The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande congratulates all the appointed new Council members of the South African Council for Natural Scientific Proffesions Council (SACNASP).


The Minister officially inaugurated the Council , 2nd September 2021.


The Council is led by elected Chairperson, Prof Khathutshelo Agree Nephawe and Deputy Chairperson, Prof Vanessa Steenkamp.


The Council has been elected for a four-year term of office with effect from yesterday, the 1st September 2021 to 31 August 2025 in accordance with the Natural Scientific Professions Act, 2003 (Act No. 27 of 2003).


Minister Nzimande said the SACNASP should serve and protect the public and the environment in matters involving the rendering of natural scientific services by persons practising natural scientific professions. 


“The SACNASP should thus ensure the upholding and maintenance of professional and ethical standards within the natural scientific professions, and advise me as the Minister on any matters pertaining to the practice of natural science,” said Minister Nzimande. 


The Minister said that all SACNASP Council members have both fiduciary as well as government and wider societal priorities to implement and that the Council is tasked with certain responsibilities to maximise stakeholder value.  These include determining the organisation’s strategic objectives and policies; monitoring progress towards achieving the objectives and policies, and accounting for the organisation’s activities to relevant stakeholders.


Minister Nzimande further said that a well-governed Council is expected to develop the Council Charter, which outlines the responsibilities of the Council; the management of meetings of the Council; establishment of the Council Committees; handling of conflict of interest and how the Council will be evaluated.


The Minister encouraged the Council to further familiarise themselves with the King IV report guidelines which outlines the responsibilities of Council members. 


These include promoting ethical culture; ensuring that internal audit is risk based; viewing sustainability as a business opportunity and ensuring that internal and external disputes are resolved.  In addition, the Council must also have training and development as a formal process.


Minister Nzimande also emphasized the important of transformation within the SACNASP, firstly in relation to Voluntary Associations (VAs) and secondly in the membership professional registrations. 


However Minister Nzimande said that the SACNASP has done well with transformation in the registered natural scientists which  now stands at 12 916. 


“Although male registered natural scientists still exceed their female counterparts with the ratio at 57% to 43%, the trend in newly registered scientists is that more females than males are registering with the ratio of females to males’ registrations being 53% to 47%.  I encourage you to continue to implement your targets of attaining 55% new female registration,” urged Minister Nzimande.


Minister Nzimande congratulated the SACNASP for successfully embarked on a programme for the enrolment of students from Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs), which will assist in developing a pipeline of professional scientists and assist students in developing networks in the workplace.


“Growing and developing the SACNASP pipeline is critical. I am delighted to notice that SACNASP’s positive, better than expected registration numbers which is attributable to its commitment and regulatory mandate.  The better than anticipated uptake in registration is partly attributed to the scientific community becoming more aware of the benefits of registering with the SACNASP, which is an indication that the entity’s marketing efforts are bearing fruits,” emphasized the Minister. 


Minister Nzimande and the Department is looking forward to the draft report on the study titled “Tracking of Employed, Unemployed and Underemployed Natural Science Graduates” that is being compiled in collaboration with the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC).  The SACNASP committed to present these findings during the 2021/22 financial year.


The DSI will work closely with SACNASP in identifying measures (beyond the study) to be put in place to improve the employability of natural scientists. 


“I welcome the news that the SACNASP is hosting a series of webinars targeted at improving soft skills among graduates, skills that are so critical in the development and employability of professional scientists,” said Minister Nzimande.


The Minister further said that he is also grateful to note that there has been significant progress for candidate scientists towards the implementation of the pilot Candidate Mentoring Phase (CMP) programme at SACNASP.


“What is pleasing is the fact that 75% of the mentees are female,” said the Minister.


Minister Nzimande elaborated that the promotion of lifelong learning and transformation in the natural science sector remains a priority, and the SACNASP must be commended for its Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme on the natural science profession/skills development, and its role on science engagements. 


“These two functions of the SACNASP also find strong expression in our draft Decadal Plan for STI.   I also request SACNASP written inputs or comments to this draft Decadal Plan for STI,” said the Minister.


Minister Nzimande also congratulated SACNASP for the recent engagements with the Departments of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) and the DSI on the District Development Model (DDM), and for exploring ways to carve a niche for SACNASP in the DDM. 


The Minister said SACNASP must further explore how it can also carve a niche in the Skills Development Enterprise, using its Continuing Professional Development (CPD) system, while working with the Sector Education and Training Authorities.




Prof Khathutshelo Agree Nephawe

Prof. Vanessa Steenkamp

Dr Stephanus Terblanche

Mr Neale Lance Baartjies

Dr Roelof Coetzer

Dr Juanita van Heerden

Mr Desmond Musetsho

Dr Phillia Rixongile Vukea

Dr Sagren Moodley

Ms Matuloe Pertunia Masemola

Ms Leanda-Marsha Vilakazi

Prof. Ntebogeng Sharon Mokgalaka Fleischmann

Adv. Sylvester Charles Jewell

Dr Tiisetso Elizabeth Lephoto

Dr Peaceful Lucy Mabeta

Dr Magezi Kenneth Mabaso

Mr Mpho Sekgala

Dr Johann Strauss

Dr Mona Ben Matiwane

Prof. Sonali Das

Prof. Raseelo Joel Moitsheki

Ms Inger Nicolette Fabris-Rotelli

Dr Gerhard Cilliers

Prof. Sanushka Naidoo

Mr Bishop Ngobeli

Prof. Roseanne Diab

Prof. Azwindini Muronga

Dr Pradish Rampersadh – CEO

Ms Desiree Fischer – Board Secretary

Ms Thulile Zondi




Issued by:

Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation

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