Press release

Siyabuya appoints high-powered expert panel

The Siyabuya movement has appointed a high-powered advisory panel of experts who will help guide the development and rollout of campaigns to help South Africa recover from the economic devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The experts, all leaders in their field, will advise on issues ranging from job creation and public health to vaccinations, food security and economic growth.

“We have recruited some of the top brains in the country to assist us in our primary objectives of health and safety, job creation and economic recovery,” said Siyabuya! lead Melene Rossouw.

“Their input is going to be invaluable as we expand our network of organisations working to feed people, give them jobs, promote vaccinations and boost the recovery. The fact that unemployment levels have just reached yet another record high underlines the need for national action to put the country on a growth path,” she said.

“A high quality team is taking shape, and we may appoint additional expert advisers as the campaign progresses.”

The first five experts appointed to the Siyabuya! advisory panel are:

Andrew Boraine, the founder CEO of the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership (EDP) and a former city manager of the city of Cape Town. Andrew is adjunct professor with the African Centre for Cities (ACC) at the University of Cape Town and associate professor with the Centre for Complex Systems in Transition at Stellenbosch University. He is also a non-resident senior fellow with the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program in Washington, USA.

Professor Linda-Gail Bekker, director of the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre at the University of Cape Town’s Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, and chief research officer of the Desmond Tutu Health Foundation. She has led numerous investigator-driven studies in HIV treatment and prevention, and tuberculosis. She has recently been involved in a number of Covid-19 vaccine trials, and co-leads the Sisonke phase 3B study which has seen the vaccination of 500 000 healthcare workers in South Africa.

Professor Julian D May has been the Director of the NRF-DSI Centre of Excellence in Food Security at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa since 2014, and holds the UNESCO Chair in African Food Systems. Before this he was the South African Research Chair in Applied Poverty Reduction Assessment at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He has edited 7 books and published more than 90 academic papers on poverty and inequality. His current research focuses on food and nutrition security, childhood malnutrition and food systems in secondary cities and small towns

Dr Thami Mazwai is a former journalist and editor who has spent decades understanding and promoting small business. He has a D Com from the University of Pretoria in entrepreneurship and small business development and headed a small business task team for the National Planning Commission. He was jailed for his opposition to apartheid, including a term on Robben Island. He decided to devote his life to small business development “because that’s the only way in which you can really catapult people into a productive life and being part of the economy”.

Dr Chantell Witten, an academic with the University of the Free State, has more than 25 years’ experience as a dietitian and nutrition expert. She has served with UNICEF, the South African Medical Research Council, Helen Keller International/Bangladesh and various South African universities. Dr Witten was chairperson of the Child Health Priorities Association for 2020-2021 and the nutrition lead on the editorial team for Child Gauge 2020 which is focused on food and nutrition security for children in South Africa

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