Over the years, we in DMISA have been fortunate to share our time on earth with some wonderful, inspiring people.  We feel honour bound to recognise their contributions, their passion and their lives, and to celebrate their achievements.

FRANS HEYSTEK: 14.02.2021

DMISA is sad to announce the passing of another great man, Frans Heystek, who served his country and his community at the Rustenburg Municipality for 40 odd years and retired in 2020 as Sectional Manager for Disaster Management. Frans was a leading light in Disaster Management and acted as Fire Chief on several occasions.

Frans passed away on 14 February as a result of Covid-19.

Attending his funeral on Facebook, one could hear our opinion of Frans echoed in the tributes of his family and friends. He really cared. He would always help. He was a source of advice and information. He was an organiser and a leader.

Frans was a DMISA Councillor for an impressive 9 terms from 1998 to 2016 and contributed significantly to the activities of the Institute at a national level and in the Magaliesberg / North West Region. We could always rely on Frans for a considered, creative and practical opinion on matters.

We have fond memories of Frans as the enforcer and timekeeper at DMISA conferences, walking around ringing the heavy brass bell to indicate sessions starting and breaks ending, and checking on the delegates’ credentials. A hard worker with enthusiasm for getting things done right. We will indeed miss him.

May he rest in peace. Rus in vrede ou vriend.

HANNES STEYN: 08.03.1959 – 03.02.2021

Our dear friend and colleague Hannes Steyn succembed to COVID-19 on Wednesday 3 February 2021. He was a member of the DMISA Board for 2020-2022 and a highly respected member of the Disaster Management fraternity and will be sorely missed.

The following dedication was released by the Mopani District Municipality.

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Hannes Steyn, Head of Centre for the Mopani District Municipality Disaster Management Centre. Hannes was well-known in the disaster management fraternity in South Africa, having dedicated much of his life to the field. He was known for his incredible work ethic, leadership skills and ability to work effectively under immensely difficult situations.

Hannes was born on 8 March 1959 in Eldoret, Kenya, to Flippie and Martie Steyn. In 1964, the family moved to the Bela-Bela area in South Africa, where Hannes attended school and later matriculated. Following his matriculation, he joined the Defence Force as a member of the permanent forces, and would later work within disaster management for the Northern District Council. During the post-1994 reforms, he was transferred to Tzaneen where he took up a position within disaster management in the region. With the restructuring of local government post-1994, the Mopani District Municipality was formed as one of five districts within the Limpopo Province. Hannes was among those who played an integral part in the establishment and development of the Mopani District Municipality. He was appointed as the Head of Centre for Disaster Management in the Mopani District, and went on to develop the disaster management unit within the district. Under his leadership, the Mopani Disaster Management Centre flourished. Through his vision, today the Mopani Disaster Management Centre stands tall with a full complement of staff to oversee the effective implementation of the Disaster Management Act (57 of 2002), as amended, and Disaster Management Framework.

Hannes was also well-known within the broader Disaster Management fraternity, where he worked tirelessly towards the development of Disaster Management throughout South Africa. He was pivotal in the development of the Green and White paper on Disaster Management legislation, and formed part of the national task team on the development of the provincial, district and local guideline document on the implementation of the Disaster Management function. Hannes was also a permanent member of the Limpopo Provincial Disaster Management Advisory Committee. As an active member of DMISA (Disaster Management Institute of Southern Africa), the professional body for Disaster Management, he continued to build capacity in the field. His knowledge and expertise were called upon on countless occasions to navigate disaster situations. Under his guidance or active participation, many disasters could effectively be averted or mitigated. These included fires, aircraft accidents, communicable disease outbreaks and flooding. Many also sought his advice when confronted with difficult situations, particularly within the field of Disaster Management, and he would calmly guide them towards a solution using his extensive knowledge. He worked tirelessly towards uplifting others, often placing his own welfare aside in the process.
The number of tributes which have been pouring in are a testament to how deeply respected Hannes was. His legacy will live on through the Mopani Disaster Management Centre.

Hannes is survived by his brothers, Jim and Flip, and partner Lucky Djadji.

HENK VAN ELST: 15.07.1946 – 09.05.2013

Henk passed away on 9 May 2013 after a short illness.

He was employed by the Johannesburg Municipality and opted for pension in 1997, after thirty-two years� service.  During the last twenty-four years he was in charge of what is now referred to as disaster management. During his lengthy experience in this field, he initiated the paradigm shift from civil protection to disaster management in South Africa in 1991, after a meeting with the United Nations in Geneva. This culminated in a “Bosberaad� in 1993, where all actual and potential role players were invited to attend, which then resulted in the Green and White Papers on disaster management being released.

Up to the end of 1999, he served on many national committees and task teams to help formulate strategies and plans for disaster management. He was also a key role player in the Green Paper/White Paper/Legislative process and completed the initial drafting of volunteer regulations in terms of the Disaster Management Act. He was also a member of the team that investigated and launched what is now known as the Disaster Management Institute of Southern Africa (DMISA), in 1985.Since 1985 until the end of 1997, he was a national councillor of the Institute. He served as President of the Institute (1987/1988); member of the Executive Committee (1985 � 1997) and Chairperson of the Executive Committee (1992 � 1997). He was awarded Honorary Membership of DMISA in 1998.  He also served a short stint as general manager of the Institute.

Henk facilitated the process to have the present modular training courses in Disaster Management established at Technikon SA (now Unisa) during the early 1990�s.   Henk provided advice and guidelines for the establishment of the Masters Degree in Disaster Management at the Free State University (2001/2) and initially lectured 1st year students during 2002/3.

Through his consultancy he assisted many municipalities with various aspects of disaster management planning and facilitated several workshops on the basic aspects for safety and security at sports and recreational events.

Henk will be remembered for his passion for disaster management and the profession. He was a stalwart of the Institute.

He will be sorely missed by his colleagues and friends.

The Institute offers its sincere condolences to his wife, Daphné and sons Deon and André.

Tributes and messages on the passing of Henk van Elst


I received the sad news with shock,disbelief and a sense of personal loss. I’ve known him since the early 1980’s and have a lasting memory of an absolute gentleman and a consummate disaster management professional.

In the opening months of my disaster management career in Cape Town and as a “junior”in the then CivilDefence function, I traveled to someCD facilities around the country. My first trip was a visit to Jo’burg and had the pleasure of spending time with Henk (as the then boss-man) and his team. That was a defining moment which influenced my thoughts and opinions on many Civil Defence/Civil Protection/Disaster Management issues in the years to come.

I have had great respect for Henk’s knowledge and abilities and think it fair to reason that his standing and enviable reputation around South Africa speaks volumes of the high regard that others had for him.

Henk was a pioneer and his death is a significant loss to the South African disaster management fraternity.

My deepest condolences to his family.

I salute you and will miss you old son!

Billy Keeves

Umdloti Beach, Durban, KZN, South Africa.

PATRICIA MARY REID: 28/7/1945 – 27/02/2012


28/7/1945 – 27/02/2012


Dear family, friends and colleagues,

It is with great sadness that we present this remembrance of Pat Reid.

Pat qualified as a Professional Nurse in 1966 and, after six year service as a ward sister, her life long association with the Red Cross Society as a volunteer led to her permanent appointment with the organisation in 1977. It was during her time working for the Red Cross that her passion for disaster management was born when she was tasked to develop the Society’s disaster preparedness programme. In the years from 1977 until her passing away, she had been intimately involved in all aspects of disaster risk management, but her particular field of interest was in crafting mechanisms for mainstreaming disaster risk reduction into developmental programmes and initiatives.  Pat joined the Disaster Management Institute in 1989. At that stage she was in charge of Disaster Management at the Cacadu District Municipality.

She became a DMISA Councillor during 1990 and remained a councillor until her passing away. Pat was the Deputy-President during 1998 to 2000 and there-after she served a term as President from 2000 until 2002.  During July 2000 she was awarded a Silver Commendation in recognition of exceptional service, dedication and enthusiasm in the development, organizing and administration of the first Disaster Management Capacity Building course held in 1998. During that same year she was also awarded a Tutor Diploma in Disaster Management issued by Technikon SA, jointly certified by Technikon SA, Cranfield University (UK) and University of Wisconsin (USA).  Pat served several terms as Chairperson of the Algoa Region.  She served as member of the Executive Committee of DMISA since 1994 up to her untimely passing away. Pat was awarded Fellowship of the Institute on 18 September 2001.  She studied towards a Master’s Degree in Development and Management at the North West University which she achieved cum laude in 2005.  She was a fair person and debated very well. She was enthusiastically keen on community upliftment and had an understanding for young people. She established a disaster management volunteer corps that was second to none in the country during her tenure as Head of Disaster Management at the Cacadu District Municipality.

Since joining the Institute, Pat showed an unrivalled passion for the Disaster Management function. She worked tirelessly in the different portfolios she served on in the Executive Committee of the Institute. No job was too big or too small. She championed the DMISA Bursary Programme that assists the disaster management practitioners achieving a formal qualification which she was so passionate about.  She was a remarkable person and played a key role in the formulation of the Disaster Management Act – one of the world’s best Disaster Management legislation. She also played a key role in developing a National Framework.  She had exceptional knowledge of Disaster Management and compiled several manuals and guidelines for local government, the National Disaster Management Centre as well as Disaster Management Plans for municipalities. Later, when Pat became a consultant, her services were highly sought after throughout Africa. She was a highly respected professional worldwide.

She was the doyen, the mother of Disaster Management. She will be sorely missed by her colleagues and friends.

The Institute offers its deepest condolences to the family.


A collection of messages from around the world, from people which lives have been touched and enriched by knowing Pat Reid

– compiled by Prof Dewald van Niekerk, African Centre for Disaster Studies, North West University, South Africa



A message from my heart. Having worked with Pat on projects, and occasionally meet and chat about all sorts of things, I was deeply saddened to learn of her passing away. Pat, I will miss you.

Dawie van Vuuren


South Africa


She was quite simply brilliant. Practical, down-to-earth, hard-working, dedicated and one who did not suffer fools. Above all she was fun – there was a twinkle in her eye and humour was never far away. Socially, she was always good to be with. Often we’d find ourselves acting like a couple of silly children. And she had such resolve – she would not let go of issues that were important to her and she would stand up to bullies. I’ll never forget her stand-off with Mike Evans during the 6 week training course [in Farringdon in the UK in 1996]. And she did not need to raise her voice. She let her experience speak for itself.

I am the richer for having known her – she always kept me focused. She would prick my bubble if I got too pompous but would use me wisely in, for example, training sessions, and in a way that maximised my talents. I regret that recently I had not been communicating with her. For a short time things became very intense and emotional between us. I had never known such intensity. I couldn’t handle it. Neither could I handle the appreciation that but for circumstances, but for the lack of the right words at conducive moments, Pat and I might well have been an item. But I had made commitments and could not turn my back on those. It’s strange but only a couple of days ago I was thinking that I should send her an email saying sorry for my lack of communication. Enough water has flowed under the bridge for me to be level-headed. But I never sent it.

Ken Westgate

Private consultant and dear friend

UK and Australia


Pat was a deep thinker and an energetic outgoing personality; I know she meant a great deal to you and to the ACDS and that she will be sadly missed by you all. I send my best wishes to you and to your ACDS and other University colleagues at this difficult time.

James Lewis

Independent disaster risk reduction scholar

Presenter of the Annual Pat Reid Lecture in 2010



I must say I was shocked to hear this sad news [yesterday].  Pat was passionate about DRR and was such a resourceful person always willing to share her knowledge and experience with others. She will be deeply missed by all involved in DRR.

Moses Kangale

National Disaster Management Centre

South Africa


This is such sad sad news.  We all admired and respected Pat so much. We were inspired by her passion and energy. And we earned such a great deal from her, and fully expected to be able to do so for years to come. What a very difficult loss for all of us.

Dr. Marla Petal

Independent disaster risk reduction scholar

Presenter of the Annual Pat Reid Lecture in 2008

USA and Turkey


Thank you for letting me know. Her legacy lives on at  the Center and across the region–testament to the truth that individual efforts can have very large and lasting effects. Please let others who knew her know that she was respected around the world and will be missed.

Dr. Elaine Enarson

Presenter of the Annual Pat Reid Lecture in 2011



…her powerful personality, along with her passion for the field of disaster risk reduction, were self evident. It was not just an academic passion either but the kind of passion that showed a caring for the most vulnerable members of society.

Her loss to the DRR community is immeasurable. . . Her loss as a wonderful human being and friend hurts. Please pass our condolences to her family and all that knew her well.

Michael Murphree and Clara Bocchino

African Centre for Disaster Studies

North-West University

South Africa


Passionate about everything she started and finished.

Available for her friends, colleagues and clients at any time and occasion

Testing everybody and every statement until it was clarified

Ready to go the extra mile to serve the community

Enthusiastic about life and her dreams

Inspiring to anyone that was prepare to learn

Determined to be the one and only PAT REID

Ferdie Mocke

Disaster Management Solutions

South Africa


Oh, my, I am shocked and very sad to hear of the sad passing of Pat Reid. Thanks for letting me know. I only met her two or three times and heard her speak on perhaps two occasions. However, I was impressed with her energy, vitality, commitment to DRR in South Africa and her brilliant, comprehensive understanding of institutions and people in South Africa: the gradual process of being consensus around white and green papers and that the transition to full implementation of the law once put in place would require patience, capacity building and trail and error. Her place in RSA will be hard to fill.

Prof. Ben Wisner

Independent disaster risk reduction scholar

USA and UK


Such sad news. I am speechless, but life is for living and we should celebrate her life, for: Her passing was as sudden as a bolt of thunder out of the blue sky…  But the legacy of the foot prints of her life will not fade or be fleeting

Oh, so much done, so much to do… and, now, no time for her to do it

Her contributions to nurturing the disaster management cause are a bedrock for its future growth in Africa, at least its south So full of life, a beacon of positivism and a bon vivant with a strong yearn for life… snuffed in an instant The Pat Reid Lectures will now be a lasting legacy top her life, livened with fond memories of her life

Seth Vordzorgbe

United Nations Development Programme



Dear Reid-family,

It is with this letter I send my sincerest condolences on the death of Pat. I first met Pat in 2003 while working together on a disaster management related project in Ethiopia. Her energetic work ethic will always be an example to me but most of all, the compassion in which she interacted with those around her. She was a true professional and an expert with a heart of gold and she will surely be missed.

I want you to know that she was a remarkable person and I am deeply saddened by this. I hope that there is some way that I can contribute to her memory. Again, please accept my deepest sympathies, she was an extraordinary human being.


Barend (Birrend) Prinsloo

United Nations



I learnt with sadness of the passing of Pat Reid. May her soul rest in peace.

Wilfred Lunga

Independent disaster risk reduction scholar



Dedication to an astonishing woman, mother and most of all “friend”: our beloved Patricia Reid!

It is with much despair and uncontrollable tears that I bid farewell to a loving and precious friend. Upon receiving the tragic news, “I felt as if a part of me had been ripped away. . .”Pat has touched our lives through her wisdom; dedication and perseverance in sharing her expertise and skills in DRM; but always remaining humble and wellgrounded to her moral principles.

Pat my dear; words alone will never be enough nor do justice to acknowledging the impact and vast contributions you have made to our world. Hence we will uphold your legacy by celebrating and sharing it!!!

Pat, your memories will forever be cherished and you will remain close to my heart till eternity. . .

I salute you my dear friend

Love always

Dr. Mal Reddy

Durban University of Technology

South Africa


Pat was passionate about disaster risk management.  During the review session of the National Disaster Management Act, 2002, on the 2nd of September 2011, Pat was eager to assist the NDMC and COGTA in general to ensure that the sections of the Act which were no longer relevant be reviewed for the benefit of the vulnerable communities and the people of South Africa.

She was such kind of a person who wanted to take disaster management to greater heights whereby she articulated and propagated on the possibility of establishing an agency for disaster management in government. Although it was my first time to interact with her at that level, it was easy for me to locate the wisdom and vision which Pat had. To me Pat will without doubt be remembered in the disaster management fraternity.

With Deepest Sympathy, May her Soul Rest in Peace!

Gezani Mazibuko

National Disaster Management Centre

South Africa


I had the great pleasure of meeting Pat around 3 years ago and since then our professional paths crossed a few times. I can recall two occasions where we had a few minutes to debate the interface between disaster management, fire services and their respective roles in risk reduction and response. She was truly an expert in her field and how it relates to others. As such she was well respected. On each occasion it was evident to me that Pat was passionate about disaster management and keen to put across her views thereby educating me as a lesser mortal. For this and her immense work ethic I have enormous respect and appreciation.

I regret not creating more opportunities to interact with her but I am sure that although her place are now empty at the disaster management discussion table, her memory will fill our hearts forever.

requiem In pacem

Jurgens Dyssel

National Disaster Management Centre

South Africa


It was with a great sense of loss when I heard of Pat’s death. My heart is truly saddened.  Pat was more than just a wonderful person, she was always so kind and considerate to us that we always welcomed seeing her at every opportunity.  Her passing will not only leave a void in our lives, but in the hearts of all those who knew her.

The disaster management fraternity has lost a great expert and the most hardworking person I knew. She will always be remembered as a legend who left behind many legacy’s for disaster management.

May her Soul rest in Peace.

Saar van Wyk

National Disaster Management Centre

South Africa


I have thought a lot about this [Pat’s death], and, while I am not a fatalist, I almost think Pat would have approved of this mysterious and spectacular finale. A slow, debilitating illness would have been an insult to her and she would have resented the gossip that her illness would inevitably have generated. She leaves us with a sense of mystique, and with a final message on the imperative of informed risk management. That reactive responses are always woefully inadequate.

She lived a life governed by frank honesty, selfless commitment to South Africa, and drive to make a professional difference. While she leaves a huge gap, Pat has bestowed an even greater legacy, which she would expect us to take forward. We would disappoint her by not stepping up to the plate even in our small shoes.

Dr. Ailsa Holloway

University of Stellenbosch

South Africa


I first met Pat during the early nineties when she was still an official at the Port Elizabeth Municipality and whe n Di s a s t e r Ri sk Management wa s s t i l l Civil Protection. I realize now what an exciting period we, as Pat used to call us: PDPs (Passionate Disaster Practitioners) experienced with the paradigm shift from focusing just on response  and recovery to the much broader spectrum of prevention, preparedness and mitigation of disasters. When she later decided to establish her own business, I still remember how she doubted her own ability to “go it alone”. She phoned Dewald [van Niekerk], with whom I was at the time, to  find out if she should venture this big step. Obviously, both Dewald and I seriously encouraged her to do so and like they say: the rest is history!

It is impossible to capture everything I experienced with Pat on the disaster management road since I met her. Therefore I will just highlight a few aspects. Being the person she was and with her tremendous insight and knowledge about disaster management, Pat was always prepared to contribute to the process that preceded the eventual promulgation of the DM Act in 2003. She was closely involved in the Green Paper and White Paper for Disaster Management. I can also still see her enthusiastically  participating in the Public Hearings with the Portfolio Committee in Parliament. After the promulgation of the DM Act, the NDMC appointed Pat as one of a small group of  expertise to assist in developing the National Disaster Management Framework. She also developed the 10 priority guidelines for disaster management [in South Africa].

However, what really matters to me the most, is that Pat had become a dear friend to me over the years. When we got together at conferences, meetings and so on, Pat and I usually reminisced a few things and had a good laugh about them. I will remember her, on the one hand as someone brilliant in her field of work, but also as a human being with a good sense of humor and ordinary feelings which I sometimes had the privilege and honour to share with her. I can’t help typing this with a big lump in my throat.

Pat, we will really miss you!! Your memory will forever live on in our hearts!

George Kilian

National Disaster Management Centre

South Africa


A giant has fallen. I will miss Pat for her kind personality and sharing information whenever she were asked to do so. She was really like a soldier dying with her boots on.

Kosie van Zyl


South Africa


USAID Steering Committee Meetings will never be the same for me. I use to be consciously aware to make sure she got her special bottled water, whilst inside the conference room, “water with bubbles”as she use to call it, followed by one of those little giggle she so loved to give.

Pat was the true resemblance of a gentle GIANT, with a warm hart towards enlightening people to live a conscious life. Living with prevention in mind rather than cure, no matter what your contextual background was.

She made disaster risk reduction an authenticity to all around her, not by imposing it on them but by stimulating you to think differently! Lets honor her life legacy by continuing with the enthusiasm and passion she labored for DRR!

Pat, you will be missed a great deal!

Elza Snyman

African Centre for Disaster Studies

North-West University

South Africa


Very sad news indeed! Our thoughts and prayers to her family. May her soul rest in eternal peace!

Dr. Kennedy Masamvu

SADC Secretariat