Introduction

The Association was formally established in May 2017. The overarching aim of REASA is to bring together Southern African RECs in order to promote ethical research though the exchange of ideas, knowledge and experience in the area of research ethics. REASA is registered as a Non Profit Organisation (NPO) called REASA FOUNDATION (Number: 231-458). We welcome members across Africa. The Association is not affiliated to any tertiary academic institution. Most of its members are academics or professional practitioners who are involved in research ethics governance. The Fogarty International Centre of the United States National Health Institutes provided seed funding to start off REASA’s activities.

Introducing the Executive Committee of REASA

REASA is served by an Executive Committee which consists of REASA members that have been elected by their fellow members. This group of committed and enthusiastic individuals are driven by the overriding need to merge the isolated spaces in which individual RECs across Southern Africa currently operate. The committee members work in different Work Groups that are convened by team leaders.

DOWNLOAD OUR BROCHURE
Dr Chesa Gift Chauke
Dr Chesa Gift ChaukeChairperson

REASA’s newly elected Chairperson, Dr Chesa Gift Chauke, is the Unit Director of the SAMRC Animal Research Facility (PUDAC) since 2015. She holds a PhD in Molecular biology and continued to refine her professional knowledge by completing a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree with Stellenbosch University Business School in 2018. With her expertise in the genetic/molecular field of medical primatology, Dr. Chauke has locally pioneered the establishment of the primate genomics research, an activity that is an essential part of laboratory animal science in many countries. Her research interest involves defining and validating primate models used for biomedical research; and has made a key contribution in generating new knowledge in this field. Her other interest lies in the development of pre‑clinical drug and vaccine pipeline to support indigenous knowledge based‑research, and currently, she participates in the DSI’s IK-based Bio-innovation Programme as well as the SA mRNA Research consortium spearheaded by WHO. In addition to research, Dr. Chauke is actively involved in the ethical aspect of animal use in medical and vaccine research. She was appointed as a member of the SAMRC Ethics Committee for Research on Animals (ECRA) in 2010 and became the vice chairperson of ECRA in 2019. She joined REASA in 2022 and served on the REASA ExCo in the Education and Training Working Group. Her other health research ethics portfolio includes her appointment by the Minister of Health as a council member on the National Health Research Ethics Council (NHREC) of the Department of Health.

Dr Jo-Anne Botha
Dr Jo-Anne Botha

Dr Jo-Anne Botha, who will be in the position of secretariat for REASA, is a senior lecturer in the Department of Human Resource Management at UNISA, specialising in the tuition of human resource development subjects. She has 15 years of experience as an academic and an additional 18 years of experience as a learning and development practitioner in the private and civil service sector. Her field of research is adult learning in the 21st century, specifically focusing on adult learner self-directedness and the application of adult learning principles in learning materials design and delivery of learning programmes. Since becoming a researcher, the ethics of research has become a field of interest, and this is the reason why she applied for the post of secretary.

Prof Lourens Erasmus
Prof Lourens Erasmus

Prof Lourens Erasmus holds a Doctorate degree in Cost and Management Accounting and is based in the Department of Financial Governance at the UNISA College of Accounting Sciences. His fields of academic interest are in public sector financial governance and internal auditing. He is a rated researcher by the South African National Research Foundation. From 1 April 2019 he was appointed by the President of South Africa, to serve as a Commissioner on the Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC), for a period of five years. The FFC conducts research and advises Parliament, Provincial Legislatures, and other stakeholders on amongst others, the annual division of revenue between the spheres of government. Lourens is an affiliate member of the Chartered Institute of Government Finance, Audit and Risk Officers, chairperson of the Education Committee of the Southern African Institute of Government Auditors and chairperson of the UNISA College of Accounting Sciences Research Ethics Review Committee. Lourens is also Editor-in-chief of the Department of Higher Education accredited research journal, the Southern African Journal of Accountability and Auditing Research. He is an Associate Editor of the Scopus listed, South African Journal of Accounting Research, project leader of the Research on Audit Committees South Africa (RACSA) group as well as the founding member and project leader of the Continuous Auditing in Public Sector Internal Auditing (CAPIA) group in collaboration with Kyrgyz-Turkish Manas University in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Eleni Flack-Davison
Eleni Flack-Davison

Eleni Flack-Davison is the new leader of the Marketing and Communication Working Group of REASA. She is an Admitted attorney of the High Court of the Republic of South Africa, Non-Practicing, Legal Adviser and Research Compliance Manager, Head: Office of Integrity and Research Data Protection Officer at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (Wits University). As the legal adviser for the Research Office: Legal Services, she provides legal services and legal advice to the Senior Management of the University as well as to academics / researchers, which enables research and innovation through research contracts as well as the management and operation of the Research Office: Legal Services. Eleni is the Research Compliance Manager and Head: Office of Research Integrity. She encourages high quality research integrity as well as ethics in the sphere of research. This includes, but is not limited to supervision, management, and oversight of the University Research Ethics Committees and management of the Ethics administrative personnel. Wits has 5 University Research Ethics Committees that deal with Non-Medical, Medical, Animal Ethics Screening and Control, Biobanks, Clinical Drug Trials, and Institutional Biosafety.

Dr Philani Nongogo
Dr Philani Nongogo

Dr Philani Nongogo, is continuing as a member on the Marketing and Communication Working Group of REASA. He is a Sport Scientist and holds a doctoral degree in Human Movement Science. He is currently a Senior Lecturer of Sports Studies at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT, Pretoria West Campus). As a senior academic within the Department of Sport, Rehabilitation & Dental Sciences of the Faculty of Science, he has served in various research capacities and activities within the Department and the Faculty, including being a member of the Departmental Research Committee (DRIC – 2005 to date); Departmental representative in the Faculty Committee for Research and Innovation (FCRI -2008 to date); and in 2017, following the completion of several Ethics training programmes, he was invited by the Faculty of Science’s Committee for Research Ethics and Innovation (2017 to 2019), he is currently the second Departmental representative to the Faculty Committee for Research Ethics and also tasked with the responsibility to handle research ethics matters within the department. He is a full member of REASA since 2017. He completed several research training programmes at TUT, and this culminated in the completion of the “Ethics Educator Course”, in 2017, which is offered jointly by the University of South Africa’s (UNISA) Directorate: Research Support and HIV, Social Diversity and Inclusion Curriculum Integration Project. Dr Nongogo is regularly invited as the sole Tshwane University of Technology staff member, to participate in the facilitation of the “Ethics Educator’s Course”.

Dr Marietjie Botes
Dr Marietjie Botes

Dr Marietjie Botes has transitioned from a 20 year career as a practicing attorney in health law and biotechnology to academia focusing on interdisciplinary research in the intersection between science, technology, law, and ethics. She holds the degrees of BProc, LLB, LLM (Intellectual Property Law) and a PhD (Biotechnology Law). Her research interests include the regulation and ethics involved in advanced medical products such as gene therapies, gene and stem cell research, the use of big (geospatial) data in the context of health emergencies and pandemics, Digital Health technologies – in particular with regards to implanted devices such as Brain Computer Interfaces and their impact on fundamental rights, including online behavioural manipulation and how it shapes debates around digital ethics and its push towards digital constitutionalism. She is currently employed as Project Coordinator of the Research for Ethical Data Science in sub Sharan Africa (REDSSA) project at the Stellenbosch University where she focuses on ELSI in data science research. She is a new member of the Marketing and Communication Working Group of REASA.

Prof Carolina Henn
Prof Carolina Henn

Prof Carolina Henn is a registered Counselling Psychologist since 1996 and is a senior lecturer in the Department of Industrial Psychology and People Manage-ment in the College of Business and Econom-ics, at the University of Johannesburg. In 2006, she obtained her PhD in Psychology from the University of the Free State. After having a private practice for a few years, she joined the University of Johannesburg in 2008. Since doing her master’s dissertation on dealing with confidential information in different professions, she has been interested in ethics in social sciences. Since 2009 she served on the then Faculty of Management’s ethics committee which dealt with research ethics and academic dishonesty such as plagiarism. In 2018 she was elected chairperson of the newly established College of Business and Economics’ Research Ethics Committee, and as such led the design and implementation of a new and more rigorous ethical clearance process. Carolina is married and has three children, and her family is always her priority. She moves from leader of the Education and Training Working Group to a member of the Marketing and Communication Working Group.

Dr Adetayo Emmanuel Obasa
Dr Adetayo Emmanuel Obasa

Dr Adetayo Emmanuel Obasa is the Head of the Registrar Research Support Office at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department for Research and Internationalisation Development and Support (RIDS) at Stellenbosch University. Dr. Obasa holds both MSc and PhD degrees in Medical Virology and possesses extensive expertise in areas such as HIV-1 diversity, molecular modelling, and drug resistance research. He has furthered his education by completing a postgraduate diploma in Applied Ethics and a Master of Philosophy in Applied Ethics (Bioethics). Dr. Obasa has authored more than 20 peer-reviewed articles spanning the domains of virology and ethics. Furthermore, Dr. Obasa plays an active role as a member of the Health Research Ethics Committee (HREC) in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University. He also serves as an external examiner for the University of KwaZulu Natal and the University of Western Cape.

Ex-Officio Members of REASA

Prof Minrie Greeff
Prof Minrie Greeff

Prof Minrie Greeff, our previous chairperson of REASA and one of the three present ex officio members is the research integrity officer and advisor in the office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and innovation at the North-West University (NWU). Since her retirement in 2020 she has developed an integrated research integrity management system (IRIMS) and rolled this out to the whole of the NWU. She was the former Head of the Faculty of Health Sciences Ethics Office at the North-West University from 2015 – 2019 managing both human and animal research. She has served on many RECs. She is also Emeritus Professor in research in the Africa Unit for Transdisciplinary Health Research (AUTHeR) where she was a researcher since 2008 – 2014. She was the former director of the School of Nursing for 11 years. She has spent a lot of her energy establishing qualitative research in Nursing as well as in other health disciplines. Her focus has over the past years shifted to addressing HIV stigma interventions in health care settings and the community, using a transdisciplinary health research approach. Over the past years she has added health research ethics to her portfolio since qualifying as a research ethicist in 2014 at the university of Stellenbosch which also led to her appointment as councillor on the National Health Research Ethics Council in 2017 as well as for a second term. Prof Greeff has received numerous awards: the induction into the Researcher’s Hall of Fame of the Forum of University Deans in South Africa (2011); and the most prestigious induction into the International Nurse Researcher’s Hall of Fame of Sigma Theta Tau International on the 2nd of August 2012 in Australia. In 2014, she received the SA Academy of Science and Arts’ Stals prize for Nursing. She is an inducted member of ASSAf and was a NRF rated researcher for many years.