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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

ANC is not a party of the people - Mbeki
2010-08-30

 

 

“The unions in this country do not understand the political economy of South Africa. They think that the ANC is the party of the people. The ANC is the party of the black middle class. The fact that the masses vote for it does not mean they control it. The policies of the ANC favour the black middle class and the established businesses. They do not favour the working class.”

This was said by renowned economic and political commentator Mr Moeletsi Mbeki, brother of former president Thabo Mbeki, during a guest lecture he recently presented to Economics students of the University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein.

“You just have to look at the types of houses that the ANC government builds for ordinary South Africans,” he said.

“If you had a party that was a pro-working class party it would not have built these so-called RDP houses that are being built by the ANC government. The unions have all along been under the illusion that the ANC is the government of the working class and (Zwelinzima) Vavi and them are now beginning to realise that this is not the case.

“The public-sector workers are in a special dilemma. They think the ANC is their ally but at the same time they feel they are not getting any benefits out of this alliance. Therefore you are beginning to get a very acrimonious environment emerging between the public-sector unions and the government.”

Regarding the current issue of the Protection of Information Bill and the proposed media tribunal that have brought the media and the government onto a collision course, Mbeki said the ANC government was trying to muzzle the media because it wanted to safeguard corruption within government.

“The question of freedom of information is very closely linked to the rise in corruption in the government,” he said.

“What the politicians are doing is that they are trying to hide that corruption. The media in this country have been playing a very critical role in exposing cases of corruption. That is why Vavi now has bodyguards.”

He said he recently met Vavi, the General Secretary of Cosatu, surrounded by four bodyguards. He said Vavi told him that he was getting death threats because he was opposing corruption in government.

Mbeki said the economic policies of South Africa were the “worst in the world” because they benefited people who were already rich and militated against the emergence of entrepreneurs.

“In fact, one of the serious downsides of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) is that it takes people who should normally be entrepreneurs and who should be creating new companies and new jobs, out of that space and just makes them wealthy. BEE has been a disaster because it created this massive economic inequality; it created this class of idle rich who have tons of money but do nothing,” he added.

He said the under-investment in the economy was having dire consequences in terms of unemployment and poverty. He said this, coupled with the growth of consumption that Black Nationalism was driving, was actually driving down the ability of the economy to absorb labour.

“What really lies at the bottom of our economic problems in South Africa is that we have too much of a one-party dominance of our political system. We need more competition in our political system and until we realise the policies of the ANC are not going to change,” he said.

Mbeki’s guest lecture was on the topic: Architects of Poverty: Why African capitalism needs changing.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison 
Tel:   051 401 2828
Cell:  078 460 3320
E-mail:  radebemt@ufs.ac.za  
30 August 2010

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