Research Advisory Committee

Dr Aurelia Segatti

Labour Migration Expert


International Labour Organization

Aurelia Segatti is a Labour Migration Expert at the International Labour Organization. She is part of the ILO Decent Work Team for Southern and Eastern Africa based in Pretoria, South Africa. Before joining the ILO, she worked for several research and academic institutions.

From 2004 to 2008 she was Research Director of the French Institute of South Africa, and then joined the Institute of Research on Development for two years. She was appointed Senior Researcher and then Associate Professor at the African Centre for Migration & Society, University of the Witwatersrand, and became the Research Manager at the Public Affairs Research Institute in the same university. She has published extensively on migration policy, labour migration, xenophobic mobilization, economic indigenization and public administration.

Aurelia Segatti obtained her MA in African Studies from the Bordeaux Institute of Political Studies (Science Po) and her PhD from the University of Reunion and Science Po Bordeaux.

Dr Christo Venter

Associate Professor, Dept. of Civil Engineering


University of Pretoria

Christo Venter is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. He completed his PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1999, and has since been working in transportation consulting, research and teaching in South Africa.

His research interests include travel behavior modeling, land use/transport interaction, planning for public transport, and the social and economic impacts of access and mobility. Recent work include analysis of access and mobility patterns in Gauteng townships; modelling of transport captivity in Johannesburg using stated preference data; assessing the poverty impacts of the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit system; and using personal GPS devices to help understand walking behavior in poor communities.

Dr Lulu Gwagwa

Lereko Investments


Lereko Investments

Dr Lulu Gwagwa has a Masters degree in Town and Regional Planning from the University of Natal, an MSc (cum laude) from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a PhD from University College, London. She worked as a town planner in various capacities from 1981 to 1988.

She was appointed a senior lecturer at the University of Natal in 1991. In 1995 Lulu was appointed as Deputy Director General in the national Department of Public Works to establish the National Public Works Programme. Amongst her responsibilities was to initiate the transformation of the construction industry and the establishment of the emerging contractor development programme. Lulu completed a five-year term as CEO of Independent Development Trust (""IDT"") in 2003, where she was tasked with the transformation of the IDT from a grant-making to an implementation-management agency. Bu the time she left, the IDT had a programme portfolio of over a billion rand and had been appointed by Cabinet to support government in coordinating and implementing the Integrated Sustainable Rural Development Programme.

Lulu has also served on various government commissions, including the Commission for the Delineation and Demarcation of Provincial Boundaries and the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Local Government Transformation. She serves as a non-executive director on boards of the FirstRand, Massmart, Ethics Institute of South Africa, Sun International and is the Chairperson of Tsebo Outsourcing. She is a fellow of the Africa Leadership Initiative, and she was a finalist in the 2001 Nedbank Business Women of the Year awards.

Lulu is a member of the Gauteng Planning Advisory Council. She is the founder and chairperson of Mhakazi Trust that supports youth in KwaZulu Natal.

Dr Gwagwa is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Lereko Investments.

Dr Noor Nieftagodien

Director, History Workshop


University of the Witwatersrand

Dr Nieftagodien serves as the Director of the History Workshop, is a senior lecturer in the History Department, is a member of the university Senate and serves on the board of the South African History Archives.

His most recent book is Alexandra - A History, co-authored with Phil Bonner. He also served on the editorial board of The Road to Democracy in South Africa Project and published articles on aspects of the liberation movements. He co-ordinated Development Studies at the university for two years and teaches undergraduate courses on African Cities and the Middle East. He is currently writing histories of Orlando West (Soweto), the Vaal Triangle and of the Chemical, Electricity, Paper, Plastic and Allied Workers’ Union.

Lisa Vetten

Senior Researcher


Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre

Lisa Vetten is a Senior Researcher and Political analyst for the Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre to end violence against women. She has also served as Manager of the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation's gender programme.

She is a member of the management committee for the Reproductive Rights Alliance. She is a member of the executive committee of the Gauteng Network on Violence Against Women.

Mfanafuthi Tsela

Senior Researcher


Department of Communication and Information Services

Mfanafuthi Tsela is a Senior Researcher at the Department of Communications, in the Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

Michael Sachs

DDG, Budget Office


National Treasury

Michael Sachs holds an MSc in Economics from the University of London (SOAS) and a MPA in International Development from Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Sachs is head of the Budget Office in the National Treasury. Prior to his appointment in 2013 he was Chief Director:

Fiscal Policy, responsible for advising the Minister of Finance on the fiscal policy framework underpinning the national budget. Between 2008 and 2009 he contributed to South Africa’s response to the global financial crisis through the G20 and other multilateral institutions as the National Treasury’s Chief Director for International Finance and Development.

Before joining National Treasury he spent ten years at the office of the Secretary-General of the African National Congress, coordinating the ANC's Economic Transformation Committee and leading the party’s research agenda, including public opinion research to support election campaigns. He has also held positions in the Gauteng provincial government, including the departments of health, local government and in the provincial legislature.

Neeshan Bolton

Executive Director


Ahmed Kathrada Foundation

Neeshan Bolton is the Executive Director of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation.

Prof Bhekie Mamba

Director, NWSRU


University of South Africa

Professor Bhekie Mamba is the Director of the Nanotechnology and Water Sustainability Research Unit, College of Science, Engineering and Technology, University of South Africa since September 2014.

He is responsible for the establishment and consolidation of all the research activities on water and nanotechnology within the Research Unit. Prof Mamba is a visionary and astounding leader and has occupied a number of leadership positions including being a Professor and Head at Department of Applied Chemistry at UJ, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science at UJ, Director of the DST/Mintek Nanotechnology Innovation Centre – Water Research Node and the Director of the Institute of Nanotechnology and Water Research at UJ.

Prof Mamba has published about 7 book chapters, over 200 journal papers, about 12 technical reports, and over 50 conference proceedings. He has supervised to completion over 60 Masters and doctoral students who are now either employed or running businesses in SA and other countries in Southern Africa. Besides his established international collaborative research network with other esteemed universities locally and abroad, Prof Mamba has presented his research work in several local and international conferences. He has reviewed journal articles for at least 20 international journals and has been an external examiner of MSc dissertations and PhD theses from various universities including Wits University, Tshwane University of Technology, University of the Free State, Royal Institute of Science and Technology (Sweden) (Main External Examiner), Rhodes University, University of Western Cape, University of Botswana and University of Stellenbosch. He has vast experience in the area of nanotechnology, polymer chemistry and water treatment technologies. His passion is towards creating sustainable solutions that would ensure that the water resources are maintained and preserved for future generations

Prof Chris Rogerson

Professor, Department of Geography and STH


University of Johannesburg

Prof Chris Rogerson is based at the Department of Geography and at the School of Tourism and Hospitality at the University of Johannesburg.

Prof Coleen Vogel

Professor, GCI


University of the Witwatersrand

Prof Coleen Vogel is based at the Global Change Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Prof Edgar Pieterse

Director, ACC


University of Cape Town

Edgar is an urban scholar, writer and creative agent whose interests include the theory and practice to make Southern cities more just, open and vibrant. He holds the DST/NRF South African Research Chair in Urban Policy at the University of Cape Town and is director of the African Centre for Cities.

Formerly a special policy advisor to the premier of the Western Cape, he is the author of City Futures: Confronting the Crisis of Urban Development (2008), and co-editor of: African Cities Reader III: Land, Property & Value (Chimurenga, 2015); Africa’s Urban Revolution (Zed, 2014) and Rogue Urbanism: Emergent African Cities (Jacana, 2013). Since 2010, Edgar is co-founder on the international magazine dedicated to emergent urbanisms in the global South called CityScapes. He is a member of the Research Advisory Committees of: the Gauteng City-region Observatory, Indian Institute for Human Settlements, and LSE Cities. He has recently been appointed as co-lead author of the Urban Chapter for the International Panel on Social Progress.

Prof Fethi Ahmed

Head, GAES


University of the Witwatersrand

Prof Fethi Ahmed is the Head of the School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand. His main research areas include environmental sciences, geographic information systems, remote sensing, and spatial/environmental modeling.

Prof Michael Muller

Professor, School of Governance


University of the Witwatersrand

Mike Muller is a visiting Adjunct Professor at the Witwatersrand University Graduate School of Governance where he has taught a “planning for development” elective and was a Commissioner of South Africa’s first National Planning Commission (2010-2015).

A registered Professional Civil Engineer, his current research interests include water and natural resource management and related regional integration issues on which he advises a wide range of public and private organisations. While Director General of South Africa’s Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (1997–2005), Mike led the development and implementation of new legislation and policies in water resources and services, including a new regulatory framework for water boards such as Rand Water, and directed South Africa’s involvement in the Lesotho Highlands Water Project which supplies Gauteng. He was an infrastructure specialist and policy director at the Development Bank of Southern Africa (1988-1994) and worked on water supply and sanitation programmes for the Mozambican Government from 1979–1988. He has also written extensively on health and development issues.

Prof Philip Harrison

Research Chair


University of the Witwatersrand

Prof. Philip Harrison is the South African Research Chair in Spatial Analysis and City Planning funded by the National Research Foundation and hosted by the University of the Witwatersrand.

He also served as a member of the National Planning Commission in the Office of the President in a non-executive and part-time role from 2010 to 2015. Previously, Prof. Harrison was Executive Director in Development Planning and Urban Management at the City of Johannesburg for 4 years from 2006 to 2010. Prior to that, he held a number of academic positions at the Universities of the Witwatersrand and Natal, including Professor and Chair of Urban and Regional Planning at Wits from 2001 to 2006. He has published widely internationally in the field of urban planning and urban development with his most recent publication a jointly edited book entitled Changing Space, Changing City: Johannesburg After Apartheid (Wits Press)

Prof Rex van Olst

Professor, School of Information Engineering


University of the Witwatersrand

Rex studied at Wits and at UNISA and graduated with an MSc (Information Engineering) and a Master of Business Leadership and has spent more than 25 years in the ICT industry including using information engineering for transportation challenges.

In 2006, he was appointed a member of the IT Advisory Panel to the Board of the Government’s State Information and Technology Agency. Rex was also the interim Executive Director of the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering from 2005 to 2007. He was acknowledged as the recipient of Computer Society of South Africa’s Distinguished Service in ICT award in 2011.

Rex joined the Wits School of Electrical and Information Engineering in 2002. In 2008 he was seconded to the National Department of Transportation to assist in the development of a National Transportation Master Plan. Rex remains an Associate Professor in the School of Electrical & Information Engineering and is still responsible for the School’s Centre of Excellence in Telecommunication Access and Services (CeTAS). He has authored and joint authored many papers on telecommunications engineering research.

Prof Seeraj Mohamed

Director, CSID


University of the Witwatersrand

Prof Seeraj Mohamed is an academic economist and writer with more than 20 years experience working on economic, industrial and finance development issues.

He has been active in research and formulation of economic policies for a democratic South Africa since democracy in 1994. He is Director of the Corporate Strategy and Industrial Development (CSID) research programme at Wits University. He is also a member of the executive committee of the Global Labour University (GLU) at Wits University and teaches a core course in the GLU Masters programme. He was appointed Special Advisor to the South African Minister of Trade and Industry in 2010. He also advises the South African Labour Movement on economic policy issues and was a member of the Economist Advisory Panel of Cosatu, the country’s largest trade union federation. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Development Fund of the Development Bank of Southern Africa. He is involved in a number of progressive international networks working on economic development and finance.

Prof Thea De Wet

Director, CCLA


University of Johannesburg

Prof Thea de Wet is the Director of the Centre for Culture and Language in Africa (CCLA).

Prof Wiliam Gumede

Associate Professor, School of Governance


University of the Witwatersrand

William Gumede is Associate Professor, School of Governance, University of the Witwatersrand. He is the Chairperson of the Democracy Works Foundation.

He was former Deputy Editor and Managing Editor, The Sowetan newspaper. He is the author of among other books, Restless Nation: Making Sense of Troubled Times (Tafelberg).

Rudi Dicks

Outcome Facilitator


Department of Performance Monitoring & Evaluation

Rudi Dicks has been in the trade union movement for most of his life. He held the position of Executive Director of the National Labour and Economic Development Institute (NALEDI) for four years, up until 2013.

He is now with the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency as an Outcome Facilitator for Employment and Inclusive Growth. He was a member of the Management Committee, Executive Council, Labour Market Chamber, Demarcation Committee and S77 Standing Committee at NEDLAC.

He currently serves on the Advisory committee of the Jobs Fund and the Employment, Income Distribution and Inclusive Growth Research Initiative.

Prior to this, he was the Labour Market/Trade Policy Co-ordinator at COSATU. He was a member of the board of trustees of the ComMark Trust, a DFID-funded programme. Rudi also worked for Fair Share, a unit of the School of Government, University of the Western Cape as the Research Co-ordinator. He was also the Industrial Chemicals National Sector Co-ordinator at CEPPWAWU.


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