The Civic Tech Innovation Network

Reference Group

The Civic Tech Innovation Network has a Reference Group that is comprised of civic tech activists, leaders and scholars who have volunteered their time to help steer the network and serve as a point of reference and provide guidance for the Secretariat team. The reference group helps steer the network and serve as a point of reference and guidance.

The CTIN’s Reference Group currently includes:


Halfdan Lynge-Mangueira

Wits School of Governance

Halfdan Lynge is a Senior Lecturer at the Wits School of Governance. His research explores the effects of politics on public policy; i.e. how the cost-benefit calculations of politicians affect the lives of ordinary citizens. In addition, he has in interest in data science and its application to public policy. Halfdan holds a doctoral degree from the University of Oxford, UK and a master’s and bachelor’s degree from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

He is the founder and board chair of Sauti, a Mozambican market and public opinion research company, and previously worked five years with the UN in Africa and Asia. His last position was as Head of the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where he supervised a team of advisors to the UN Country Team. Halfdan started his career as a governance specialist and continues to work as a governance consultant.


Danga Mughogho


Danga Mughogho is the Programmes Manager. Well Governed Cities at the South African Cities Network, focusing on the management and sustainability of municipal finances, an urban governance. Danga has over twenty years of work experience in both the private and the public sector, including as an independent consultant in democratic governance.


Jonathan Wilson


Jonathan is an urban development professional operating as project manager for the South African Cities Network. Exchanging best practices and research pertaining to urban data, innovation and smart cities to South Africa’s largest cities and municipalities.


Kirsten Pearson


Kirsten Pearson is an independent consultant and researcher. Her areas of speciality are in sustainable development, public finance and civic tech. She is a steering committee member of the Budget Justice Coalition, a coalition of about twenty progressive civil society organisations who acknowledge that work to ensure substantive equality in our society is not possible without active engagement with, and transformation of, the budget.

Kirsten previously worked as a Deputy Director at the Government Technical Advisory Centre (formerly Technical Assistance Unit), National Treasury. She was there for just over eight years from 2009 to 2018. Her work has entailed being part of an Economic Development portfolio team that provides support to national priority projects. These projects have spanned all three spheres of government. Kirsten holds a Bachelor of Arts with majors in Development Studies and Communication Science through Unisa. She obtained her degree cum laude. She is currently completing a Masters in Development Studies at the University of Cape Town.


Koketso Moeti

Koketso Moeti has a long background in civic activism and has over the years worked at the intersection of governance, communication and citizen action. She currently serves as the founding executive director of, a community of over 617 507 people working to turn every cellphone into a democracy-building tool to ensure that those most affected by injustice- low- income Black women in particular- can take collective action on issues affecting our lives.

In 2018 she was announced as an inaugural Obama Foundation fellow and the Waislitz Global Citizen award winner. This comes after being a 2017 Aspen Institute New Voices fellow. She is also the Deputy Chairperson of the SOS Coalition, a coalition of South African organisations committed to and campaigning for public broadcasting in the public interest. When not working, Moeti can be found writing and has been published by a wide range of South African and international media.


Lailah Ryklief


Lailah is the Operations Manager at OpenUp, a civic technology organisation promoting the use of data and technology to drive social change. She also manages OpenUp’s Data Literacy Programme (previously Code for South Africa), acting as the lead curriculum developer, trainer, and mentor for various aspects of the project. She has a background in interactive media, design, and film, and has worked in academia for the University of Cape Town and GetSmarter in the areas of digital skills and online education.

Later she joined OpenUp’s Data Journalism Academy and was fast-tracked to Newsroom Developer within one month. As a side venture, Lailah currently runs an apothecary specialising in a natural range of therapeutic adaptogens that are derived from pure botanicals and raw honey. This family initiative promotes sustainable and ethical beekeeping practices as part of a bigger initiative to foster character development and social etiquette.


Lesley Williams Tshimologong

Digital Innovation Precinct

Lesley is the CEO of Wit’s University’s Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct, an international public speaker and dialogue moderator. She is also the founder of Impact Hub Johannesburg. Her focus is on social entrepreneurship and taking African digital innovation to global markets.

She breaks barriers by creating common ground between corporates, government, international developments agencies and entrepreneurs to work together. A career highlight was moderating a dialogue on Nelson Mandela’s legacy and the Future of Africa between President Barack Obama and Graca Machel at the African American Museum in Washington DC.

8. Nishendra Moodley

Nishendra Moodley

Future Cities SA

Nishendra Moodley is a Team Lead at Future Cities South Africa, the delivery partner for the South African component of Global Future Cities Programme of the UK Government’s Prosperity Fund, managed by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The programme intends to enhance inclusive economic growth and reduce poverty and social inequality through targeted projects on transportation and mobility, urban planning, resilience and the innovative use of data.

Nishendra is a governance specialist who has previously worked for the South African National Treasury‘s City Support Programme (CSP), where he was responsible for the City Governance component. He had worked in local government for the City of Cape Town (1998–2000), before playing an advisory role across all spheres of government, during the consolidation of SA’s democratic local government system (2000–2015). The focus of his work has been on the design of intergovernmental institutional arrangements, evidence-based policy development and strengthening of accountability and learning through results-based monitoring and evaluation systems and practices. He has a Masters in Public Administration and qualifications in the sciences.


Richard Gevers

Open Cities Lab

Richard Gevers is the founder of Open Cities Lab (previously Open Data Durban) which is a non-profit open organisation that combines the use of action research, co-design, data science, and technology with civic engagement to enable the development of inclusive cities and urban spaces. Prior to founding Open Cities Lab, Richard worked as an economist, based in Durban, South Africa, for eight years where he interacted with both private clients and all tiers of South African government on a range of projects in various sectors.

He is an entrepreneur with a dedication to the advancement of African communities through dynamic solutions and tools, hoping to empower socio-economic development and to affect social change. He has a deep interest in openness and transparency in society. When he finds spare time he grows his beard, brews beer, appreciates good coffee and likes to tell people he listens to vinyl.


Shirley Robinson


Shirley Robinson was a National Treasury GTAC Long Term Advisor supporting the National Treasury Cities Support Programme Cities Innovative Data Programme. She is particularly interested in how data may be used to articulate development challenges, and advocate for multi-sector partnerships that design and implement collaborative solutions.

Shirley is an economist with over 24 years of applied public policy experience, whose expertise lies forming strategic global and multi-sector partnerships at the nexus between urban economic development, innovative public financing, results-based management, and M&E. In addition, she is a creative thinker with a track record of conceptualising, initiating and leading new approaches and programmes that challenge existing practices and paradigms.

She is skilled in forming strategic multi-sector development partnerships with international finance institutions, primarily the World Bank, as well as donor organisations, government, civil society and the private sector that leverage collective action to design and implement collaborative development solutions.


Sophie McManus

Open Cities Lab

As Research and Engagement Lead and Head of Open Cities Lab, Sophie McManus is in charge of project design and implementation for projects that fall under the Open Cities Lab. This includes developing strategies for citizen engagement, managing the delivery of project outputs from project teams, and leveraging findings from ODD’s projects to contribute to research and knowledge production.

With a keen interest in the link between human-centred project design and planning for inclusive cities, Sophie’s role bridges the gap between Open Data Durban’s civic technology projects and promoting smart cities, the democratisation of knowledge, and sustainable and inclusive development.


Zukiswa Kota

Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM)

Zukiswa Kota is the Head of Monitoring and Advocacy Programme (MAP). Zukiswa joined the Public Service Accountability Monitor as a  researcher and has since amassed vast experience within the social accountability sector. An Environmental Science graduate, she is currently the Lead Coordinator of Imali Yethu, a civil society coalition working with the National Treasury to develop South Africa’s first online portal for provincial and national budget data, vulekamali.

Zukiswa serves on the Board of Trustees of the Equal Education Law Centre (EELC) and on the Reference Group of the Civic Tech Innovation Network (CTIN).  Zukiswa is passionate about promoting social and environmental justice and contributing to transformative open governance in Africa.


Tshepo Tshabalala

Former Editor
Wits Journalism & Jamlab

Tshepo Tshabalala is a web editor for, the Journalism and Media Lab (JamLab). He also edited the Civic Tech Innovation Network online publications. He is also a sub-editor for Wits Vuvuzela’s print and online publications at Wits Journalism. Tshepo’s work has appeared in radio, print, wire services and online in South Africa and various other countries in Africa.

He has worked as a reporter at Thomson Reuters Johannesburg bureau, Forbes Africa publications, a freelance contributor to SmartPlanet and web producer for Business Day, Financial Mail and BusinessLIVE. He is a Chevening Scholar and an EVA Junior Business Fellow. He has a Master in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and is currently completing a Master in Journalism degree.