October 2015
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It's a fact!

New CEO takes over reins at NRF

  Dr Molapo Qhobela
The National Research Foundation (NRF), of which the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA) is business unit, has a new CEO – Dr Molapo Qhobela – from the beginning of January 2016.

The position has been vacant since the departure of the previous CEO, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, early this year. Dr Beverley Damonse, the NRF's Group Executive: Science Engagement and Corporate Relations, served as acting CEO from February 2015.

"It is indeed a great pleasure to announce that Dr Qhobela will be joining the NRF as its CEO," the Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, said in a statement. "He brings with him a wealth of experience gained in leading development of a significant number of policies and strategies, at the Department of Education and at the Department of Science and Technology, which have shaped the nature and operations of the South African university and education system.

"He has exceptional knowledge of the South African Higher Education System and the National Innovation agenda which will serve him well in his new position."

Qhobela leaves his position as Vice-Principal for Institutional Development at the University of South Africa. His prior appointments include: deputy director-general, human capital and knowledge systems at the Department of Science and Technology (2010–2011); deputy director-general and acting director-general, Department of Higher Education and Training (2007–2009); chief director: higher education policy and development support and acting deputy director-general: further education and training at the Department of Education (1998–2007).

Further, he has occupied positions of lecturer: Microbiology, University of Cape Town (1993–1998); lecturer: Microbiology, Rhodes University (1991–1993); and research officer, Ministry of Agriculture and Marketing, Lesotho (1984–1990).

Chairman of the NRF Board, Loyiso Nongxa, said he believed Qhobela would add value at the NRF. "The appointment of Dr Qhobela comes at an opportune time for the NRF when we have just adopted a new strategy, Vision 2020.

"A good strategic leader and a seasoned executive with extensive policy and administration experience, Dr Qhobela is well placed to lead the organisation as it rolls out its new strategy. We congratulate Dr Qhobela and look forward to his contributions as CEO of the NRF and member of the NRF Board."

Staff Writer, SAASTA