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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

UFS works closely with employees in the post-Reitz settlement process
2013-05-20

20 May 2013

In the light of an article in IOL News on 18 and 19 May 2013 and in Sunday Independent and Sunday Tribune on 19 May 2013 in which it is alleged that the University of the Free State (UFS) has failed to honour its commitment to the five Reitz employees we are pleased to report on the ongoing process and progress made with respect to their employment.

The university remained consistently true to the settlement agreement and High Court order of 2011 and cannot apologise for complying with the law. It was therefore impossible for us to talk to our colleagues directly until last week when we had a breakthrough meeting, which was cleared by the Human Rights Commission (HRC), and matters were resolved.

The UFS continues to work closely and now directly with the five employees to ensure that their rights as employees remain the highest priority in the post-settlement process.
 
All but one of the conditions of the Reitz settlement (own business) has already been met; however, we are in the process of providing training and support for the establishment of an independent business led by the employees.

After some delays, and frustration on all sides, we have found the right training provider for them and are satisfied that the process remains on track. The business office (furnished) has been allocated at the South Campus in Bloemfontein.

Already in late 2012 the Chair of the HRC expressed his satisfaction with the commitments made by the university to the process. By 30 June 2013 this outstanding commitment to establish an independent company with trained employees would also have been met in full.

Beyond the settlement agreement, the UFS has also committed to providing free education and training to the children of the employees so that their next generation of families emerge as strong, independent, well-trained and productive members of society. The child of one of the colleagues is in fact finishing Grade 12 this year and we are in discussion about possible studies at the UFS. This is our pledge and commitment as a university.

This final step in the post-Reitz settlement is being led by Dr Choice Makhetha, Vice-Rector of the University of the Free State.

 

Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director Strategic Communication
Tel: +27 (0) 51 401 2584 / +27 (0) 83 645 2454
E-mail: news@ufs.ac.za
Fax: +27 (0) 51 444 6393
Web: www.ufs.ac.za

 

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