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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

Advocate Thuli Madonsela leads Law Symposium on corruption
2014-06-05

 

Advocate Thuli Madonsela speaking at the Law Symposium on corruption.

The Faculty of Law, Centre of Business Law held a symposium on corruption in the public sector. The symposium took place on 5 June 2014 in the CR Swart Auditorium on the Bloemfontein Campus.

In her keynote address, Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela highlighted the government’s efforts to curb the high rate of corruption prevalent in the South African public sector. She also pointed out the effect it has had on service delivery, especially in municipalities and key government departments.

This highly-anticipated event drew a large group consisting of members of the public, the judiciary, government, non-governmental organisations, as well as the business and academic sector.

Responding to questions from the floor, Adv Madonsela spoke of corruption as an on-going problem that should be tackled in a collective effort by government officials and the public alike. “Whistleblowers are our main hope in fighting corruption … The Protected Disclosures Act protects them … it is also management’s responsibility to protect whistleblowers,” she said.

The symposium featured several well-respected names, including:
• Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector;
• Honourable Justice I van der Merwe, Judge of the Free State High Court and Chairman of the Council of the UFS;
• Honourable Justice FDJ Brand, Judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal; and
• Prof JJ Henning, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Law.

Other high-ranking legal professionals from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the Free State High Court and the Institute of Security Studies attended the event.


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