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Alumni in the spotlight June 2024

- Wits Alumni Relations

Catch up on Witsie awards, appointments and newsmakers from the past month.


Micah Reddy (BA 2020, BA Hons 2012) was awarded second place in the 2024 Taco Kuiper Awards for Investigative Journalism, alongside the amaBhungane team for the Moti Files exposé.

Peter van Heerden (MBBCh 1983, MMed 1992, PhD 2000) received the Order of Australia for his significant service to intensive care medicine, to professional associations, and to tertiary education. He had a distinguished 20-year career in Australia, including as the inaugural president of the College of Intensive Care Medicine of Australia and NZ, before moving to Israel in 2012. He is currently Director of the Department of General Intensive Care at Hadassah Hospital and a full professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.Professor Peter van Heerden received the Order of Australia for his significant service to intensive care medicine, to professional associations, and to tertiary education. 

Associate Professor Anthony Holley (MBBCh 1991) also received the Order of Australia for his significant service to intensive care and emergency medicine. He is currently a Senior Staff Specialist in Intensive Care Medicine at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital. His admirable efforts extend beyond this practice to his nearly 18-year involvement in the Royal Australian Navy Reserves where he was recently promoted to Commodore.

Pedro Ornelas (BSc 2021, BSc Hon 2022) is one of 72 students globally who won an award from the International Society for Optics and Photonics.

Dr Lavern Samuels (BDS 1998) won a BMI/Times Higher Education Lifetime Achievement Award at the NAFSA 2024 Annual Conference and Expo, which was held in New Orleans, Louisiana.


Nthabiseng Audrey Ogude (PhD 1992) has been appointed CEO of the Female Academic Leaders Fellowship programme.

Kathryn Van Dongen (BAcc 2007) joined Carmel Wealth as the company’s chief operating officer.

Lindiwe Dlamini (LLM 1999) was appointed as a non-executive director of BP and will serve on the Assurance and Risk Committee and the Social, Ethics and Transformation Committee.

The Actuarial Society of South Africa will officially welcome Imran Mahomed (BSc 1997, BSc Hons 1998) as its new CEO.Imran Mahomed has been appointed CEO of the Actuarial Society of South Africa.

Natalie Zimmelman (BSc 1991) has been appointed as CEO of Wits Plus.

Hardin Ratshisusu (MCom 2010) was appointed as acting deputy commissioner and acting commissioner of the National Consumer Commission. He also serves as a deputy commissioner at the Competition Commission, a position he has held since 2016.

Prof Glenda Gray (MBBCh 1986) was appointed as a distinguished professor at Wits and as the chief scientific advisor to the new Wits Infectious Diseases and Oncology Research Institute. Council also awarded the title of Professor Emeritus to Robert W Vivian (BSc Eng 1971) and Lesley Cornish (PDipEd 2017) at a recent Wits Council meeting.

Dr Mavis (May) Ann Hermanus (MSc Eng 1986, PhD 2020) has been appointed as an independent non-executive director and member of the Nedbank Group Sustainability and Climate Resilience Committee.


The Rhisotope Project at Wits University inserted low doses of radioisotopes into 20 live rhinoceros. Professor James Larkin (MSc 2013) from the Radiation and Health Physics Unit will closely monitor the health and vital statistics of the rhinos over a period of six months to determine the viability of this approach to save rhinos. 

Supreme Court of Appeal Judge David Unterhalter (LLB 1984) delivered the keynote address at the celebration of “25 years of the Competition Act”, saying there was “much to celebrate” in terms of the Act delivering on its objectives. 

Former Wits professor Anton Harber (BA 1979, MA 2021) shared insights on the state of South Africa’s crumbling news industry and shrinking newsrooms. 

Chief ESG officer at Sedibelo Platinum, Lael Bethlehem (BA 1990, BA Hons 1991, MA 1994), shared her thoughts on the Government of National Unity. She has worked in the forestry, renewable energy, housing and property sectors as well as in local and national government and is a director of the Industrial Development Corporation. 

Ann Bernstein (BA 1976, BA Hons 1977), executive director of thinktank CDE, wrote that a new coalition government will have to fix "a country in crisis" and has released a new set of proposals to reset the economy.