Deputy Director Vacancy

Closing date: 14 November 2018
Based in Cape Town or Johannesburg

The Centre for Environmental Rights is a non-profit organisation of activist lawyers who help communities and civil society organisations in South Africa realise our Constitutional right to a healthy environment, by advocating and litigating for environmental justice.

CER seeks to appoint a Deputy Director for the organisation. The position is based either in Cape Town, or in Johannesburg but with travel to Cape Town required on a regular basis.

CER is committed to diversity, inclusion and transformation. Candidates from historically disadvantaged or marginalised groups are strongly encouraged to apply for this post, and will be preferred.

Qualifications, skills and experience

  • An LLB or equivalent qualification. Other qualifications or training that would be an advantage include: an LLM, particularly in environmental law; human resources management; and financial management.
  • sensitivity to social issues and to the needs of communities impacted by environmental degradation and injustice, and a passion for social and environmental justice.
  • A broad knowledge and understanding of environmental laws and governance, legal and procedural requirements for environmental decision-making, and legal challenges.
  • Aptitude for leadership, and managerial competence: at least 5 years’ experience in a management role, including experience in organisational development, talent development and performance management, financial and operations management.
    Commitment to and experience in implementing diversity, inclusion, and transformation, building a value-driven institutional culture, and promoting staff well-being.
  • Competence and experience in strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation.
  • Good public speaking skills, and experience and confidence in dealing with the media.
  • Excellent networking skills, and strong capabilities in building support amongst a wide range of stakeholders, partners and networks.
  • Experience in raising funds and managing donor relationships.

Key responsibilities

While we require flexibility from all our staff as our strategic imperatives change and develop over time, key responsibilities of this position currently include the following:

  • Strategic Leadership: Together with the Executive Director and management team, providing strategic leadership to the CER, building the institutional resilience, sustainability, reputation, strategic direction, and well-being of the organisation; standing in for Executive Director where required.
  • Programme Management: Coordinating regular review of and measurement against CER’s Strategic Plan, and ensuring reporting, recording and sharing learning for systemic change; working with Programme Heads to ensure that the organisation’s work remains aligned with CER’s Strategic Plan, and monitoring overall workload of CER and staff.
  • Stakeholder Management: Together with the Executive Director and Communications Manager, managing CER’s media profile; managing funder relationships and ensuring timeous and comprehensive reporting to funders; attending and participating in partner and network meetings, and giving input into strategic collaborations.
  • Financial Management: Together with the Executive Director, managing expenditure against budget, implementing alternative financing strategies, conceptualising and approving major funding proposals; authorising any major decisions about office improvements, new equipment and services, within budget.
  • Resilient and inclusive staff culture: Together with the Executive Director, ensuring that CER’s organisational structure, internal staff policies, recruitment of staff, and annual performance review give effect to CER’s values and strategic objectives; together with the Executive Director, leading CER’s diversity, inclusion, and transformation programme; and generally nurturing an institutional culture that facilitates achieving CER’s vision and well-being.
  • Corporate governance: Assisting the Executive Director in reporting to the CER Board, and implementing Board decisions; and monitoring CER’s legal and governance compliance.

The Centre benchmarks its salaries for the public interest law sector, and the salary offered will be dependent on factors that may include the qualifications, level of expertise and experience of the successful candidate.

Working for the CER

The Centre for Environmental Rights is a non-profit organisation and law clinic of environmental rights lawyers that helps communities defend their right to a healthy environment. We do this by advocating and litigating for transparency, accountability, and compliance with environmental laws.

As South Africa’s largest public interest environmental law organisation, we use our expertise and commitment to fight for environmental justice and advance the right to a healthy environment for all. We take on the big environmental battles: cases in which we can empower local communities, have an enduring impact, set powerful precedents for other cases, and help improve policy and practice across the country.

Winning the legal case is only part of the battle. CER’s litigation work is strengthened by local empowerment, dedicated policy and advocacy work and engagement with a wide range of stakeholders, and strategic communications. In all of our work, we work closely with partners in affected communities, with other civil society organisations in the environmental and social justice sector, and with other public interest law organisations.

We work across the following core themes: Biodiversity, Mining, Water, Pollution and Climate Change, and Corporate Accountability. We have our main office in Observatory, Cape Town, with a smaller office in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

At CER, we value our staff and regard their well-being as a priority. We are committed to a work environment that is inclusive and empathetic, and in which diversity is celebrated and supported.

How to apply

Please send the following documents to: nicola@ndrlaw.co.za by 14 November 2018, with the email subject line: “CER Application”:

  • A cover letter setting out your skills and relevant experience, as well as why you want to work at the CER;
  • A copy of your CV;
  • Two recent written references.

Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Call for Applications: Southern African Digital Rights & Online Freedom of Expression Litigation Surgery

14 – 18 January 2019, Johannesburg, South Africa

The Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI) is calling for applications from lawyers based in Botswana, eSwatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe to participate in a forthcoming litigation surgery on the right to freedom of expression online, digital rights and the Internet.

All applicants are required to submit for discussion a current or potential case involving these matters. Successful applicants will attend the litigation surgery and become members of a digital rights legal network through which there will be opportunity for engagement regionally and internationally.

Litigation surgery objectives

MLDI provides legal support to journalists, bloggers and independent media. In recent years, it has supported a significant number of cases involving online media. These have included challenging social media blocking and Internet shutdowns, contesting cybercrimes legislation, ‘false news’ regulations and intermediary liability, as well as advancing greater online privacy and source protection.

The objectives of the litigation surgery are:

  • To equip participants with skills and knowledge to litigate using national and international laws as well as regional and international mechanisms relevant to freedom of expression online;
  • To build a digital rights network and help facilitate its engagement with international legal mechanisms and global civil society initiatives; and
  • To assist and develop working relationships amongst lawyers undertaking such cases.

Criteria for eligibility

Participants will be selected on the following criteria:

  • The surgery is open to lawyers who work and reside in Botswana, eSwatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Applicants can either be working in private practice or be working for, or be affiliated with, NGOs promoting the right to freedom of expression through litigation. Exceptionally strong applications from lawyers who have not yet undertaken freedom of expression work, but have experience litigating other human rights cases and have a strong interest in undertaking freedom of expression work will be considered as well.
  • A maximum of 12 participants will be selected;
  • Applicants must be proficient in English;
  • The lawyers must have a demonstrated interest in and/or knowledge of the right to online freedom of expression, digital rights, Internet freedom and/or related issues;
  • The lawyers must have a demonstrated interest in and/or knowledge of international and regional human rights law;
  • With their application, applicants are requested to submit a case study of a case that they are litigating or intend to litigate and that could be discussed during the litigation surgery. As set out above, it will suffice for participants who do not have a case that is pending to have identified a relevant law, practice or policy relating to online freedom of expression that they would like to challenge in court. However, such participants must demonstrate their ability and willingness to pursue the case after the surgery;
  • The cases submitted must involve a violation of the fundamental right to freedom of expression online. The following non-exhaustive list of themes are a guide for the type of cases that could be submitted with the application:
  • Cybercrime laws;
  • Intermediary liability;
  • Internet shutdowns;
  • Restriction of online media;
  • Online privacy;
  • National security; and
  • Anonymity online.

MLDI is committed to equality of opportunity and diversity; and will therefore consider gender, age and country of origin in its selection of participants.

How to apply

Please complete the attached application form and submit it to Michael Moss at michael.moss@mediadefence.org. The deadline is Tuesday 16 October.

Shortlisted applicants will be notified soon after the closing date and should be available for a Skype or telephone interview on31 October, 1 November or 2 November 2018.

Deadline for applications: Tuesday 16 October


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a litigation surgery?

A litigation surgery comprises in-depth sessions on international and comparative law relevant to freedom of expression as well as interactive sessions where participants present a case they are working on to peers and experts and discuss that case. The surgery’s focus on preliminary problem identification, framing of violations, formulation of human rights arguments and remedies. They also provide an in-depth understanding of strategic litigation and litigating before regional and international human rights bodies.

Q: I am not a lawyer but I am interested, can I apply?

Litigation surgeries are only open to lawyers who are in practice. Very rare exceptions will be made for lawyers who are not in practice or other people providing legal assistance to civil society organisations that work on the right to freedom of expression.

Q: What is the purpose of a litigation?

Litigation surgeries are intended to be a space for litigators to receive technical legal expertise on the relevant thematic issues. It is also a space for litigators to network and find out what other litigators in East Africa are working on.

Q: Where must surgery participants be from?

This call for applications relates to Southern Africa, and only lawyers based and working in Botswana, eSwatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Q: How many participants will be at the litigation surgery?

12 participants will be selected for the litigation surgery. There will also be two MLDI lawyers, an MLDI project coordinator and an external facilitator.

Q: Who pays for the costs of participation?

MLDI will cover airfare, accommodation, travel expenses and a per diem.

Q: Is there any follow-up?

MLDI plans to help facilitate a network of lawyers who are interested and active in defending digital rights and online freedom of expression cases. Further details will be provided during the litigation surgery.

In addition, MLDI’s lawyers will discuss with participants how MLDI can assist with their cases and provide follow-up. MLDI will also discuss the possibility of providing further assistance to the freedom of expression cases participants work on after the surgery, either by way of providing ad hoc legal support or by way of partnerships. As MLDI is a non-governmental organisation dedicated to providing legal defence to journalists, bloggers and independent media across the world through its networks, it is always interested in following up on participants’ cases and working with participants on cases in the future.

Attached files: 

File Application Form – Southern Africa digital right & online freedom of expression litigation surgery.docx

PDF icon Call for applications – Southern Africa Digital Rights Online Freedom of Expression Litigation Surgery.pdf

International Electoral Observers (IEO) – Training

Open and legitimate elections are the indispensable foundation for sustainable development and an effective democracy. Actions supporting the right to participate in genuine elections can play a major role in sustaining peace, security and conflict prevention. Support takes the form of electoral assistance projects and election observation missions. This requires skilled and trained observers. Selected applicants will be allowed to become aware of the role, the tasks and the status of international observers, and will be given a theoretical and practical training on election observation and election observation missions functioning.


The aim of the training seminar is to deepen the theoretical and practical expertise on election observation missions in providing participants with practical skills which will be an asset in case of further applications as international observers.
Starting with a thorough introduction on the international observation theory and legal standards, the course will analyse the practical life of a short term observer from the selection procedure to the end of the mission including the observation of the polls, the filling of the forms, the reporting system and the code of conduct. The methodology will combine frontal lecturers in plenary, working groups as well as role plays, discussions and simulation exercises. Participants will also be introduced to the long-term election observation by analysing in depth some of the aspects related to an international observation mission such as working relations, interviewing techniques, media and security.


The training is organised with the patronage of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Italy, Czech Republic and Spain.

Deadline early bird enrolment: 3 Semptember 2018
Registration deadline: 15 October 2018
Course dates26 – 30 November 2018
Venue: EIUC premises in Venice Lido at the Monastery of San Nicolò.

Admission requirements: The course is devoted to those applicants with no experience in election observation or to those observers who have participated to a maximum of two missions as short term observers.
Lectures are conceived for an audience of graduates mainly in Law, Political Sciences, Economics, Sociology, Philosophy, Anthropology or similar who wish to address international election observation from a multi-disciplinary approach which will be useful for a further engagement on the field.
All courses will be held in English.
EIUC will review applications on an on-going basis so as to give non-European participants as much time as possible for the organisation of visa requests.
Registration Form: We strongly recommend early registration as the number of places is limited. www.eiuc.org/ieo-register


For more information, contacts us at training.ieo@eiuc.org or visit www.eiuc.org/ieo


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