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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

Forensic investigation at UFS Computer Services division in final stage of finalisation
2007-02-01

Statement by prof Niel Viljoen, Chief Director: Operations  
 
The case in which possible irregularities were investigated at the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Computer Services Division at the end of 2005, and which led to two Deputy Directors’ compulsory leave pending an investigation, is making good progress and is in the final stage of finalisation.
 
One of the Deputy Directors resigned unconditionally a day before his disciplinary hearing was to take place. He is one of two staff members who were placed on compulsory leave after an internal investigation ordered by the UFS management indicated possible irregularities in the division.
 
“As a result of the extent of the case and the involvement of more than one local business, the investigation had a long course,” said Prof Viljoen.
 
“The Deputy Director who resigned would have appeared before a disciplinary committee with Judge Joos Hefer as chairperson on charges of misconduct, involving more than R500 000,” said Prof Viljoen.
 
“We are going ahead with the process of criminal prosecution against this person and a docket was opened at the commerce branch of the South African Police Services (SAPS).  A civil action to recover damages from him was started,” Prof Viljoen said.
 
With a couple of exceptions, the internal disciplinary process of the other persons involved in the case is also finalised. “The disciplinary hearing of the Deputy Director, who is still in the service of the UFS’s Computer Services division, is scheduled for May 2007. This person is still on compulsory leave,” Prof Viljoen said.
 
“To demonstrate our commitment to the enhancement of honest work ethics and to give to personnel and students a mechanism to bring any unethical business practices to the attention of the UFS management, a fraud hotline was installed last year. The hotline is operated 24 hours a day for 365 days of the year by KPMG,” Prof Viljoen said.
 
Prof Viljoen thanked everyone who was involved in the investigation for their cooperation. This includes staff as well as people from outside the UFS.  “We are committed to transparent corporate management. Any possible irregularities will be investigated and if staff or students are found guilty of any irregular behaviour, strict actions would be taken against these persons,” Prof Viljoen said.
 
Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel: (051) 401-2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl@mail.ufs.ac.za
2 February 2007
 

 

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