Start main page content

WSG academic staff

There are over 40 highly qualified academics, including full and part time staff, at the WSG. With a broad diversity of experience and sectoral focus, we are in a position to offer over 40 short courses. Our academics are known for advising African policymakers on foreign and national security policy processes and frameworks as well as local policy makers. They have experience in social activism, working with trade unions and in global organisations. Several are sought-after for interviews and contribute to media reports by providing their expert analysis on various subjects.

Professor David Everatt

Professor David Everatt, Head of the Wits School of Governance, has over 25 years of experience in applied socio-economic and development research, political and governance reform, designing and implementing monitoring systems, and programme evaluation, across sub-Saharan Africa.

He is the former Executive Director of CASE, founding partner of Strategy & Tactics (winner of two Impumulelo Black Empowerment awards), and founding Director of the Gauteng City-Region Observatory. David was responsible for path-breaking research into youth marginalisation in South Africa in the early 1990s; his research into political violence was quoted at length by Nelson Mandela at the UN; he was the chief evaluator of the South African Constitutional Assembly between 1995 and 1997; and has researched issues from poverty and inequality to urbanism to class formation and voting behaviour.

He was Vice-President (sub-Saharan Africa) for the 'Sociology of Youth' committee of the International Sociological Association for 14 years, and now sits on their Advisory Board, and serves on the Board of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation and the National Statistics Council.

Research Interests

  • Politics, polling and voting behaviour
  • Youth development
  • Development, poverty and inequality
  • Non-racialism, race and identity
  • Governance and reform
  • Public participation


Dr Caryn Abrahams

Caryn Abrahams, a senior lecturer, holds a PhD in Social and Political Science from the University of Edinburgh, in the Centre for African Studies. She is also the Academic Director at WSG.

She completed her Masters, Honours and undergrad degrees at the University of the Witwatersrand, with specialisation in Human and Urban Geography. Before joining the WSG, Caryn was a senior researcher at the Gauteng City-Region Observatory – a partnership of Wits University, University of Johannesburg and Gauteng Province – where she focused on social cohesion, anti-racism, urban inclusion, and urban food systems in Gauteng Province.

Previously, Abrahams completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Development Studies at UNISA, and was the research manager at the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, a prominent civil society organisation concerned with deepening non-racialism in South Africa. At the NGO she designed an exhibition on Eight Decades of Kathrada’s Life, oversaw public discussion series, commissioned research and contributed to the Presidency’s 20 Year Review on Social Cohesion.

Before completing her doctoral studies, Abrahams lectured development and post-development at the University of the Witwatersrand School of Geography. She has guest lectured at the University of Edinburgh, Sociology, and taught a module on Sustainable Development at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

Abrahams’ research and publications are concerned with two areas of work – governing urban food systems (the basis of her doctoral studies), and anti-racism and social cohesion (an interest that grew from her civil society involvement). She has published work on alternative food networks in the developing South, supermarkets and informal food markets, and the developmental imperative in urban food systems thinking. She has also published work on non-racialism, social cohesion, and has forthcoming chapters on the future of race in South Africa, and uncertainty and nation-building in South Africa in edited collections. She is the editor of and contributor to the GCRO’s Pathways to Anti-Racism (2016). Her interest in governance brings together these bodies of work – how food systems or societal interaction are co-governed by the interests at work, particularly by the imperatives of ordinary people. 

Abrahams’ research is anti-disciplinary as it draws on a range of scholarship broadly in the social sciences – urban studies, development, economic geography, sociology, politics – but is not confined to a particular discipline. Her research interests and curiosities include anti-racism, urban inclusion, urbanity, urban food systems, urban society, Batho Pele governance, micro forms of governance, and localisation. 

Research interests:

  • Urban planning 
  • Development 
  • Agribusiness 
  • Intergovernmental relations and governance 
  • Local councillors and local politics 
  • Race, social cohesion and social change


Professor Patrick Bond

Patrick Bond, a WSG Distinguished Professor of Political Economy since mid-2015, is presently researching economic crisis, dynamics of uneven and combined development, political ecology (resource extraction, energy, water and climate change), social mobilisation, social policy and geopolitics. Patrick’s books include:

• BRICS: An Anti-Capitalist Critique (co-edited with Ana Garcia; Pluto Press, Haymarket, Jacana and Aakar Press, 2015)
• South Africa – The Present as History (co-authored with John Saul; Jacana Books and James Currey Press, 2014)
• Elite Transition: From Apartheid to Neoliberalism in South Africa (Pluto Press and UKZN Press, 2014, 2005 and 2000)
• Politics of Climate Justice: Paralysis Above, Movement Below (UKZN Press, 2012)
• Durban’s Climate Gamble: Trading Carbon, Betting the Earth (edited, Unisa Press, 2011)
• Zuma’s Own Goal: Losing South Africa’s ‘War on Poverty’ (co-edited with Brij Maharaj and Ashwin Desai; Africa World Press and the SA Netherlands Programme in Alternatives to Development, 2010)
• Climate Change, Carbon Trading and Civil Society: Negative Returns on South African Investments (co-edited with Rehana Dada and Graham Erion; UKZN Press, 2009)
• The Accumulation of Capital in Southern Africa: Rosa Luxemburg’s Contemporary Relevance (co-edited with Horman Chitonge and Arndt Hopfmann; Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, 2007)
• Looting Africa: The Economics of Exploitation (Zed Books and UKZN Press, 2006, republished as A Pilhagem na   África, South Links 2008)
• Talk Left, Walk Right: South Africa’s Frustrated Global Reforms (UKZN Press, 2006, 2004)
• Trouble in the Air: Global Warming and the Privatised Atmosphere (co-edited with Rehana Dada; TransNational Institute, 2005)
• Fanon’s Warning: A Civil Society Reader on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Africa World Press, 2005, 2002)
• Against Global Apartheid: South Africa meets the World Bank, IMF and International Finance (Zed Books and University of Cape Town Press, 2003, 2001)
• Zimbabwe’s Plunge: Exhausted Nationalism, Neoliberalism and the Search for Social Justice (coauthored with Masimba Manyanya; UKZN Press, Merlin Press, Weaver Press and Africa World Press, 2003, 2002)
• Unsustainable South Africa: Environment, Development and Social Protest (UKZN Press and Merlin Press, 2002)
• Cities of Gold, Townships of Coal: South Africa’s New Urban Crisis (Africa World Press, 2000)
• An RDP Policy Audit (co-authored with Meshack Khosa for Human Sciences Research Council Press, 1999)
• Uneven Zimbabwe: A Study of Finance, Development and Underdevelopment (Africa World Press, 1998)

In service to the new South African government from 1994-2002, Patrick authored/edited more than a dozen policy papers, including the Reconstruction and Development Programme and the RDP White Paper. He held other positions at Johannesburg NGOs (the National Institute for Economic Policy, 1996-97 and Planact, 1990-94); at the University of Zimbabwe’s Department of Political and Administrative Studies (1989-90); and in Washington, DC at the Institute for Policy Studies, Pacifica Radio, MarketPlace Radio, and international trade unions (late 1980s). He was also active in international anti-apartheid advocacy and the US student movement, and in 1995 worked in the International Liaison Office of Haitan President Aristide.

From 2004 through April 2016 Patrick was Senior Professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal School of Built Environment and Development Studies, and also served as Director of the Centre for Civil Society, where he remains an honorary professor. Patrick has recently served as visiting professor at Gyeongsang National University Institute of Social Sciences, South Korea and as an associate of the Leverhulme Centre for the Study of Value at the University of Manchester. On two sabbaticals, he was a visiting scholar at the University of California/Berkeley Department of Geography in 2010-11 and at York University’s Department of Political Science and Faculty of Environmental Sciences in 2003-04. He lectured from 1997-2004 at WSG where he was founder of the doctoral programme and co-director of the Municipal Services Project. Patrick began his academic career as assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health in 1994-95. He has held visiting posts at a dozen universities and presented guest lectures at more than 100 others.

Patrick earned his doctorate in economic geography under the supervision of David Harvey at Johns Hopkins (1985-92), following studies at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Finance (Philadelphia, 1983-85) and an undergraduate economics degree at Swarthmore College (Philadelphia, 1979-83), including a semester studying classical guitar at the Peabody Conservatory (Baltimore, 1982).



Murray Cairns

Murray Cairns is a principal tutor and joined the WSG in 1997 as finance manager, and remained on the administrative staff of the School in various capacities until 2009 when he became an academic. He runs the Writing Centre at the school, and is the Convenor for the Masters of Management. His teaching started in the area of HIV and AIDS both at WSG and the Wits Business School, but has moved to research conceptualisation, research methods and proposal development. Cairns’ teaching is focused on assisting students to conceptualise and define their research focus, to build an analytical lens, and to explore the literatures that guide their disciplinary area.

Cairns supervises in the broad area of the social response HIV and AIDS, HIV and AIDS policy analysis and implementation.  Much of his supervision has focused on policy issues that affect minorities and vulnerable groups, as well as broad policy implementation topics. He provides support to the school in the development and construction of curricula for degrees and short courses, as well as system development and web application development.


Marcel T. Korth

Marcel Tsholofelo Korth is a Lecturer in the Wits School of Governance. He holds an MA in Development Studies from the University of Johannesburg (2008). His current teaching and applied work focus on monitoring and evaluation, and his supervision revolves around monitoring systems, evaluation, and the use of evidence in decision-making, as well as youth development and gender-based violence.

Marcel's background is in social justice work. He joined Wits from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) where he served as M&E Advisor for 15 countries in the southern African region. Prior appointments include Research Specialist at the University of Johannesburg with a focus on the use of evidence for policy-making; Programme Manager for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s southern African Criminal Justice and Violence against Women programme; and Lecturer in Development Studies at the University of Johannesburg, with a focus on Children and Youth, Gender, Urban Development and Research Methodology. Marcel’s practical experience spans from working in and supporting a number of community-based organisations, primarily in youth development, to developing and managing social development programmes across the SADC region. 


Odile Mackett

Odile Mackett, a lecturer, holds a Masters of Commerce degree in Development Theory and Policy from Wits University, a Bachelor of Commerce honours degree in International Trade and Finance, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies (majoring in Politics and Economics), both from the University of Johannesburg. Odile started her academic career at the University of South Africa in the Economics department, teaching undergraduate economics. She currently lectures quantitative methods and economics.

Research interests:

  • Labour markets
  • Poverty and inequality


Kholiswa Malindini

Kholiswa Malindini is a lecturer and holds a Master’s Degree in Economics from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. She completed her Honours and undergraduate degrees at Walter Sisulu University, with specialisation in Economics and Econometrics. Before joining the WSG, Malindini was a full-time teacher at Umtata high School and a part-time lecturer at Walter Sisulu University in the Eastern Cape where she taught economics and business management. She currently lectures economics and quantitative methods.


Dr Darlene Miller

Dr Miller, a senior lecturer, completed a Doctorate in Sociology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, US, with a focus on regional political economy. In her activist days she was the National Education Coordinator of SACCAWU, a COSATU retail trade union. She was also the Director of the Institute for African Alternatives, South Africa, a research and training Institute with chapters in London and across Africa. Her recent work includes film documentaries on women’s leadership, as well as project management of research on large-scale land acquisitions in Southern Africa. She was the Bloomberg Africa Fellow at Human Rights Watch in New York in the year of 9/11 and Senior Advisor to the CEO of the Human Sciences Research Council for the International Social Science Council, Paris. Her current research interests are feminist critiques of patriarchal accumulation in Southern Africa, women in leadership and food governance.


Dikgang Motsepe

Motsepe is an economist and a senior lecturer at the WSG, focusing on macro-economic policy, and public finance.

Motsepe has a Masters in Development Finance from the University of Stellenbosch, and both a BCom and BCom (Hons) in Economics from the University of Cape Town.

Before joining academia, he worked as a senior economist at the NEPAD Secretariat in the office of Professor Nkuhlu, the Economic Advisor to President Thabo Mbeki. Mbeki and Chairman of the NEPAD Steering Committee; Programme Manager/Economist at the Business Trust, managing the community investment programme focusing on the Presidential Nodal Economic Development Programme; and a financial market economist at the South African Reserve Bank. Motsepe has gained experience in the field of financial markets and development economics.


Professor Pundy Pillay

Professor Pundy Pillay is a Professor of Economics and Public Finance and the Research Director at the WSG. He earned a PhD in Economics and an MA in Economics from the University of Cape Town. He completed his BA Honours at Wits University. Prior to joining the school he was a Visiting Professor at the Universities of the Western Cape and Johannesburg from 2007 to 2010. Between 2001 and 2007 he was a Senior Economist at RTI International. He was Head of the Policy Unit in the Office of the President between 1998 and 2000 and the Executive Director of the Financial and Fiscal Commission between 1995 and 1997. He began his academic career at the University of Cape Town where he was a Senior Lecturer in Economics from 1983 to 1994.

Pillay’s publications include the books Higher Education in the BRICS countries (2015), co-edited with Simon Schwarzmann and Romulo Pinheiro, Springer; Higher Education and Economic Development in Africa(2015), with N Cloete, P Maassen, T Bailey, and I Bunting, CHET, Cape Town; Linking Higher Education and Economic Development: Implications for Africa from Three Successful Systems, (2010) CHET, Cape Town.

In addition to these, he has written the following journals and book chapters:

Pillay et al: Designing a Pro-Poor Bus Fare Policy for the City of Johannesburg, being considered for publication in ‘Research in Transportation Economics’; Research and Innovation in South Africa – in Schwartzmann et al (eds.),

Higher Education in the BRICS countries (2015); Pillay et al: Improving the fit: Making the Skills Development Levies Act work better in South African government departments, Journal of Public Administration, 49 (2), June 2014;

Pillay et al: Unemployment, vulnerability and economic empowerment: implications for career guidance and counseling for youth in South Africa (2014) in International Handbook of Career Guidance; Student Financing in the Developing World: Africa, (2013) in Student Financing of Higher Education: A Comparative Perspective, eds. Donald E Heller and Claire Callender.

He is currently leading the WSG’s participation in an international five-university Horizon 2020 research project on “The EU and Global Justice”. The universities are Oslo, Bologna, Dublin, Tubingen (Germany), and Wits. WSG is leading research on “Trade, development and global justice” in the project.

Research interests:

  • Economics and Public Policy
  • Public Finance
  • The Political Economy of Development in Africa
  • Economics of Education
  • Inequality and Poverty


Associate Professor Ivor Sarakinsky

Sarakinsky is a political philosopher who teaches public governance and the green economy at the WSG. He has supervised numerous topics in these areas and his research is published in top-rated international and national scholarly journals. He has direct experience of the public sector as a Chief Director responsible for the Green Economy in the Economic Development Department. He has also engaged in numerous consulting projects ranging from helping develop the governance assessment methodology for NEPAD’s African Peer Review Mechanism to working with municipalities on their Green Economy strategies and implementation processes. His current research deals with the changing nature of governance from static processes of accountability to complexity and the coordination of institutional sub-units to enable responsiveness to rapidly changing societal demands. These ideas inform his work on the green economy - institutional and financial adaptation and innovation are critical factors for responding to environmental eco-systems while addressing economic growth and employment creation.

Research interests:

  • Green Economy
  • South African Public Governance: national, provincial and local
  • State Owned Enterprise Governance
  • Governance, Corruption and Development Issues
  • Political Theory, Ethics and Governance
  • Policy, Implementation and Monitoring and Evaluation


Professor Alex van den Heever

Van den Heever presently holds the Chair of Social Security Systems Administration and Management Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand and is an adjunct professor in the Wits School of Governance.

He holds a Masters in economics from the University of Cape Town and has worked in the areas of health economics and finance, public finance and social security in various capacities over the past 23 years.

This includes participation in the Melamet Commission of Inquiry into medical schemes, the Taylor Committee of Inquiry into Comprehensive Social Security, and the Ministerial Task team on Social Health Insurance.

Over the period 2000 to 2010 he worked as an advisor to the Council for Medical Schemes, which he was responsible for establishing, and in an advisory capacity to the social security policy processes (including the Department of Social Development, the National Treasury, and the Inter-departmental Task Team on Social Security) taking forward the recommendations of the Taylor Committee.

Research interests:

  • Health and social security policy
  • Health economics and finance
  • Social security finance
  • Public finance
  • Competition economics
  • Governance and accountability
Professor Anthoni van Nieuwkerk

Professor Anthoni van Nieuwkerk holds an MA in political science from the University of Johannesburg and a PhD in international relations from Wits University, Johannesburg. He has been research-active from the early 1990s and has pursued an academic career in teaching, training and policy analysis from 2000.

He is based at the Wits School of Governance (WSG), where he coordinates Security studies. In 2013 he received recognition by the National Research Foundation as a rated scholar and in recent years, held positions as Assistant Dean (Research) for the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management and WSG Academic Director. In 2015, the South African government appointed him to the South African Council on International Relations (SACOIR) where he serves as a Steering Committee member. In 2018 he was appointed as a member of the Presidential Review Panel on Intelligence.

Van Nieuwkerk has developed comprehensive skills as an institutional architect. He publishes widely on African foreign and security policy, has participated in several scenarios development exercises, and has broad experience with advising African policymakers on foreign and national security policy processes and frameworks.

He is a visiting lecturer and external examiner in South Africa and elsewhere on the continent, and serves as editorial board member of the accredited journals African Security, Administratio Publica and European Journal of International Studies.


Merle Werbeloff

Werbeloff is a registered industrial psychologist working in applied statistics, data mining and data modelling. She has worked in a sessional capacity for WSG for over 15 years, teaching quantitative analytical methods, quantitative research methodology and computer literacy to some thousands of post graduate students. She has advised on numerous PhD and Masters theses at WSG, WBS, UP and Monash SA among other universities, and trained and consulted on the use of major statistical software. She has several years of running an independent statistics and methodology practice, and worked on projects involving analysis of national databases. Her special interests include crime statistics, human rights and adult numeracy. She is the statistical analyst of several joint papers.

In January 2016 she consolidated her academic activities as a quantitative analysis and methodology lecturer at WSG and began the pursuit of her own doctoral studies at Wits in the field of adult numeracy, judgment and decision making. This topic is in line with her passion to reduce and even reverse the almost universal fear of statistics and numbers that seems to haunt most students (and some academics), and to channel their energies more positively into quantitative research.


Dr Kambidima Wotela

Wotela is an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Scholar and a William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Fellow. He studied demography and population studies for all his degrees. During his studies, he picked up academic skills in ethnography, quantitative and qualitative research approaches, designs, and methods.

He started his career life in 1994 working for the Zambian planning department—the former National Commission for Development Planning as an economist cum demographer and rose to the post of senior planner in 1999 before he left in 2001. As a civil servant, he picked up practical skills in planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of development interventions. He put these skills to use when he joined a World Bank initiated technical intervention—called the Technical Education Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training (TEVET) Development Programme—as a Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist. In this capacity, he designed the TEVET monitoring and evaluation system including a mechanism for tracking and reporting on the progress of students graduating from institutions offering technical and vocational training in Zambia. In addition, after completing his Master of Science degree in 1998, he lectured part-time at the University of Zambia before he took up the position on a full-time basis. He left Zambia in 2004 to pursue his doctoral degree with the prestigious Centre for Actuarial Research (CARe) at the University of Cape Town.

Wotela teaches analytical methods, research methodology, and economic development and population trends at the Wits School of Governance. He also supervises research students pursuing their masters and doctoral degrees in public and development management. He continues to write on Zambian history, anthropology, and demography as he takes up a new line of research in development, public policy, leadership, governance, monitoring and evaluation.

Research interests:

  • Development interventions
  • Public policy
  • Leadership
  • Governance
  • Monitoring and evaluation

Currently, Wotela is pursing three research strands:

Development interventions particularly institutionalisation and tuition of monitoring and evaluation as well as the link between development, public policy, leadership, governance, monitoring and evaluation.

Business and public administration students' research techniques, tuition and supervision particularly structured approaches to (i.) conceptualising "what" research and (ii.) deriving interpretive (theoretical) and conceptual "how" frameworks.

Zambian demography and population studies.


Dr Jacqui Poltera

Dr Jacqui Poltera, a senior lecturer, holds a PhD in Philosophy focused on ethical theory from Macquarie University, Sydney. She was awarded a Masters and Honours from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal and a Bachelor of Arts from Rhodes University. On completing her PhD, she held a postdoctoral fellowship in the Centre for Citizenship and Public Policy at Western Sydney University.

Prior to her appointment at WSG, she worked as a senior consultant in Melbourne, Australia. Her consulting work focused on evaluating and planning public health and social services systems. She also has experience working in government, project managing and implementing large scale national policies and reform at the provincial level. During this period Poltera held affiliate positions with the University of Adelaide, School of Population Health and the University of Tasmania.

Poltera’s doctorate and associated research focused on theories of agency and identity. Specifically, the ways in which contingencies such as violence, trauma and/or oppression threaten agency. She has published her work in national and international peer-reviewed journals and lectured at universities in Australia and South Africa on topics such as business and professional ethics, public health, media ethics and the law, epistemology, critical thinking and logic.

 Research interests:

  • Professional ethics, public governance and accountability
  • Agency, identity and politics
  • Policy debates at the interface of ethics, justice and the law
  • Violence and oppression
  • Feminist approaches to governance
  • Non-racialism and epistemological ignorance


Dr Chelete Monyane

Dr Chelete Monyane is an Advocate of the High Court of South Africa. He holds a PhD and was a National Research Foundation: Security and Justice Fellow at the Department of Public Law, University of Cape Town.

He has worked at the Impact Litigation Unit of Legal Aid South Africa, where he focused on impact litigation matters, justiciability of socio-economic rights and class actions. He also served at the National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa, Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit. He has lectured at the UCT, University of North West (Mafikeng) and University of Johannesburg. He has also served at the International Criminal Court of Justice at the Office of the Prosecutor.

He has published widely on interdisciplinary issues ranging from political economy of criminal justice and criminal law, socio-economic rights, consolidation of democratic institutions and electoral reforms. He has worked in close partnership with the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority from a human rights perspective, with the National Planning Commission on achieving sustained citizen safety and protection of human rights, and with the task team to reshape security governance and human rights in the Western Cape.

Some of his publications include Is Ukuthwala Another Form of ‘Forced Marriage’? Operation Rachel: A Case Study in Cross-border Police Cooperation, Theory and Practice of Criminal Justice in Southern Africa and Adjudicating Non-Justiciable Rights: Socio-Economic Rights and South African Constitutional Court.

Research interests 

  • International criminal law
  • Justiciability of socio-economic rights
  • Access to justice, rule of law
  • Crime and policing
  • Money laundering, white collar crime
  • Democratic consolidation, public accountability and oversight


Associate Professor Erin McCandless

Erin McCandless, Associate Professor, is a widely published scholar and policy advisor with over two decades of experience working on and in conflict affected settings, broadly on issues of peacebuilding, statebuilding, security, governance, development and resilience - and their intersections. 

Dr McCandless directs a research and policy dialogue project, ‘Forging Resilient Social Contracts’, and serves as a civil society Co-Chair on the ‘New Deal’ Implementation Working Group of the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding. Consulting widely across the United Nations and with other international organisations, she conducts research and evaluation to inform policy and programme design for peace impact, facilitates strategic processes and conducts trainings. 

She is the author of more than fifty publications, including three books and several influential United Nations reports, i.e. “Peace Dividends: Contributions of Administrative and Social Services on Peacebuilding,” and “Second Generation DDR Practices in Peace Operations.” She is also co-founder and Books Editor of the Journal of Peacebuilding and Development.  

McCandless recently relocated to South Africa from New York, where she taught in the New School’s Graduate Program of International Affairs for ten years.

More information can be found on her website:; and her project website: 

Research interests:

  • Conflict and fragility, peacebuilding and prevention – and development linkages
  • Political settlements and resilient social contracts
  • Inclusive transitions: processes and outcomes
  • Social movements and transformative social change
  • UN peace operations and international aid
  • Benchmarking and transition, evaluation for peace impact
  • Statebuilding, institutions and social cohesion