Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE)

Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE)

Background and provenance

To support Africa’s response to COVID-19, the Africa Rapid Grant Fund has supported the establishment of the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE). The Africa Rapid Grant Fund is supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa, the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the United Kingdom (UK) Department for International Development (DFID), UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Newton Fund, South Africa’s Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), and Fonds de Recherche du Québec (FRQ).

Scope of mandate

In the context of SAGE activities, an “emergency” denotes a serious, unexpected, and potentially dangerous situation that has either already caused loss of life, health detriments, property damage, or environmental damage, or has a high probability of escalating to cause immediate danger to life, health, property, or the environment. Most emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, requires urgent, time-sensitive interventions to prevent or mitigate a worsening of the situation. SAGE aims to provide rapid, independent, multi-disciplinary science advice to relevant stakeholders on emergency issues that require strategic attention. SAGE also aims to undertake engagement with relevant stakeholders to create awareness and facilitate resilience in relation to emergencies. 

Aims and objectives 

– SAGE aims to serve as a think-tank on current or potential emergencies.
– SAGE aims to base its advisories and other outputs on the best available evidence and related data. Where necessary, SAGE shall issue strategic situational reports and precautionary notices / advisories. These reports and advisories shall be made publicly accessible. Where necessary, reports and advisories will be updated on a rolling basis.
– SAGE shall aim to identify knowledge gaps on, and highlight best practices and lessons learnt in relation to current or potential emergencies.
– SAGE shall engage in fore-sighting exercises to identify threats that could lead to an emergency.

SAGE Steering Committee Members

SAGE advisories will be driven by members of the SAGE Steering and Coordinating Committee. Where necessary, SAGE shall co-opt relevant experts to co-author advisories. Such individuals shall be drawn from the memberships of ASSAf, SAYAS (including alumni), South Africa’s statutory Science Councils, Higher Education institutions, and independent research institutions. Where necessary, co-option may occur outside these entities and beyond South Africa. SAGE Advisories shall be based on consensus, not necessarily unanimity.

Steering Committee Members

  • Prof Jerome Amir Singh
  • Dr Caradee Wright
  • Dr Marizvikuru Manjoro-Mwale
  • Dr Keagan Pokpas
  • Dr Adeyemi O. Aremu
  • Prof Pradeep Kumar
  • Dr Aliza le Roux
  • Dr Sershen Naidoo

SAGE Advisories


SAGE Situational Analysis and Strategic Advisory on Farming and Food Security In South Africa in the Aftermath of Widespread Public Violence and Looting in Kwazulu-Natal and Gauteng between 10-14 July 2021– 30 July 2021 – revised 30 August 2021

SAGE Situational and Strategic Advisory on Social and Political Instability – 14 July 2021  

SAGE Advisory on Foot and Mouth Disease in KZN – 12 July 2021 

Webinars and Events

SAGE Webinar 1:
SAGE Webinar 2:
SAGE Webinar 3:
SAGE Webinar 4:

Relevant Publications



Lancet report – 24 July 2021 


Pokpas K, Naidoo S, Kumar P, and Singh JA. Vaccine hesitancy: The role of the medical fraternity in debunking vaccine myths. SAMA Insider June 2021: 8-9
SAMA Insider
, South African Medical Association, June 2021: