hunger; rural health; and advocating for gender equality, women’s empowerment, sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice.  She has worked for non-governmental, developmental, trade union and academic organizations. These include the Women’s Health Project, Reproductive Health Research Unit, UNFPA and the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa.


Prof Steve Reid (ExCo Member and Board Treasurer)

Prof Steve Reid is the Chair of the Primary Health Care Directorate at the University of Cape Town. A family physician by training, Prof Reid’s passion and commitment for rural health dates back from the eighties where he worked at Bethesda Hospital as a conscientious objector to military service. He presided over the transition from the Centre for Health and Social Studies (CHESS) at the University of Natal to the UKZN Centre for Rural Health. Prof Reid has published extensively on the issue of compulsory community service, and is currently involved in numerous research projects in the field of rural health, including medical education, human resources for health, and Community-Oriented Primary Care.


Prof Haroon Salojee (ExCo Member)

Haroon Saloojee is a full professor and Head of the Division of Community Paediatrics at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg and a principal specialist at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Soweto. He has a range of research and academic interests including childhood malnutrition, neonatal care, medical education and health system organisation. He is a past president of the College of Paediatricians of South Africa, and a member of the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa Senate. He is an executive member of the South African Paediatric Association and the South African Child Health Priorities Association. He also is a member of the University of the Witwatersrand Senate. He is a member of the Boards of the Soul City Institute and the Starfish Foundation. He is an executive member of the Global Paediatric Education Consortium. Prof Salojee serves on ministerial committees on child mortality and morbidity, and immunisation. He has offered technical support to various World Health Organisation technical committees.

Wits Health Consortium (ExCo Member)

Wits Health Consortium has a seat on the ExCo and Board as Ex-officio member to provide financial, grant management support and oversight.


Prof Ian Couper chaired RHAP’s Steering Committee from 2009 to June 2015 and headed up the Board Executive Committee from 2015 untill mid-2019. A family physician by training, his areas of expertise are in health service development, undergraduate and postgraduate education, HRH research, and advocacy. Prof Couper is the Director of Ukwanda Centre for Rural Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Editor of the African section of the international journal Rural and Remote Health. In January 2014 he received the Special Award for Outstanding Health Professional Educators at the Prince Mahidol Award Conference 2014 “Transformative Learning for Health Equity”, in Thailand.

Ntombiyenkosi Nkosi

Ntombiyenkosi Nkosi is a National Citizen Voice and Action Coordinator for World Vision. South Africa. Her role is to promote civic education and civic engagement to ensure human rights are upheld to benefit all. She serves as a link between communities and duty bearers that leads to community policy dialogues for improved service delivery.

Ntombiyenkosi is passionate about community capacity enhancement hence she supported rural communities register their organisations as legal entities and to source funding for project financing. One of the projects is Mfelandawonye which’s main objective was to build capacity of its members both technically and organisationally, who became agents of transformation. With project management expertise and experience she designed and managed various projects in the field of sponsorship and advocacy that made communities realize significant role to participate in governance matters.

She graduated with a Social Science Degree from the University of KwaZulu Natal. She accumulated knowledge and skills through courses like Human Resources, Democracy & Participation and Project Management.

Sasha Stevenson

Sasha Stevenson is the Head of Health at SECTION27. An attorney by profession, she works primarily on the right of access to health care services. Sasha’s work takes her between government department boardrooms, courtrooms and remote villages in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. SECTION27’s use of the law to catalyse social change means that, far from maintaining a traditional legal practice, Sasha is just as likely to be found speaking about rights to nurses and patients in a remote rural clinic as doing policy research or drafting court papers.

Prior to joining SECTION27, Sasha worked at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, before going on to complete an LLM in International Human Rights Law at the University of Cambridge. In 2009 she worked as a clerk for the late former Chief Justice Pius Langa.

Sibongile Tshabalala

Sibongile Tshabalala is the National Chairperson of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC). She is also the Deputy Chairperson of the Gauteng Provincial AIDS Council. She is openly and proudly living with HIV. She was diagnosed with HIV in 2000 after a long and severe illness. In 2009 she became a member of the TAC Vosloorus branch. In 2012 she was elected as Provincial Chairperson of TAC Gauteng and currently she worked as a District Organiser in Gauteng. At the National Congress held at Lesedi Cultural Village in Gauteng (2017), she was elected as National Chairperson of TAC.


Mark Heywood

Mark is the Executive Director of SECTION27 (which incorporated the AIDS Law Project in 2010). He joined the AIDS Law Project (ALP) in 1994 and in 1998 he was one of the founders of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC). He has continued to serve on the TAC Secretariat, National Council and Board of Directors. Mark was elected as the deputy chairperson of the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) in 2007 and remained in the role for five years before standing down in 2012. In 2009, he was appointed as a member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on National Health Insurance. Mark has also written extensively on HIV, human rights and the law and has been part of the legal teams of the ALP, TAC and SECTION27 that have been involved in major litigation around HIV and other human rights issues in South Africa.


Erika Bostok

Based at Witbank Hospital, Mpumalanga, Erika Bostok is a Speech Therapist and Audiologist by training and a founding member of Rural Rehab South Africa. She is the Vice-chairperson of the National Speech Therapy and Audiology Forum, the Acting Nkangala District Rehabilitation Coordinator from April 2009 to date and one of the RuRESA representatives on the National NDoH Rehab Task Team.


Dr. Ziyanda Vundle

Dr Ziyanda Vundle is a Public Health Medicine specialist. She hails from the Eastern Cape, the most rural province in South Africa. Although she did not train within the province, she has always been in touch with the province. This is demonstrated by her practising medicine within the province and her return to use her expertise in Public health Medicine and contribute to the improvement of population health in the Eastern Cape. Dr Vundle has a personal insight into challenges faced by populations that live in rural areas.

Dr Vundle is currently employed by the Walter Sisulu University as the Head of the Department of Public Health. Significant impact on change can be sought through various approaches: Political systems, civil organisations, philanthropy, and scientific research and implementation, amongst others. She chose to use the academic approach to influence and address social and health challenges.

Dr Vundle sits in various board and executive committees to highlight the plight of the rural and underserved populations.

Thembekwa Gwagwa

Thembeka is the founding General Secretary of the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA),  with strong leadership and relationship-building skills. She is a nurse with 35 years of experience in clinical, education and policy influence or formulation. She has served on different boards and these include but not limited to, Pharmacy Council board, Medical Schemes board, TAC and Purple Capital group ( a company registered with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange).

Thembekwa currently serves as a Board member of the International Council of Nurses (ICN) representing Africa region, and is the 2nd Deputy President.


Dr Bernhard Gaede

Dr Bernhard Gaede is Head of Family Medicine at the University of KwaZulu Natal. He was previously the Director of the UKZN Centre for Rural Health (CRH) and worked for many years at Emmaus Hospital, in the Drakensberg, as Hospital Manager, Medical Manager as well as Medical Officer at different stages. He has been extensively involved with rural health advocacy through the Rural Doctors’ Association of Southern Africa (RuDASA) as well as the Rural Health Advocacy Project.


Nhlanhla Ndlovu

Nhlanhla is the director of the Centre for Economic Governance & Accountability in Africa (CEGAA) and is responsible for strategic direction and leadership of CEGAA – including programme development, coordination and management; stakeholder liaison, partnership building and management; and capacity building and research on budget monitoring and expenditure tracking for advocacy (BMETA). He has a special interest in policy and budget making processes, engagement with budget powerbrokers, and development and use of evidence to advance resource allocation and utilisation for wellbeing. He has advanced experience in Public Finance and Budgeting work in South Africa and elsewhere. He holds a Master of Philosophy in Public Policy (MPPP) from UCT, BComm Hours from UKZN, BSocSc from UKZN.

Prof Lionel Green-Thompson

Prof Lionel Green-Thompson has recently been appointed as Dean, School of Medicine at the Sefako Makghato Health Sciences University’s. Previously he was the Assistant Dean: Teaching and Learning, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand


Daniela Goeieman

Daniela Goeieman is a National Committee Member for Professional Association of Clinical Associates in South Africa (PACASA). She graduated with a BCMP degree from Wits in 2013. She joined PACASA’s management committee in 2015 to assist with developing the association’s strategic objectives and to strengthen the profession and organisation’s identity. Her passion for rural health stems from experiences at medical school and a personal attachment with relatives/friends that are living in rural areas.

Russell Rensburg (ex-officio)

As the Director of the RHAP, Russell is an ex-officio member of the RHAP Board. See the staff page for more information.