Gary Pienaar obtained the degrees of BA (Hons) LLB from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, later qualifying as an advocate of the High Court of South Africa, and practicing at the Johannesburg Bar for several years.
He worked for the Office of the Public Protector (national ombudsman) from 1997-2008, including as Western Cape provincial manager from 2000, where he undertook and managed investigations into complaints of ethics breaches and maladministration in the public sector. During this time, he obtained an M Phil degree from Stellenbosch University, focusing on human rights in international relations.
Since March 2008 he has worked as a senior researcher: governance and public ethics in Idasa’s Economic Governance Programme (EGP) and its Political Information and Monitoring Service (PIMS). His areas of work include ethics in public life, corruption and accountability, access to information and political party funding transparency. He coordinated PIMS’ preparation of the Global Integrity 2008 South Africa report and contributed to the 2010 report, and authored the chapter on ‘Accountability and Democracy’ in Neeta Misra-Dexter and Judith February (Eds.) Testing Democracy: Which way is South Africa going? Idasa, 2010.
He is project manager for the Electricity Governance Initiative of South Africa (EGI-SA), which seeks to improve public understanding of and participation in the key policy development and implementation processes related to electricity and energy governance, increasingly within the context of responses to climate change. He was managing editor of the project’s sector assessment report “The Governance of Power in South Africa: keeping the Lights On” Idasa, 2010, and has subsequently co-authored several policy briefs and articles.
Idasa is a founding member of the Global Transparency Initiative, a global civil society network that seeks to promote the transparency and accountability of International Financial Institutions. Gary has led Idasa’s participation in the ongoing round of mandate and policy reviews by IFIs from 2009, and also works on issues related to aid effectiveness.