Remembering Neville van Sittert
It is with sadness that we announce that our former colleague, Neville van Sittert, has passed away.
Neville joined our organisation, which was then called International HIV/AIDS Alliance, in 2012 as an internal auditor. In 2014 he was appointed the Head of Legal, Risk and Compliance, and served in this role until 2019.
Our sector-leading accreditation system, where partners are assessed by peers to improve their internal systems and processes to bolster their national HIV response, grew under his leadership. Neville’s patience, respect and generosity drew praise from partners and donors, even through challenging circumstances.
Neville was committed to embedding strong governance principles across the partnership and leaves a legacy that will live long in the fabric of our work to end AIDS.
We pay tribute to Neville with these memories below, alongside thoughts and prayers to all his family and friends.
LOIS CHINGANDU – Acting EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, Frontline AIDS
Even though I did not have the privilege to meet this amazing human being, the stories I have heard from Neville’s ex colleagues make me feel like I already know him. In the three years I have been at FrontlineAIDS, not a month passes by without someone mentioning Neville’s name and the value he brought to our organisation. My deep condolences go to his family, friends, and the colleagues he worked with who still miss him a lot. May his soul rest in peace.
We are still getting our hearts around a world without Neville. He was just such a joy to be and work with. You could always count on his clear thinking and calmness but most of all you could count on his humour. Deeply principled, kind and funny with a cheeky sense of humour that was always there in even the toughest of moments – shining through, bringing a smile, bridging any divide. Neville we miss you already and that will grow but please know that you went through the world making it a better place not just in your work but through how you treated the people that you held dear and those you had just met. Go well dear friend.
Neville brought me into this organisation, and was my line manager and colleague for 2 years. What struck me most about him was the way he truly treated everybody as equals, and didn’t care at all about rank or hierarchy- he also had so much trust and really enabled people to work in their own way. But he also had a brilliant sense of humour, and managed not to take anything too seriously (yes, even risk and compliance). There were so many laughs on trips overseas and I still remember his cloud of vape smoke coming from his desk in the office. He will be so missed, but his impact is still with us. “Thanks for popping in” as Neville would say.
Neville was a gentle giant. He was so laid back and funny, not your typical auditor! We loved talking tennis, and he painted such a happy picture of playing tennis at the family home in South Africa. We are mourning Neville, but also celebrating what a wonderful person he was.
PAULINE HAYES – TRUSTEE
I well remember Neville when we met in 2019 during my induction programme. He took me through a wide range of issues and was extremely patient with all my questions. I was struck by his immense knowledge of the organisation and governance issues – but also his desire to ensure that I was well equipped to take on my new role as a trustee. Neville left later that year for new career challenges and it was clear that he was well liked by everyone and would be much missed. Although we only worked together briefly, Neville made a real impact and it is so sad to hear that he is no longer around. My thoughts are with his family and friends.
Neville was a lovely man and I’m very sorry that he has died at such a young age. Basing his work on strong ethical principles, he steered the International HIV/AIDS Alliance (now Frontline AIDS) and many of its overseas partners through complex issues of accountability and governance. His approach was all the more effective for being quiet and often humorous, often enabling him to defuse tense situations and find a way to resolve longstanding issues. His detailed knowledge and strong advocacy for honesty and transparency will be much missed.