Heather van Niekerk

Co-Executive Director

Heather van Niekerk is the Co-Executive Director of Sonke Gender Justice. She oversees Sonke’s finance and sub-granting, human resources, monitoring and evaluation and administrative teams as well as the resource mobilisation co-ordinator. Heather joined Sonke in November 2013 as the Operations Director and was promoted to Co-Executive Director from 1 January 2017.

She has a longstanding commitment to human rights, with a specific focus on women’s and children’s rights. Growing up on the Cape Flats, her social and political awareness was shaped by the struggle against Apartheid during the 1980s and early 1990s. 

Heather is an experienced professional with over 20 years’ experience in the NGO sector. Prior to Sonke Gender Justice, she served as the Regional Finance Manager at Save the Children International in the Southern Africa Regional office and prior to that as the Executive Director of Amnesty International South Africa. 

She believes that strong operational systems act as catalysts for organisations to more effectively and efficiently pursue their objectives. Heather has a proven track record in strengthening institutional capacity including the development of policies and procedures, compliance tools, risk registers and in overseeing the operational planning functions of an organisation. 

Heather served on several NGO boards, including Transparency International South Africa, Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre, and Amnesty International South Africa. She is currently the Treasurer of the board of Oxfam South Africa and the Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa (ISLA). 

Heather obtained her Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of South Africa.