Who We Are

Nick GrahamNick Graham is the Managing Director at PDG, responsible for the Sustainable Urban Systems Practice Area. He is an urban geographer and registered professional engineer with Masters degrees in civil engineering, environmental policy and urban geography.

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As a civil engineer he gained design and construction experience in a range of municipal services, but his focus has since shifted to infrastructure investment planning and analysis and financial modelling for local and national government initiatives. His particular interest is urban systems modelling and policy for city efficiency and fiscal impact. He has public sector experience in the housing, water, sanitation, solid waste, transport and energy sectors.
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Kim WalshKim Walsh is a Director at PDG, responsible for the Public Finance Practice Area. Kim has a Masters degree in economics and undergraduate degrees in economics and chemical engineering.

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Kim’s primary area of interest is financial modeling and analysis which she applies across a range of fields, including public finance, water services, urban systems and environment. Kim also has significant experience with municipal tariff setting. Recent project experience includes leading a team that produced a revised MIG Policy Framework for the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs; leading a team investigating the financial sustainability of utility services in the City of Cape Town; leading a team investigating the adequacy of own revenue sources in metros for National Treasury; leading a team implementing a tariff model previously developed by PDG for Gauteng Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs; leading a team investigating the affordability of water services for the Water Research Commission.
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Gillian SykesGillian Sykes is a Director at PDG responsible for the environmental practice area.  She is a policy analyst, urban planner and environmental economist with a key interest in the intersection of municipal finance, service provision and sustainability concerns.

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She returned to PDG in April 2014 after five years in Canada during which time she worked as a Senior Regulatory Analyst at the British Columbia Utilities Commission, and completed her Masters’ degree in Public Policy (specializing in Environmental Policy). Gillian’s other qualifications include a Master of City and Regional Planning and a Bachelor of the Arts with dual majors in Economics and Environmental & Geographic Sciences from UCT. Her prior experience in PDG from 2001 to 2008 includes public financial policy work in the water, electricity, solid waste, public transport and environmental sectors, with advanced skills in modelling, and research. Since returning to PDG she has focused on building the environmental practice area. Gillian specializes in environmental economic, energy, and climate change issues with a strong background in urban infrastructure policy.
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Michael LesliMichael Leslie is a Director at PDG leading the Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) practice area. He specialises in government evaluations and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems.

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Mike has a Masters of Philosophy in Community and Development and a Postgraduate Diploma in Monitoring and Evaluation from Stellenbosch University.  His areas of expertise include evaluation approaches, designs and methodologies as well as M&E system development and consolidation. He has experience in community development, participatory developmental approaches and applied social research methods. Mike’s recent work has included a number of flagship national and provincial government evaluations. He is passionate about public policy, evidence-based planning, and M&E for improved developmental outcomes. He is a legacy board member of the South African Monitoring & Evaluation Association (SAMEA) and an active organiser in the South African M&E community.
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Karen MehlKaren Mehl is a Director at PDG and has been in the employ since 2008. She has worked in various accounting positions over the last 13 years, and has experience in all levels of the accounting function, from basic bookkeeping to financial management.

Brendon van NiekerkBrendon Van Niekerk is a consultant at PDG. He has an undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering from UCT and a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management from Wits University Business School.

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Brendon’s focus has been on Urban Systems and Public Finance while gaining experience across all PDG’s practice areas. Brendon performs quantitative and qualitative research and analysis as well as financial and non-financial modelling. Significant projects that Brendon has worked on include research and case study visits to sub-Saharan African countries to investigate their use of land to finance urban infrastructure, analysing and modelling the fiscal impact of development strategies and performing a socio-economic impact study of the modal shift of freight from road to rail.
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Cara HartleyCara Hartley is a Consultant with PDG focusing on the monitoring and evaluation of social and governance interventions. She holds a Master’s degree in Political Science from Stellenbosch University.

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She is an experienced primary qualitative research practitioner; she also conducts descriptive statistical analysis and is familiar with quantitative evaluation methods. Cara has worked on several National Evaluation Plan and provincial evaluations. On an ongoing basis she conducts quality assessments of government evaluations for the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation. Her research interests include public sector planning, monitoring and evaluation; public participation; public health; public employment programmes and social cash transfers. She is a member of the South African Monitoring and Evaluation Association (SAMEA) and a Mandela Rhodes scholar. In 2017 she is pursuing a Postgraduate Diploma in Monitoring and Evaluation Methods through Stellenbosch University (part-time).
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Jerome KaplanJerome Kaplan is a Consultant at PDG. He has a Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning, as well as an undergraduate degree in Environmental Sciences and Public Policy, both from the University of Cape Town. 

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Since joining PDG in 2015, Jerome has worked on a broad range of quantitative and qualitative projects within the Urban Systems, Public Finance, and Water Services practice areas. Prior to joining PDG he has had experience working as an Assistant Director in Integrated Development Planning in Western Cape Provincial Government; planning consultant to eThekwini Municipality; Spatial Planner within the City of Cape Town; and as a research consultant to the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, in the Presidency.
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Lerato ShaiLerato Shai joined PDG in January 2016 as a consultant in the Cape Town office. Lerato has a Master of Commerce specialising in Applied Economics from the University of Cape Town and she is a fellow of the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation. 

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Lerato has strong quantitative and qualitative skills which she has applied across different sectors locally and internationally, gaining diverse approaches to solving analytical problems. Prior to joining PDG, her experience included technical assistance on social development policy design, programme evaluation, dissemination of research outputs and compilation of technical and financial project proposals.
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Claus Rabe joined PDG as a Consultant in 2017. Claus is an urban policy analyst with over 10 years’ experience in the field of spatial planning, forecasting, infrastructure and urban economics.

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He holds a Masters in City and Regional Planning from University of Cape Town, and a Master of Science in Urban Management from the Berlin Institute of Technology. After consulting to various public and international development agencies in South Africa and abroad, Claus worked at the City of Cape Town for 5 years, most recently as a principal planner. Here he received the SAPI National Planning Award for his ground-breaking work on data-driven urban diagnostics, identified as best practice by National Treasury and currently being standardised into inter-governmental reporting frameworks. More recently, Claus led a team of engineers and municipal finance experts in the development of a spatially intelligent medium-term infrastructure costing tool. He lectures regularly to post-graduates and professionals on urban economics and innovation in government.
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Melanie BadenhorstMelanie Badenhorst is a Project Leader’s Assistant and Senior Operations administrator at PDG. She has been at PDG for the past 14 years. She continues to support management as PA with much of her focus on providing project administrative and operational related assistance.

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Prior to this she had been working in the secretarial field for a period of about 6 years.

Elain MentorElaine Mentor is the Accounts Assistant and has been in the employ of PDG since 2004. Prior to this she has worked in various organisations in various administrative roles.

Thandeka Shobi is an Office Assistant and Cleaner at PDG. She has been with the firm since its inception in 1990.  Thandeka also relieves our Receptionist on an ad hoc basis.

Associates

Ian PalmerIan Palmer has 40 years’ experience in the fields of civil engineering and development. He founded of PDG, a leading development consultancy in South Africa, in 1990, remaining part of PDG over the subsequent 25 years, 19 of which he has been the managing partner and then managing director.

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In 2015 Ian retired as a director and full time employee of PDG, but remains an associate of the firm and continues to contribute to projects as part of PDG teams for half his time. For the remainder he undertakes academic work as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Cape Town attached to the African Centre for Cities. Over the period 1996 to 2012 Ian was a Trustee and Deputy Chairperson of Mvula Trust, a leading NGO in the field of water supply and sanitation. In addition over the past 25 years his work on water supply and sanitation includes leading 30 research and consulting projects in South Africa, Zambia and Mozambique. He has also been the team leader on 70 other projects in the realm of public sector service delivery including the fields of municipal services planning, municipal finance, inter-governmental relations, housing, roads, public transport and climate change mitigation. He has degrees in civil engineering, economics and environmental engineering.
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Timothy MosdellTim Mosdell is a freelance consultant and associate of PDG. He was previously an employee and director of PDG for 12 years. Tim has a Masters Degree in Political Studies and an MBA. He has been consulting in the fields of development studies, public policy and public sector management since 1990.

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Since joining PDG in 2000 he worked extensively in the water sector, conducted a number of major programme evaluations, managed large empirical surveys, consulted in the municipal restructuring field, developed knowledge management methodologies, contributed to strategic responses to economic development and urban poverty, and managed projects related to sustainability and the environment. He has worked on a number of projects aimed at developing and implementing service standards. He also works in the municipal finance area.
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Katie HeroldKatie Herold is an associate of PDG. She graduated with a MCom in Economics at University of Cape Town, a BCom Honours in Economics at Rhodes and a BCom degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Cape Town.

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Since joining PDG in December 2011, Katie has been involved in the area of municipal and project finance, updating the national solid waste tariff model and assessing the viability of the City of Windhoek’s Landfill Gas to Energy project. She has worked in the field of monitoring and evaluation, reviewing the Limpopo M&E Framework and the Assessment of Government Evaluations for the DPME. She’s worked in the area of social development and environmental sector, researching the demand for water in rural agriculture and the challenges facing Water User Associations. She was involved in a greenhouse gas mitigation project for DEA, focusing specifically on the AFOLU (Agricultural, Forestry and Other Land Use) emission projections in addition to assessing the socio-economic impact of all the proposed mitigation options. She’s worked on urban system projects, focusing on township economics, with an emphasis on the non-residential property market and more recently, analysing the impact of spatial growth on municipal sustainability.
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Nazreen KolaNazreen Kola is a PDG associate, having previously worked as a consultant at PDG from 2007 until August 2017. She has a Master’s Degree in Gender and Development from the University of Sussex, UK, and an undergraduate degree in International Studies from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada.

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She has ten years working experience in the public sector. While she is responsible for and leads the Municipal Systems practice area, she plays a significant role, working on and leading projects, in many of PDG’s practice areas including, Water Services, Institutional Development and Intergovernmental Relations, Public Sector Governance and Monitoring and Evaluation. Her interdisciplinary skills set allows her to work across practices, particularly in the areas of policy and legislation, strategy, organisational and institutional development, planning, local government powers and functions, performance management, capacity building and knowledge management.
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Kevin FosterKevin Foster is an associate of PDG. He has a Masters Degree in Public Policy and Administration and an undergraduate degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics both from the University of Cape Town (UCT).  

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His expertise includes qualitative research, qualitative and quantitative policy analysis. His previous work experience includes political analysis and forecasting and economic development research to benefit local government. Since joining PDG, Kevin has worked on projects across the PDG practice areas, particularly in intergovernmental relations (IGR), environment and monitoring and evaluation (M&E). His work includes contributing to multiple projects for CoGTA, including assessing the functionality of South Africa’s IGR system and assessing the role of district municipalities, and SALGA, including assessing the state of anti-fraud and anti-corruption measures in municipalities and costing the environmental management mandate for local government. His work in M&E has included an evaluation of the Framework for Strategic Plans and Annual Performance Plans for DPME, piloting the UN Sustainable Development Goals’ target 11 Indicator in the City of Cape Town, and a diagnostic assessment of the ward committee system in the Western Cape.
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Interns

None at this stage.