S&T Minister Inaugurates ASSAf Council

The Minister of Science and Technology, Mrs Naledi Pandor, yesterday inaugurated Council members of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf).

Prof Jonathan Jansen is the new President for the next four years. He succeeds Prof Daya Reddy. 

New Office-bearers are Professors Brenda Wingfield and Barney Pityana who were elected Vice-Presidents, Prof Himla Soodyall as General Secretary and Prof Eugene Cloete who is Treasurer. 

Prof Jonathan Jansen is the immediate past Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the University of the Free State (UFS) and was a Fellow at the Centre for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. He is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association, a Fellow of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) and also President of the South African Institute of Race Relations. His book, Knowledge in the Blood: Confronting Race and the Apartheid Past (Stanford, 2009) won the Nayef Al Rodhan Prize, the largest award from the British Academy for the social science and humanities, for its contribution to scholarly excellence and transcultural understanding. In 2013, he was awarded the Education Africa Lifetime Achiever Award in New York and the Spendlove Award from the University of California for his contributions to tolerance, democracy and human rights. He holds honorary degrees from the University of Edinburgh, the University of Vermont and Cleveland State University. His recent books include Leading for Change (Routledge, 2016) and he is completing a new book explaining the current crisis in, and future prospects of, the South African university due for release in mid-2017 (NB Publishers). 

Prof Brenda Wingfield holds the DST-NRF SARChI Research Chair in Fungal Genomics and is Professor of Genetics at the University of Pretoria (UP). She also served as the Chair of the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) until recently and is the recipient of the prestigious Harry Oppenheimer Fellowship for her outstanding research. 

Prof Nyameko Barney Pityana was the Rector of the College of the Transfiguration, Grahamstown. He is the former Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of South Africa (Unisa). He was Chairperson of Higher Education South Africa and Chairman of the African Council for Distance Education. 

Prof Himla Soodyall is a Principal Medical Scientist at the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) and Associate Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). She is a recipient of the National Order of Mapungubwe (Bronze). 

Prof Thomas Eugene Cloete is Vice-Rector, Research and Innovation at Stellenbosch University (SU). He is s former recipient of the ASSAf Science-for-Society Gold Medal award.  He is the Founding Director of the SU Water Institute.  

ASSAf is governed by a Council comprising 12 elected members and a thirteenth member appointed by the Minister of Science and Technology as a representative of the National Advisory Council on Innovation.  

Other ASSAf Council members are: 

Prof Stephanie Burton is Vice-Principal: Research and Postgraduate Education at UP. 

Prof Norman Duncan is Professor in Psychology and the Dean of Humanities Vice-Principal: Academic at UP.  

Prof Sabiha Essack is the South African Research Chair in Antibiotic Resistance and One Health and Professor in Pharmaceutical Sciences at UKZN. 

Prof Shireen Hassim is Professor of Politics at Wits.  

Dr Shadrack Moephuli is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Agricultural Research Council. Appointed by the DST Minister as a NACI representative. 

Prof Johann Mouton is Professor in, and Director of the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology and the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Scientometrics and Science, Technology and Innovation Policy.  

Prof Nancy Refilwe Phaswana-Mafuya is the Director of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS Research Alliance of the HSRC and Honorary Professor at NMMU.

Prof Zeblon Vilakazi is Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Postgraduate Affairs at Wits. 

Advisors to the ASSAf Council are:

Prof Wieland Gevers is Emeritus Professor of Medical Biochemistry and former Senior DVC at the University of Cape Town (UCT). He is a former President of ASSAf (1998 – 2004), a Fellow of TWAS and a recipient of the National Order of Mapungubwe (Silver). 

Prof Evance Rabban Kalula is Professor and Director of the International Academic Programmes Office and the Confucius Institute. He holds a personal chair as Professor of Employment Law and Social Security, UTC. 

Prof Sunil Maharaj is Director of the Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit and holds the SARChI Research Chair in Gravitating Systems and is a Senior Professor of Applied Mathematics at the UKZN. He is the former Treasurer of ASSAf (2011- 2016).