ASSAf About

The ASSAf Council comprises 12 members elected by the membership as a 13th member appointed by the Minister of Science and Technology as a representative of the National Advisory Council on Innovation (NACI). 

The composition of the ASSAf Council is as follows:

President and Chairperson of ASSAf Council

prof jansen1 Prof Jonathan Jansen is the immediate past Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the University of the Free State (UFS) and is currently a Fellow at the Centre for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. He is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association, a Fellow of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) and also President of the South African Institute of Race Relations. His book, Knowledge in the Blood: Confronting Race and the Apartheid Past (Stanford, 2009).  He holds honorary degrees from the University of Edinburgh, the University of Vermont and Cleveland State University.


profwingfield1 Prof Brenda Wingfield holds the DST-NRF SARChI Research Chair in Fungal Genomics and is Professor of Genetics at the University of Pretoria (UP). She also served as the Chair of the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) until recently and is the recipient of the prestigious Harry Oppenheimer Fellowship for her outstanding research.  

Prof Nyameko Barney Pityana was the Rector of the College of the Transfiguration, Grahamstown. He is the former Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of South Africa (Unisa). He was Chairperson of Higher Education South Africa and Chairman of the African Council for Distance Education.

General Secretary

Prof20Himla20Soodyall1 Prof Himla Soodyall is a Principal Medical Scientist at the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) and Associate Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). She is a recipient of the National Order of Mapungubwe (Bronze).


Prof Eugene Cloete1
Prof Thomas Eugene Cloete is Vice-Rector, Research and Innovation at Stellenbosch University (SU). He is former recipient of the ASSAf Science-for-Society Gold Medal award.  He is the Founding Director of the SU Water Institute. .

ASSAf Council Members 

Shireen Prof Shireen Hassim is Professor of Politics at the University of the Witwatersrand.
burton1 Prof Stephanie Gail Burton is Vice-Principal: Research and Postgraduate Education at UP.
Prof Sabiha Essack is the South African Research Chair in Antibiotic Resistance and One Health and Professor in Pharmaceutical Sciences at UKZN.
Prof Johann Mouton is Professor in, and Director of the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST) and the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Scientometrics and Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (SciSTIP).  

Prof Zeblon Vilakazi is DVC: Research and Postgraduate Affairs at Wits and Extraordinary Professor at UP.
Norman Duncan
Prof Norman Duncan is Vice-Principal: Academic at the University of Pretoria.
nancy Prof Nancy Phaswana-Mafuya is the Director of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS Research Alliance of the HSRC and Honorary Professor at NMMU.

NACI Representative 

Dr Shadrack Moephuli is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Agricultural Research Council (ARC). Appointed by the DST Minister as a NACI representative.

Council Advisors


Prof Wieland Gevers is Emeritus Professor of Medical Biochemistry at UCT and a previous President, Executive Officer and General Secretary of ASSAf.

Prof Evance Rabban Kalula1

Prof Evance Rabban Kalula is Professor and Director of the International Academic Programmes Office and the Confucius Institute. He holds a personal chair as Professor of Employment Law and Social Security, UCT.


Prof Sunil Maharaj1

Prof Sunil Maharaj is Director of the Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit and holds the South African Research Chair in Gravitating Systems and is a Senior Professor of Applied Mathematics at UKZN.