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14 May 2019 | Story Thabo Kessah | Photo Tsepo Moeketsi
Prof Ashafa
Prof Ashafa’s research documents plants used by the Basotho in the management of different ailments.

The Phytomedicine and Phytopharmacology Research Programme (PPRP) in the Department of Plant Sciences on the Qwaqwa Campus researches the biological effects of medicinal plants used in the folkloric medicine of the Eastern Free State, particularly to explore the values and contribution of indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) towards broader scientific research. This is according to the programme’s principal investigator and researcher, NRF C2-rated researcher, Professor Anofi Ashafa. 

 “Our research is mainly aimed at documenting plants used by the Basotho in the management of different ailments and to further discover, isolate, and purify active phytoconstituents that are responsible for disease curation or amelioration, thereby assisting in the global promotion of accessible and affordable medication in developing countries,” said Prof Ashafa. 

Since 2012, the PPRP has worked extensively on Basotho medicinal plants (BMP) used as antimicrobials, antioxidants, antidiabetics, antitubercular, anticancer, anthelmintic, and antidiarrheal agents, starting from biological activities up to the  evaluation of the toxicity of these plants for the kidney, liver, and heart functions in order to establish safe dosage parameters. These activities have led to the discovery of four potent antidiabetic biomolecules that are awaiting the processes of patency and commercialisation. Additional outputs include 104 published peer-reviewed articles , 7 postdoctoral fellows, 6 PhDs, 9 master’s, and 16 honours graduates. 

“Our research informs teaching and the development of expertise in ethnobotany, 
phytomedicine, and phytopharmacology in order to contribute to the National Development Plan (NDP) through human capacity development, skills, and knowledge transfer.

The group is also investigating some medicinal plants on the endangered red list of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), through micropropagation and field trials as well as proposing conservation strategies to preserve these valuable species.

The PPRP consists of postdoctoral fellows, PhD, master’s, and honours students and research is done in collaboration with several local and international universities as well as the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa. 


News Archive

Politicians must push economic integration within SADC, Mboweni
2009-08-31

The outgoing Governor of the Reserve Bank, Mr Tito Mboweni (pictured), believes that for economic regional integration to be realized among the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries, the political leadership of the region should play a pivotal role.

Mr Mboweni delivered the CR Swart Memorial Lecture, the oldest lecture at the University of the Free State, on the topic: “Seeking greater political and economic integration in Southern Africa in challenging and turbulent financial times”.

He said the necessary macro-economic convergence accords must be put in place for regional integration to take place.

These accords, he said, should be supported by prudent fiscal policies, financial balances among SADC countries, and the implementation of policies which will minimize market distortions.

“In the crafting of the macro-economic policies of the region we have to ensure that market certainty is maintained,” he said.

He said as governors of central banks in the region they have agreed that to achieve these objectives they first have to attain a free trade area.

“When the proposals were drafted the idea was that in 2008 we should have achieved a free trade area,” he explained. “Now we are behind in that regard, meaning that a free trade area has been formally and officially declared but the implementation thereof is behind schedule.”

Mr Mboweni said they were supposed to have a SADC-wide customs union in 2010, a SADC common market in 2015 and a monetary union in 2016.

“In order for us to move towards the regional integration agenda it is clear that there has to be a far greater intra-African trade than is the case now,” he said.

“In Southern Africa most of the trade is with South Africa and the other countries do not trade much with or amongst each other.”

He also said because the South African currency is legal tender in countries like Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, they have developed a comprehensive set of proposals with these countries to deal with this matter.

“Our proposals basically center on the creation of a common central bank for South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland which, if created, would form a good basis for the establishment of a SADC-wide central bank.”

He said the macro-economic convergence criteria will not help achieve regional integration without the region’s political will.

“There has to be a commitment by the political leadership in Southern Africa to do the basic things that need to be done for the development of the region,” he said.

“That is where the notion of a developmental state must come in in support of these regional integration initiatives. There is no gain in just shouting developmental state if the basic issues supportive of development are not done.”

Mr Mboweni will leave the Reserve Bank in November this year.


Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt.stg@ufs.ac.za  
31 August 2009

 

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