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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

First superannuation lecture delivered at the UFS
2009-11-18

Proff. Voet du Plessis (left) and Johan Henning, Dean of the Faculty of Law.
Photo: Stephen Collett


Prof. Voet du Plessis from the Department of Mercantile Law in the Faculty of Law at the University of the Free State (UFS) recently presented the first superannuation lecture at the UFS.

Prof. Du Plessis retired this year after 41 years at the UFS. This milestone event coincides with the faculty’s celebration of a century of excellence in legal education under the theme “Iurisprudentia 100”.

With his superannuation lecture Prof. du Plessis gave a view on the future of worker participation in enterprises. Thirty years ago during his inaugural lecture he discussed a similar topic: Worker participation in the management organs of a company.

According to him there is currently no worker participation in management organs in South African companies. The South African legislation does give extended abilities and protection for workers. In spite of this protection South African legislation falls short with regard to a possible say workers may have in or influence that workers may exercise over decisions taken in the workplace and which affect them as workers directly.

In terms of the right to information and consultation he gave the following suggestions to improve the current system of worker participation in decisions which affect them as workers:

“Serious attention must be given to the changes to the current Labour Relations Act, 1995 for the compulsory establishment of a workplace forum in each workplace with 50 or more workers, to oblige the employer to take the initiative with the establishment of a workplace forum; and to give to registered trade unions who are recognised in the workplace the sole right to nominate candidates for the workplace forum,” said Prof. du Plessis. He also proposed that attention be given to a Southern African Work Committee. An increase in world wide economic operations through multi national companies with head quarters abroad where decisions about the misfortunes of workers in the Southern African region are taken makes such a decision essential.
 

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