Crispian Olver

Executive Director, Presidential Climate Commission

Crispian is a public policy expert and author with a particular interest in urban governance and environmental sustainability. He has served in the South African government in various capacities, including as Director General of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (1999 – 2005). He has subsequently worked as a senior advisor on environmental sustainability and local government. This has taken him up close to the mechanics by which cities are governed and the way in which good governance can be eroded, which has given him ample material for writing up his experiences. His first book titled ‘How to Steal a City’ (2017) documented patronage based systems in Nelson Mandela Bay and how the metro was captured by factional interests. His subsequent book, ‘A House Divided’, published in October 2019, documented the nature of the relationship between the City of Cape Town and landed property interests, and how this fuelled a factional split in the DA. Crispian is a medical doctor by training and holds BSc (Med) (1983), Psychology Honours (1984) and MBChB (1988) degrees from UCT. He is completing a PhD at WITS Politics Department, and is a research fellow at the Public Affairs Research Institute. He is currently employed as the Executive Director of the Presidential Climate Commission in South Africa.