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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.

Dr Mzukisi Qobo - Head of the Wits School of Governance

Professor Mzukisi Qobo is the Head of the Wits School of Governance and formerly Associate Professor of International Business and Strategy at the Wits Business School. He serves on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Economic Advisory Council.

Previously, Qobo was co-founder and deputy director at the Center for the Study of Governance Innovation at the University of Pretoria. At the South African Institute of International Affairs, he served as programme head and pioneered a research area on emerging powers and global challenges.

In the past, he has held a senior leadership role in government as chief director responsible for developing South Africa’s trade policy at the Department of Trade and Industry. Qobo has also led policy advisory work for government and international organisations including on illicit financial flows, and International Relations Strategy for the Gauteng Premier’s Office, and governance and performance of state-owned enterprises for the United Nations Economic Commission on Africa.

He has extensive experience in the fields of governance, international trade, geopolitics, and strategy. He obtained his PhD from the University of Warwick, United Kingdom; MA from the University of Stellenbosch; and BA from the University of Cape Town. His book US, China and Africa in the Changing Global Order will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2021.

Most Recent Publications:

  1. Qobo, Mzukisi (with Khwezi Mabasa). 2021. “The Impact of New Technologies on Labour Relations and Market Structures: The Case of Uber”. In Mazibuko-Makena, Zamanzima and Kraemer-Mbula, Erika (eds). Leap 4.0: African Perspectives on the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Johannesburg: Mistra.
  2. Qobo, Mzukisi. 2020. “Unprincipled Pragmatism and Anti-Imperialist Impulses in an Interconnected World: The Zuma Presidency, 2009 – 2017”. In Bischoff, Paul-Henri (ed). African Foreign Policies. London: Routledge.
  3. Qobo, Mzukisi (with Le Pere, Garth). 2018. “Between Resource Extraction and Industrialising Africa”, in Alden, Chris and Large, Dan (eds). New Directions in China-Africa Studies. London: Routledge.
  4. Qobo, Mzukisi (with Le Pere, Garth (2018). “The Role of China in Africa’s Industrialization: The Challenge of Building Global Value Chains”, Journal of Contemporary China, Volume 27, Issue 10, pp.208-228.
  5. Qobo, Mzukisi (2017). “South Africa’s Foreign Policy and Nation-Branding: Regional Leadership and its Discontent”, Journal of Strategic Review for Southern Africa, Vol 39 (1), May 2017.
  6. Soko, Mills and Qobo, Mzukisi (2017). “Economic, Trade, and Development Relations between South Africa and the European Union: The End of Strategic Partnership? A South African Perspective”, South African Journal of International Affairs, Volume 24 Issue 2, pp.137-157.


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 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


Dr Christine Hobden

Christine Hobden is a senior lecturer in Ethics and Public Governance. She holds a DPhil in Politics (Political Theory) from Nuffield College, University of Oxford. Before joining Wits School of Governance, Hobden lectured in Philosophy at the University of Fort Hare (2017 – 2021) and held a Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellowship at the European University Institute (2015 – 2016).

Hobden currently holds an Iso Lomso Fellowship for early career African Scholars at the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Study (2019 – 2022). She is an editor at Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory and a part of the leadership of the Association of Political Theory in Africa (APTA).

Her research explores normative questions about democratic citizenship and international justice. Her recently completed book, Citizenship in a Globalised World, conceptualises a state-based citizenship that is fundamentally collective and globally-oriented. Her current research projects develop an account of political consumerism as a channel of civic responsibility and, drawing on the life and work of Rick Turner, an argument for becoming ‘engaged political philosophers’.

More information can be found on her website.

Research Interests:

  • Normative dimensions of democratic citizenship
  • Political consumerism
  • South African citizenship law and practice
  • Normative dimensions of global and international justice
  • Collective responsibility




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.


Odile Mackett

Odile Mackett, a lecturer and PhD candidate in the School, holds a Master of Commerce degree in Applied Development Economics 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.

Her PhD research is a gendered critique of the International Labour Organisation’s Decent Work Agenda, and she specifically focuses on how women’s unpaid reproductive labour responsibilities adversely affect their labour market prospects. Her Master’s research focussed on gender differences in labour market outcomes and she has also written on poverty and South Africa’s social grants system.

In addition to decent work and women’s unpaid reproductive labour, her current research projects include an investigation of household composition changes, the effects thereof on labour market attachment, and its implications for the efficacy of South Africa’s social security programmes. An updated list of her most recent publications can be viewed at

Mackett is an associate editor for the African Review of Economics and Finance as well as an associate member of the Pan-African Scientific Research Council.

She currently lectures quantitative methods and economics.

Research interests

  • Labour economics
  • Gender economics
  • Social security
  • Household formation


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.

Prior to 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. At the WSG, she currently lectures Economics and Analytical Methods; has served in the Academic Office as a co-Academic Director. She is also a final year PhD candidate.

Research interests

  • Development economics
  • Macroeconomic policy and modelling
  • International finance
  • Financial development



Dr Darlene Miller

Dr Darlene 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

Dikgang 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

Pundy Pillay is 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.

Recent research in the local government sector include ‘Developing a Pro-poor Bus-Fare Policy for the City of Johannesburg’, ‘A review of Community-Based Planning’ also for the City of Johannesburg, and ‘Transport Planning and Planners for the Local Government SETA.

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.

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 involved 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

Associate Professor Ivor 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. His current teaching interests are: a) Decision Making Processes in Public Institutions where Rational Choice, Game and Bounded Rationality Theories are critically engaged and then situated in the Garbage Can Model of organisational decision making; b) The Political Environment of Public Policy where classical, African and modern theories of politics as a normative and a behavioural model are then situated within a political system theory to show how politics might shape public decision making outcomes. Recently, he was invited to be a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Good Governance Africa’s The African Governance Papers.

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
  • Decision Making in Public Institutions
  • Political Environment of Public Policy
  • Institutions, Bureaucracy and the State
  • Policy, Implementation and Monitoring and Evaluation


Adjunct Professor Alex van den Heever

Adjunct Professor Alex van den Heever presently holds the Chair of Social Security Systems Administration and Management Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand.

He holds a Masters in economics from the University of Cape Town and has worked professionally the areas of health economics and finance, public finance and social security in various capacities in South Africa since 1989.

These include positions in the Department of Finance (Central Economic Advisory Services), the Industrial Development Corporation, Centre for Health Policy at WITS, the Gauteng Department of Health, and the Council for Medical Schemes. Work has included participation in the Melamet Commission of Inquiry into Medical Schemes (1993-4), a member of the Council for Medical Schemes (1996-8) the Committee of Inquiry into Comprehensive Social Security (2000-2), a member of the medicines Pricing Committee (2007-2011), the Ministerial Task team on Social Health Insurance (2003-5) and the Health Market Inquiry for the Competition Commission (2016-19).

Research interests:

  • Health and social security policy
  • Health economics and finance
  • Social security finance
  • Public finance
  • Competition economics
  • Governance and accountability


Associate Professor Anthoni van Nieuwkerk

Associate 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.


Dr Kagiso Pooe

Dr Kagiso “TK” Pooe is a senior lecturer focusing on Public Policy themes such as (1) Local Economic Development in Local Government (2) Law and Economic Development Policy and the role of institutions within this process (3) Scenario Planning thinking and planning (4) Failure Analysis within Public Policies and institutions.

Over the last ten years he has lectured and consulted for various institutions like the North West University’s Government Studies in the Vaal campus, the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Howard College), Gordon Institute of Business Science (University of Pretoria) and the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute.

Before joining academia on a fulltime basis he worked as a Public Policy research consultant at the Gauteng Provincial Legislature and researcher for Integrated Development Planning Unit at the Sedibeng District Municipality.

Outside his professional life he is former National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences Fellow, a 2019 Managing Global Governance Fellow of the Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik, and has served as a Board Member at St. Luke’s Anglican Church in his hometown of Evaton (Vaal). He is a South African and Smooth Jazz, old school RnB enthusiast and is an aspirant squash player.


Dr Kambidima Wotela

Dr Kambidima 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 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.


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 conflict and fragility, peacebuilding and statebuilding, conflict prevention, resilience, and their intersections with security, governance and development.

McCandless’ current research lies in the area of ‘Forging Resilient Social Contracts’. From 2016-2018 she directed a nine country research and policy dialogue project on this topic, and she continues to do associated research and policy advising. She is also presently an Associate Researcher with the German Development Institute, where she collaborates on issues of the social contract and social cohesion.

McCandless has worked widely across the United Nations and with other international organisations, and continues to engage in policy advising, facilitation and training, and research collaboration and consulting in her areas of expertise. She is the author of more than fifty publications, including three books (one edited) 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 Online Collections Editor of the Journal of Peacebuilding and Development.  

A native of California, McCandless moved to South Africa from New York in 2018, where she previously 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




Professor Robert Van Niekerk Van Niekerk

Professor Robert Van Niekerk holds a BA (English) & BA Hons (Industrial Sociology) from the University of Cape Town, an MSc (Social Policy) from the London School of Economics (LSE) and an MPhil and DPhil (Comparative Social Policy) from the University of Oxford. He was a holder of the LSE Students Union Anti-Apartheid Scholarship. 

Van Niekerk’s current research projects in development for funding include a comparative international research project on ‘Cultures of Social Solidarity and the Public Good’ with scholars based at the University of Havana, Eduardo Mondlane University in Maputo and the Catholic University of Luanda and an international comparative research project on ‘Re-imagining the Ethos of an Efficient and Capable Public Service in South Africa’ focused on the health service.

He will also look at the evolution of policy thinking in South Africa on social democracy and the establishment of a re-distributive welfare state that can lock the middle-class into the provision of public goods such as a national health service and a single, comprehensive system of education.

He has secured research grants (and been invited to participate in research projects funded by) from institutions including the Department for International Development, the Economic and Social Research Council (UK), the Mellon Foundation and the World Health Organisation.

He has co-edited special issues and published (and co-authored) journal articles in Social Policy and Administration, the South African Medical Journal; Health Policy and Planning; Transformation and the Journal of African American History as well as co-edited volumes on the politics of South African health care reform and authored articles on social democracy, social citizenship and the African National Congress.  He co-authored book with Professor Vishnu Padayachee, Shadows of Liberation: Contestation and Compromise in the Economic and Social Policy of the African National Congress, 1943–1996’.


Rekgotsofetse Chikane

Rekgotsofetse Chikane is a lecturer in public policy and is also a political commentator, activist and the author of Breaking a Rainbow, Building a Nation: The Politics behind the #MustFall Movements. He is a graduate of the University of Oxford (Blavatnik School of Government) having completed his Master in Public Policy degree in 2017 and he completed a Bachelor in Social Science (Hons) degree at the University of Cape Town in 2015 specialising in Public Policy, Public Administration and Economics.

He is Mandela-Rhodes Scholar, a Mandela-Washington Fellow, a Chevening Scholar, a former Masters Fellow at the Public Affairs Research Institute, one of Mail and Guardians Top 200 Young People (2016 – Civil Society) and an Obama Africa Programme leader for 2019.

He previously worked as the National President of InkuluFreeHeid, a non-partisan, youth organisation focused on deepening democracy and enhancing social cohesion in South Africa. He also worked as a Strategist at MegaTech AI, an emerging technology consulting firm.

Research interests

  • Complex Adaptive Systems in Governance
  • Decolonial Development
  • Youth centred politics and Youth Participation in Public Policy and Politics
  • Emerging Technology and Governance


Lihle Ngcobozi

Lihle Ngcobozi is a lecturer in Development and Governance. She is the author the Mothers of the Nation: Manyano Women in South Africa, a book which explores the intersection between the black church, liberation theologies, as well as a African feminist analysis of the public sphere in South Africa.

She graduated from Rhodes University with a Master’s degree in Political Studies and International Relations in 2017, in which she explored how the Women’s Manyano church group offer a space for the public performance of citizenship by black women. Ngcobozi also holds a postgraduate degree in International Relations. Ngcobozi holds the Allan Gray Center of Leadership Ethics fellowship. Previously, she worked as a Researcher at Iranti, which focused on the development of LGBTI rights in Southern Africa.

Research interests

  • Gendered approaches to citizenship and understanding of the public sphere
  • Post-apartheid feminisms
  • Early Intellectual histories of women in constitutional politics


Halfdan Lynge

Halfdan Lynge is a Senior Lecturer at the Wits School of Governance. His research explores the effects of politics on public policy; i.e. how the cost-benefit calculations of politicians affect the lives of ordinary citizens. In addition, he has an interest in data science and its application in public policy.

He holds a doctoral degree from the University of Oxford, UK and a master’s and bachelor’s degree from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He is the founder and board chair of Sauti, a market and public opinion research company specialised in mobile-based surveys, and a member of the Civic Tech Innovation Network reference group. He previously worked five years with the UN in Africa and Asia.

His last position was as Head of the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where he supervised a team of advisors to the UN Country Team. Lynge started his career as a governance specialist and continues to work as a governance consultant.

Research interests:

  • Political economy
  • Elections and voter behaviour
  • Data science and public policy 
  • Technology and governance


Dr Ruth Murambadoro 

Dr Ruth Murambadoro is a gender, peace and security scholar whose work has concentrated on understanding the intersecting realities that inform human interactions and the role of power in shaping, perpetuating or addressing disparities among population groups in Africa. Her research is grounded in decolonial thought and African feminism and she has conducted ethnographic field research in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique and Ghana, where she explored African mechanisms of resolving conflicts and their efficacy in meeting the justice needs of communities living on the margins.

She holds a DPhil in Political Sciences, an MA in Political Sciences, BA (Hons) International Relations and BPolSci all from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Additionally, she has obtained postgraduate certificates in conflict management, African Thought Leadership, political psychology, post-conflict transitions, and international justice from the International Peace and Security Institute, the Thabo Mbeki Leadership Institute and the Central European University.

Murambadoro has served on the board of directors of the African Studies Association, USA as representative of the Emerging Scholars Network (2016-2018), and committee member of the Transformation Committee of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Pretoria (2015-2018). Since 2011, she has been involved in various research projects, which were funded through the CODESRIA Collaborative Research Network, the African Peacebuilding Network, the Templeton Foundation, Irish Aid and the Social Science Research Council.

Her recognised work includes being shortlisted and a runner-up for the Africa Thesis Award under the African Studies Centre Leiden, Leiden University, Netherlands in 2015. She is a recipient of the Visiting Research Fellowship from the Centre of African Studies Cambridge (2019), the TWAS-DFG Cooperation Visits Award (2019/20), a Guest Researcher fellowship award from the Nordic Africa Institute (2020). Additionally, she was a recipient of the USA-based African Studies Association Presidential Fellowship Award (2015), a three-time recipient of the Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa Fellowship Award (2015-2018), a recipient of the African Pathways Doctoral Fellowship (2015-2017) under the National Institution for the Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Tuks Young Research Leader Award from the University of Pretoria (2017).

Some of her research has been published by Palgrave Macmillan, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, CODESRIA, African Journal for Conflict Resolution, the Strategic Review of Southern Africa, OSSREA and Kujenga Amani to mention a few. Her current research is exploring women social movements and how networks of women provide avenues for healing, justice and peace, outside the auspices of the state, focusing on women in Zimbabwe who have encountered state-sanctioned violence and living under military rule for the past 40 years. She welcomes research supervision on topics related to women, transitional justice, gender justice, peacebuilding and politics of the Global South.


Dr Caitlin Blaser Mapitsa

Dr Caitlin Blaser Mapitsa is a senior lecturer, holding a PhD in Migration and Displacement from the University of the Witwatersrand’s African Centre for Migration and Society. She received an MA from the same institution, a BA from Wellesley college in International Relations and French, and a Postgraduate Diploma from the University of Stellenbosch in Monitoring and Evaluation.

She has worked as an evaluator in civil society, with Resilient Waters evaluating efforts to foster climate resilience in the Okavango and Limpopo river basins, as well as establishing learning systems with the Global Call to Action Against Poverty. She also worked with the Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results, supporting efforts to strengthen monitoring and evaluation systems within public sector institutions across the region through peer learning.

Blaser Mapitsa’s research interests focus on two areas – the first is transboundary governance, of both land and people. She is interested in understanding what drives change in complex social and ecological systems, and which tools can best help us understand these changes. The second is on building contextually relevant evaluation approaches, and how evaluation can be a tool to align institutional practice with values systems and developmental objectives.


Dr John Khumalo

Dr John Khumalo is a senior lecturer and holds a doctoral degree in economics, Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Finance as well as a Masters in Economics. During his Masters’ studies in economics, he specialised in monetary economics, corporate finance and investment with a view to pursue a career in the financial sector, unbeknown that he would end up in academia. He started as a lecturer at the North-West University more than 14 years ago. In 2012 he took up the position of Programme Manager (Head of Department) responsible for overseeing the smooth functioning of the economics department.  

Before joining the Wits School of Governance, he was a senior lecturer at the University of South Africa within the economics department, where he was involved with teaching various economics modules. He was an active supervisor of masters and doctoral students with a quantitative focus. He has been an NRF reviewer and panel member on EMAS and Education and Learning Research cluster since 2018. His research focuses more on finance and aid for development and economic growth in the sub-Saharan African and emerging economies. He currently conducts lectures in economics and public finance and also advises masters and doctoral students at WSG. 

Research interests 

  • Finance for development 
  • Economic growth 
  • Foreign aid 
  • Money and banking
  • Investment


Professor David Everatt

Professor David Everatt has over 30 years of experience in applied socio-economic and development research, political and governance reform, M&E design and implementation 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.

Everatt 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. He is also Chair of the South African Statistics Council. Former Head of School at the Wits School of Governance, Everatt now leads the team establishing an urban Health Demographic Surveillance Site across Gauteng province, under the aegis of the Gauteng Research Triangle which draws together the universities of Johannesburg, Pretoria and Wits.

Research interests

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



Dr Nedson Pophiwa

Dr Nedson Pophiwa is a senior lecturer in Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E). He has conducted research and M&E projects for several funders and government departments. An economic historian by training, Nedson uses contemporary history methods and inter-disciplinary social science approaches to unpack current trends and challenges in public policy and development.

He holds a PhD in Economic History from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, an MA in Forced Migration Studies from Wits University, an MA in African Economic History as well as a BA Hons in Economic History, both from University of Zimbabwe.

His work experience spans across public, development and academic sectors. Prior to joining WSG, Pophiwa was a senior researcher at the National Consumer Commission where he led research projects on consumer protection. He has also worked for institutions such as the Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results (CLEAR-AA), the Human Sciences Research Council and the Africa Institute of South Africa.  

In terms of his contribution to research, Nedson has published peer reviewed publications in journals, book chapters and also read papers at academic conferences. He is a co-editor of two books, namely, Evaluation Landscape in Africa: Context, methods and capacity, published by African Sun Media (2019) and Africa in a changing global environment: Perspectives of climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies in Africa, published by the Africa Institute of South Africa (2013).

Research interests;

  • Evidence-based policy-making 
  • Local and regional economic development
  • Governance of trans-border migration, mobility and trade
  • Made in Africa evaluation approaches and methods
  • Sustainable development