Prof Zeblon Vilakazi (Chair)
Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Postgraduate Affairs
Professor Vilakazi joined the University of the Witwatersrand on 1 January 2014 as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Postgraduate Affairs. He obtained his PhD from Wits in 1998 on a project undertaken at CERN. From 1999 he was the Group Leader of the University of Cape Town's team that developed the High-level Trigger (HLT) tracker for the ALICE experiment at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. He was appointed Group Executive for Research and Development at the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) in 2011, while also serving as the director of iThemba LABS – a position he had held since January 2007. He also currently holds an Honorary Professorship in the Department of Physics at the University of Cape Town. He was recently awarded a Fellowship of the African Academy of Science (FAAS).
Prof Glenda Gray
President: Medical Research Council
Professor Gray, an NRF A-rated scientist, is the President of the Medical Research Council, and Professor of Paediatrics at the University of the Witwatersrand. She was co-founder and leader of the internationally-renowned Perinatal HIV Research Unit which is based at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto. She has specialised in mother-to-child transmission of HIV, HIV vaccines and microbicides. She is the Co-Principal Investigator of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network and Director of the HVTN International Programs. She is a member of the Academy of Science in South Africa and chairs their standing committee on health. She is also the chairperson of the board of the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD). 2013 she received South Africa's highest honour, the Order of Mapungubwe.
Ms Hixonia Nyasulu
Chairperson of Ayavuna Women's Investments
Ms Nyasulu is the Founder and Chairperson of Ayavuna Women's Investments. She is also a Non-Executive Director of Unilever. In 1984, she founded T.H. Nyasulu & Associates, a marketing and research company. She is a former Deputy Chairman of Nedbank and also a former director of Anglo American Platinum and of McCarthy Retail. She has served on the Board of Directors of Unilever, Paton Tupper Associates, Barloworld, JP Morgan Chase and Tongaat-Hulett. Ms Nyasulu holds a B.A. Hons in Psychology (Hons) and a B.A. in Social Work from the University of Zululand. She also completed the International Programme for Board Members (IPMB) at the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Prof Leila Patel
South African Research Chair in Welfare and Social Development at the Centre for Social Development in Africa
Professor Patel is the South African Research Chair in Welfare and Social Development at the Centre for Social Development in Africa of the University of Johannesburg. In 2014 she was awarded the Distinguished Woman Scientist Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences and in 2013 she was the Helen Harris Pearlman Visiting Professor of International Social Welfare at the University of Chicago. Previously, she was the Head of the Department of Social Work at the University of Johannesburg, the Director General of Social Welfare in South Africa, and Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-Principal of Wits University. She played a leading role in the development of South Africa’s welfare policy. The second edition of her book on Social Welfare and Social Development in South Africa was published by Oxford University Press in 2015. She has a Master's in Social Work (MSW) from West Michigan University and a PhD from the Universit of the Witwatersrand.
Ms Mastoera Sadan
Programme Manager for PSPPD II in the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation
Ms Sadan is the Programme Manager of the Programme to Support Pro-poor Policy Development Phase II (PSPPD II) Prior to this, she managed the PSPPD Phase I from 2007-2012. The Programme is located within the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation. She was previously a Senior Policy Analyst in the Social Sector in the Policy Coordination and Advisory Services (PCAS) in the Presidency. She was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Oxford in 2002/03. She holds an MSc from the London School of Economics and is currently a doctoral candidate at Rhodes University. Her doctoral research is examining the trajectory of poverty policies and programmes in South Africa in the post-apartheid period. Ms Sadan also chairs this CoE's Scientific Advisory Committee.
Mr Vusi Malele
Deputy Director: High-End Skills at the Department of Science and Technology
Mr Malele is the Deputy Director: High-End Skills at the Department of Science and Technology (DST). He is currently a doctoral candidate in Industrial Engineering at the Tshwane University of Technology. He holds a Master's in Engineering Sciences (Electronics and Computer Science) from the University of Stellenbosch He also holds a certificate in Managing Public Policy from the Wits School of Governance. His working experience has included being an educator, an engineer, a lecturer, a research professional and a manager. He also sits on the steering committees of other Centres of Excellence.
Dr Makobetsa Khati
Executive Director of the Research Chairs and Centres of Excellence (RCCE) directorate at the National Research Foundation
Mr Nathan Sassman
Director: Centres of Excellence at the National Research Foundation
Mr Sassman is the Director: Centres of Excellence at the National Research Foundation (NRF). He holds a BSc from the University of the Western Cape, BEd and MEd degrees from the University of Cape Town, and an MBA from the Business School Netherlands in Buren in the Netherlands. He also received training in financial management from Price Waterhouse & Coopers, in internal financial controls from the National Treasury and in negotiation skills from the (former) South African Management Development Institute. His working experience has included being an educator, as well as working for the national Department of Education, the national Department of Provincial and Local Government, and at the Foundation for Human Rights.