The NRF has appointed Ms Pontsho Maruping as the new Managing Director of the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO). Currently the Deputy Managing Director of SARAO, Ms Maruping’s new appointment is effective from 1 October 2022 and she will be taking over from Dr Rob Adam, who has served in the position for seven years.
According to the NRF’s CEO, Dr Fulufhelo Nelwamondo, Ms Maruping brings to this position a wealth of leadership skills, strategic thinking, extensive stakeholder management experience and a passion for complex technology sectors, having worked for organisations such as the Technology Innovation Agency, Mine Health and Safety Council, the then Department of Science and Technology, De Beers Consolidated Mines, and currently as a board member of Mintek.
Until recently, Ms Maruping also chaired the South African Council for Space Affairs and the Scientific & Technical Committee of the UN’s Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.
“We congratulate Pontsho on this appointment and are confident that her experience and expertise will stand her in good stead to make a significant contribution to the NRF and its strategic objectives,” said Dr Nelwamondo.
Dr Adam, who will serve in an advisory capacity for a further year, said, “I worked with Pontsho on and off for many years, first in the Department of Science and Technology (now known as the Department of Science and Innovation) when I was Director-General, and she has always impressed me with her dedication and professional attitude to work. So I am very optimistic and look forward to ensuring a smooth handover as possible, in whatever way I can.”
SARAO is a facility of the NRF responsible for managing all radio astronomy initiatives and facilities in South Africa, including the MeerKAT Radio Telescope in the Karoo and the Geodesy and VLBI activities at the HartRAO facility in Hartebeeshoek, Gauteng. SARAO also coordinates the African Very Long Baseline Interferometry Network (AVN) for the eight SKA partner countries in Africa, as well as South Africa’s contribution to the infrastructure and engineering planning for the Square Kilometre Array Radio Telescope.
About the NRF
The National Research Foundation (NRF) is an independent statutory body established by the National Research Foundation Act. Its mandate is to support and promote research through funding, human resource development and the provision of the necessary research facilities to facilitate the creation of knowledge, innovation and development in all ﬁelds of science and technology, including indigenous knowledge; supporting and promoting public awareness of, and engagement with, science; and promoting the development and maintenance of the national science system and support of Government priorities, thereby contributing to the improvement of the quality of life of all South Africans.
Ayooluwa Adetola is a writer and editor at Space in Africa. She loves to share scientific information using the simplest words possible. When she’s not in front of a screen, she can be found with her nose buried in a book.