Mpumalanga Branch

About Mpumalanga Branch

Mpumalanga Branch Chair: Philip Radford

Philip Radford, holds a BSc degree in Environmental Science from the University of Plymouth, United Kingdom (UK) and a Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Protection from Salford University, UK. Philip has completed a variety of other courses in environmental management, waste management and pollution prevention.
Philip spent most of his career in the United Kingdom working for the Environment Agency as an Environment Officer dealing with environmental audits, compliance inspections and enforcement of illegal waste operations. He relocated to South Africa in 2009 to work as an Environmental Consultant in Nelspruit before joining Ecoleges in 2011. 
Philip carries out environmental monitoring and auditing (ECO and Auditor) and has prospects for developing an Integrated Waste Management Planning division within Ecoleges Environmental Consultants.
Philip is a member of the Honorary Rangers Lowveld Branch, IAIAsa and a member of the Wildlife Society of South Africa (WESSA). He is also in the process of registration with the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions.



Mpumalanga Branch Past Chair: Ria Wilken

Ria has a MSc. in Urban Ecology from NWU Potch and has headed her own consultancy UmSinsi Environmental Specialists in Nelspruit since 2006. She is a family person and a mother of three who likes beading, bird watching, camping, cooking and she is an Honorary ranger of the KNP. After nearly 20 years at the Agricultural research centre in Potchefstroom , she joined the Mpumalanga Dept of Environment (Pollution & Waste Management) for about five years, whereafter she started her own consultancy. Ria is a member of the Plant Specialist Group and the Botanical Society and is keen on the identification of trees and of flowering herbs and also an avid gardener. A logical outflow of this is her interest in Ecological Restoration, Pollution remediation and Ecological assessments, as well as Environmental education, Waste Management and using the facts in nature to give motivational speeches.


Branch Secretary: Hlengi Mtsweni

Hlengile graduated from the Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria with a National Diploma in Environmental Science and a certificate from the North West University (Centre for Environmental Management) as well as SAMTRAC from NOSA. 

Hlengile has 7 years’ experience in the field of Environmental Impact Assessment processes and has also worked in the capacity of Environmental Control Officer, Public Participation Coordinator as well as Administrator for Ecoleges Environmental Consultants.
Hlengile is committed to promoting the IAIAsa Code of Conduct and skills development within the environmental management profession.


Events & Marketing Co-ordinator: Riana Janse van Rensburg 

Having grown up in Nelspruit and visiting the Kruger National Park on a regular basis, Riana developed a passion for nature and the protection of our natural resources. Riana obtained her Nature Conservation Diploma from Technicon Pretoria in 1997. After working as a nature conservationist and ranger for three years, she decided to venture into the Environmental Management field and moved to Witbank (eMalahleni). Starting as a Junior Environmental Scientist, she quickly worked her way up to a senior post. During the next 8 years, she completed numerous courses in Environmental Impact Assessments, GIS, Wetlands, Safety Health and Environment, Project Management and Photography from various institutions.  

In 2012 Riana obtained her Masters Degree in Environmental Management from the University of the Free State. Being based in Witbank, she focused her research on energy efficiency in the mining sector, for which she obtained a merit award. The diversity of her studies greatly assists in managing and implementing environmental impact assessment processes and it is her intention to continue her studies well into the future.

Riana has a demonstrated history of working in the environmental services industry with 20+ years’ experience in nature conservation, Environmental Impact Assessment processes, project management, public participation, water use licenses and mining applications.  She has built up excellent relations with various decision making authorities and key stakeholders. Riana is committed to the development of professionals within the environmental management field through arranging quality IAIAsa branch events and promoting the IAIAsa Code of Conduct.


Events & Marketing Co-ordinator: Taryn Bigwood 

Taryn Bigwood has a Masters Degree in Geography focusing on Zoo-Geomorphology from the University of Pretoria and has a consultancy (Environmental Management Assistance PTY LTD) in Delmas since 2013.  Taryn has been exceptionally dedicated and passion about the environment as she spends much of her free time in the veld, birding, hiking, visiting game reserves and diving.  Her career path has also displayed passion for the environment, as she has worked in environmental related fields for the Government (Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority, EMI Grade 2) and the private sectors for approximately 14 years, which has given her a comprehensive insight into all facets of Environmental work enabling her to assist companies and organizations to eliminate their environmental risks on any level by undertaking all environmental licensing (EIAs, WULA and WML) compliance monitoring, compliance auditing and environmental systems implementation and closure audits.   Taryn is a member of the Southern African Association of Geomorphologists (SAAG) and Landscape and Rehabilitations Society of South Africa (LaRSSA) and has presented a number of courses and presentations at a number of different organizations and companies to improve Environmental awareness and to further knowledge on the subjects she loves.    


NEC Representative: Robyn Luyt

Robyn is currently the Deputy Director: Environmental Impact Management at Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land & Environmental Affairs. She obtained an MSc cum laude (Botany) from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal and is registered as a Professional Natural Scientist with the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions. She began her career in integrated environmental management in the private sector before moving to government, and has over 10 years experience in the field of IEM.