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Park Planning and Development


Dr Mike Knight - Head: Planning & Development

  • As manager of the Park Planning & Development unit, he is responsible for ensuring that science informs as best a possible the thinking and direction in planning the expansion and development of our national park system, in the terrestrial and marine environments. This is informed by state of the art GIS-based conservation planning. This is translated into actual park expansion through acquisition and contractual inclusion, both coordinated by the office. The expansion of SANParks marine components is a focal area of the unit.
  • He is also responsible for the management grant funding for numerous park expansion/development projects. In addition the office is responsible for the delivery of park management plans, and the state of biodiversity reporting system. He also chairs the SADC Rhino Management Group and represent South Africa on the IUCN SSC African Rhino Specialist Group.

Ms Zoleka Vaveki: Administrative Officer

  • Handling all financial duties for Park Planning & development, World Bank project and all other projects they get involved with. (GEF, Marine projects with various stakeholders, Ukhahlamba District Municipality project etc).
  • Buying & payments, New vendor applications, Debtors & Creditors.
  • Administration of all Human Resource related issues. E.g. Accommodation, flights, salaries, airline bookings, contracts, new positions.
  • Leave registers, Notices, Advertisements for new positions (internal / eternal).
  • Front office management.
  • Directing delegates for meetings and workshops.
  • General enquiries; Office purchase , post, Office equipment, Monitor office supplies.

Mr Russel Smart - Park Planning & Implementation Coordinator

  • Addo World Bank project implementation.
  • Addo FGEF funded project implementation.
  • The Garden Route National Park - the management plan development, and public participation process.
  • Development of associated GRI planning products – socio-economic survey, tourism plan and way forward for the GRI (post funding).
  • Implementation of cultural heritage and oral history projects in Addo.
  • Involved in process of negotiating way forward towards community land inclusions in Addo.
  • Conducting State of Biodiversity assessments for Parks.
  • Contribute to the stakeholder Stewardship Working Group and GRI steering committee (in Garden Route), and FEGF steering committee, resettlement working group and project management unit forums (in Addo).

Dr Stephen Holness - Senior Manager, Strategic Park Planning and Development

  • As the Conservation Planner - specialise in the systematic conservation planning particularly within a protected area management and expansion context, spatial biodiversity assessment and GIS, with significant background in climate change, land degradation processes, fluvial geomorphology, integrated catchment management and rehabilitation of damaged ecosystems.
  • He is responsible for identifying spatial priorities for the expansion of the South African National Park System, as well as land use planning within the national parks. Responsibilities include:
  • Climate change forms a major current research and work theme.
  • Systematic conservation planning for reserve expansion is a major ongoing theme. Key projects are the identification and viability assessments for a potential Grasslands National Park.
  • Finescale systematic conservation planning for support bioregional plans and integrated land use decision making for whole landscapes is underway for Garden Route, the Overberg District and the Central Karoo.

Dr. Peter Bradshaw - Senior GIS Technician to Conservation Planning Technician

  • The principal responsibilities include managing the GIS database and providing technical GIS support for the Park Planning and Development Unit, and in particular, for the Strategic Conservation Planner. Also providing occasional GIS support to the greater SANParks organisation on an ad hoc basic. Responsibilities include:
  • I have provided technical GIS support for the systematic conservation planning process of SANParks, involving the analysis of sensitivity layers and park infrastructure, for the production of Park Zonation Map and Park Buffer Maps, which form components of the Park Management Plans.
  • Examples of other projects I have been involved in include transformation mapping via remotely sensed images and systematic conservation planning for the Garden Route and Overberg regions. I have also contributed to the collection of spatial data and preparation of visitor and hiking maps for the Frontier Cluster Parks. Additional projects include the SANBI-SANParks collaboration for the 2009 National Protected Areas Expansion Strategy.

Dr. Ané Oosthuizen - National Marine co-ordinator

  • Marine scientist with a fisheries ecology and management background, specializing in strategic and management planning around Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), particularly within a protected area expansion context. Responsibilities include:
  • Declaration of new MPAs adjacent to coastal National Parks, which includes: Planning, co-ordination and collation of scientific information, public participation processes, legal processes, management authority interaction and management plan drafting. Proposed new MPAs to be included in Addo Elephant, Agulhas and Namaqua National Parks.
  • Participation in national planning initiatives around MPAs, marine science and marine conservation policy, through various working groups and steering committees.
  • Attracting and facilitating strategic marine and coastal research by external scientists in new and developing MPAs.
  • Co-ordination and planning of marine issues within SANParks.

Mr. Aphiwe Bewana: Marine Planning Intern

  • Conservationist – he is still learning, He has just completed a Conservation Biology Masters programme which fundamentally dealt with how best to sustain and manage linked systems of people and nature. As discipline it builds on a range of existing disciplines, ranging from ecology and evolution to sociology and economics. He is knowledgeable on the management of Marine protected areas (MPAs). Responsibilities include:
  • State of knowledge reports for selected SANParks MPAs which include Greater Addo. Elephant MPA, Agulhas MPA & Namaqua MAP. Assistance in MPA declaration processes.
  • Attendance and assistance in marine planning meetings and workshops.
  • Fieldwork assistance to marine researchers where needed.
  • Translate scientific information into public language.
  • Attendance of all WWF-SA Living waters leadership workshops and requirements.

Mr Giel de Kok (based in Agulhas National Park)

  • Land negotiations and agreements (Agulhas, Tankwa, Limpopo, Augrabies, Richtersveld, Namaqua, Boesmanland)
  • Marine Protected Area – Agulhas
  • Community facilitation (Namaqua, Agulhas)
  • Chairperson, Agulhas Park Forum Workgroup 1.
  • Flying – own work, Research, ferry staff or people working in Parks, census, radio collar, etc.)
  • Assist Agulhas NP with management when required.
  • Assist with Research projects where needed.

Mr André Spies (based in Groenkloof, Pretoria) - Manager: Park Management Plans

  • He is responsible for managing the park management plan process. This process deals with the development of a management plan for newly developed parks or the revision of existing management plans. SANParks has created a framework for developing and implementing management plans it practices so that interested members of the public, collaborators as well as employees have an understanding of our management processes, especially Strategic Adaptive Management.
  • For more info regarding the process please check out the brochures at (see the framework for developing and implanting management plans in SANParks section).
  • Furthermore, he is also involved in the State of biodiversity assessments.

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