Position: Executive Director

Organisation: Institute for Justice and Reconciliation

Location: Cape Town

Closing Date: 28 May 2021

The Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) is recruiting an Executive Director to lead the implementation of its exciting, new strategic plan for 2021-2025.

About the IJR

The IJR is a Cape Town-based think tank, working in the transitional justice and peacebuilding domains, and helping to build fair, democratic and inclusive societies with selected partners across Africa. It is known for high-quality primary research, innovative policy interventions, and in-depth mediation and facilitation work drawing firstly on the South African experience, but increasingly too, on comparative international experiences.

Working in four broad thematic areas across 18 countries, it implements activities, and pursues relevant outcomes in partnership with continental and regional bodies, national and regional governments, think tanks and local CSOs, as well as grassroots communities. For more than two decades this work has been supported by a stable number of domestic and international funding partners.

About the Position

Our new ED will be a thought leader in the transitional justice and/or peacebuilding fields, with an entrepreneurial mindset to harness the energies of the organisation in ways that will deepen and grow an innovative programmatic offering, which is in line with the organisational vision. Within a rapidly changing global environment, this person will be a visionary with an intimate understanding of how such changes impact on the nature of our work and have the leadership capabilities to align the organisation to the demands of such changes. Internally this relates to the organisational structure and approach. Externally it pertains to the partnerships that we forge to achieve our organisational goals.

Our organisational growth is largely dependent on the support of strategic funding partners and collaboration with like-minded institutions. Hence the new ED will play a pivotal role in generating and nurturing such relationships, and also bring an extensive network of contacts within the international transitional justice and peacebuilding fields, which includes entities and organisations that support such work.

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the ED will be accountable for the overall performance of the organisation and the wellbeing of the staff. The ED will oversee the implementation of the strategic plan and ensure that the Institute maintains a reputation for delivering programme interventions and thought leadership on the cutting edge of justice and reconciliation throughout Africa.

Key Performance Areas:

  • Providing overall strategic direction and leadership for the IJR in pursuit of its vision, mission, values and objectives;
  • Ensuring efficient and effective governance of the IJR, including the development of organisational policies and procedures that are understood by all staff and reviewed regularly;
  • Appraising the IJR Board of Directors with timeous information to ensure effective governance and compliance;
  • Developing and maintaining a risk management strategy for the organisation;
  • Ensuring that the organisation has an active and up to date Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning System in place;
  • Generating and nurturing strategic funding relationships with development partners;
  • Being the custodian of an ethical, transparent, and democratic organisational culture.

Experience and Competencies:

  • Strong inclusive leadership skills, honed by at least ten years in a senior leadership position within a medium to large CSO or think tank;
  • A thought leader with a public profile, and a publication record in either transitional justice or peacebuilding;
  • Excellent organizational communication skills, with strong capacity to inspire staff and communicate relevant information to teams;
  • Strong external communication skills with substantial experience in public speaking and handling media interviews;
  • Superior financial management skills with the ability to interpret financial statements and manage large budgets;
  • A strong network within the international donor community and proven experience in generating and securing multi-year grants from both local and international donors;
  • A strategic thinker, comfortable with complexity, with the ability to anticipate change and position the organisation at the cutting edge of developments in its fields of expertise;
  • Board reporting, compliance, good governance and high ethical standards in all respects.


Key Qualifications:

  • A PhD or Master’s Degree in the fields of transitional justice, reconciliation, peacebuilding or related fields
  • At least 15 years’ working experience within the CSO and think tank sector, of which 10 should be in a senior management position
  • Additional qualifications in financial- and/or organisational management will be an added advantage
  • The applicant must be a seasoned strategic senior manager with the ability to lead a team in managing large complex multi-stakeholder programmes.

The IJR Offers:

  • A competitive inclusive salary
  • Flexible working conditions
  • A vibrant working environment within one of Africa’s leading think and do tanks in the transitional justice sector
  • Exposure to pivotal transitional justice geographical areas as well as continental and global fora
  • 15 working days’ leave, plus public holidays and office closure over the Christmas season

Document Requirements:

Applicants are requested to submit a cover letter, a CV with three contactable references, and a written sample of recent publication on a topic that falls within the realm of IJR’s work. These documents should be submitted in this order as one PDF document in an e-mail with the subject IJR ED Application to the Head of HR, Elisha Kotze (ekotze@ijr.org.za) no later than the 28 May 2021 at 17h00. Only applications with this subject heading, received on or before the closing date, will be considered. Only shortlisted candidates will be notified about the progress of their application.  Please note all applicants must be eligible to work within South Africa, at the time of application.