Who We Are

Executive Management

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) – Prof Sarah Mosoetsa

Prof. Mosoetsa was instrumental in establishing and setting up the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS) in 2013 and held the position of CEO at the Institute from 2014. Prof. Mosoetsa holds a Doctorate in Sociology from the University of the Witwatersrand. She is the author of several publications, including, amongst others, Eating from one pot: dynamics of survival in poor South African households (Wits Press) and co-editor of Labour in the Global South: challenges and alternatives for workers (ILO), and co-editor of Precarious Labor in Global Perspective (Cambridge University Press). She has worked for various organisations, including the Society, Work and Politics Institute (SWOP), and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA). Prof. Mosoetsa sits on various boards and committees, inter alia, the National Minimum Wage Commission, the University of Venda Council and the Advisory Board for the Southern Centre for Inequality Studies. Prof. Mosoetsa is passionate about the humanities and social sciences in South Africa, the continent, and the globe, and their contribution to societies grappling with challenges of poverty and inequalities, economic transformation, and redress.

Acting Deputy CEO (DCEO) for Research and Executive Head (CeSTII) – Dr Glenda Kruss van der Heever

Dr Glenda Kruss is the Executive Head of the Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (CeSTII) unit at the Human Sciences Research Council. She holds a Master’s degree at the University of Cape Town and obtained a DPhil from the University of Ulster in 1992.

Before joining the HSRC in June 2001, she was Associate Professor at the University of the Western Cape. Her areas of research interest include: higher education, innovation and development, exploring the issue of responsiveness to economic and social needs, and the contribution of the post-school sector to skills development strategies. She has collaborated widely on comparative projects with research teams in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe, and led large-scale projects for national government departments.

Kruss’s publication record spans the authoring and co-authoring of more than 40 conference presentations and 20 journal articles, as well as two books and a number of research monographs. Her most recent work, published in the Journal of Development Studies, investigated universities and knowledge-based development in sub-Saharan Africa.


Divisional Head (EEE)- Prof Sharlene Swartz

Professor Sharlene Swartz is the Divisional Executive in the Equitable Education and Economies (EEE) research division. She has been with the HSRC since 2008 and has held positions as the Executive Director in the Education and Skills Development programme and as a Research Director in the then Human and Social Development unit. A sociologist by training, she has been an adjunct Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Cape Town (2012-2019) and is currently an adjunct Professor in Philosophy at the University of Fort Hare, South Africa (2019 to date).

Her research focuses on what she has termed ‘navigational capacities’ for the just inclusion of youth in societies in the Global South. She researches and writes extensively on transformative education, reimagined inclusive economic development, and decolonising and emancipatory practices in research. Swartz holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge, UK, a Master’s degree in Education from Harvard University, US, and undergraduate degrees from the University of the Witwatersrand (Life Sciences) and the University of Zululand (Philosophy), both in South Africa. Her doctoral thesis, in the sociology of education, considered how young people who live in poverty, understand, represent and enact morality.

Swartz is the Principal Investigator of a longitudinal research study The Imprint of Education, funded by the Mastercard Foundation, that investigates the ways in which higher education impacts the lives of first generation students, and how they in turn affect their worlds. Previous studies included young fathers, race and education, the role of education on alleviating poverty, and peer education. Before embarking on her graduate studies, she spent 12 years at a youth NGO where she pioneered peer-led social justice and life skills education programmes. Swartz has authored six books, edited a further five, has completed nearly seventy journal articles and book chapters, produced fourteen research reports, an ethnographic documentary and presented more than one hundred and twenty local and international invited lectures and conference papers, including a number of keynote addresses.

Authored books include Studying while black: Race, education and emancipation in South African universities (2018, HSRC Press with Mahali, Moletsane et al); Moral eyes: Youth and justice in Cameroon, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and South Africa (2018, HSRC Press with Nyamnjoh et al); Another country: Everyday social restitution (2016, Best Red); Old enough to know: Consulting children about sex and AIDS education in Africa (2012, HSRC Press with McLaughlin et al); Ikasi: The moral ecology of South Africa?s township youth (2009, Palgrave Macmillan; 2010, Wits University Press); and Teenage tata: Voices of young fathers in South Africa (2009, HSRC Press with Bhana). Edited books include The Oxford Handbook of Global South Youth Studies (2020, Oxford University Press with Cooper, Batan and Kropff Causa); A history of the human sciences research council of South Africa (2020, HSRC Press with Soudien and Houston); Youth and the intergenerational transmission of poverty (2015, UCT Children’s Institute edited with DeLannoy et al); Youth citizenship and the politics of belonging (2013, Routledge with Arnot); and Moral education in sub-Saharan Africa: culture, economics, conflict and AIDS (2011, Routledge with Taylor).

Swartz is currently President (2018-2022) and an executive member of the International Sociological Association’s Sociology of Youth Research Committee, a past executive member of the Association for Moral Education, and is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Moral Education, Journal of Youth Studies, Youth and Globalisation and Autonomie Locali e Servizi Sociali. She has been involved in multiple civil society organisations, focusing on youth and justice, and has held positions on committees of the National Research Foundation, and has been a visiting fellow at the Faculty of Education and Centre for Development Studies at the University of Cambridge, and at the Centre for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University. She is a nationally rated researcher in South Africa.

Divisional Executive (DCES) – Prof Narnia Bohler-Muller

Professor Narnia Bohler-Muller is the Divisional Executive in the HSRC’s Developmental, Capable and Ethical State research division. She holds a Doctor of Laws (LLD) from the University of Pretoria and specialises in participatory democracy and social justice as well as gender equality and the fulfilment of socioeconomic rights.

Bohler-Muller was formerly a professor at Nelson Mandela University (then known as Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University) before she joined the Africa Institute of South Africa in 2011 as a research director. In 2012, she became the deputy executive director of the HSRC’s former Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery research division. Bohler-Muller was an adjunct professor of law, University of Fort Hare (2015-2020) and is currently a research associate with the Centre for Gender and Africa Studies, University of Free State. At the HSRC, she has led numerous large projects for the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, the Department of Monitoring, Planning and Evaluation in the Presidency, the European Union Commission in South Africa, and the UK Commonwealth and Foreign Office. Bohler-Muller has also led a collaboration with the University of Johannesburg on the COVID-19 democracy survey, with five rounds of the survey conducted from April 2020 to November 2021. Before joining the HSRC, Bohler-Muller spent sixteen years as an academic, during which time she taught numerous courses in law and legal philosophy, beginning her career at the Port Elizabeth campus of Vista University. During the past decade, she has mostly conducted research in the area of human rights and social justice within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as gender equality and socio-economic rights.

Bohler-Muller has published 49 scientific articles in local and international peer-reviewed academic journals, 6 books, 15 book chapters and 30 research reports. She has also presented more than 100 papers at local and international conferences, many of them as an invited keynote speaker. She is on the editorial board of one national and two international accredited journals, regularly conducts peer reviews for journals and writes book reviews. She is often called upon to assist with the National Research Foundation’s researcher ratings. Bohler-Muller has officially represented South Africa at international forums, including BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa economies), IBSA (India Brazil and South Africa dialogue), the W20 (Women20) and IORA (the Indian Ocean Rim Association). She has completed visiting research fellowships at Birkbeck University (London), Griffith University (Brisbane) and the BRICS Research Centre (Rio de Janeiro).

Acting Group Executive (IC) – Dr Lucky Ditaunyane

Dr. Lucky Ditaunyane (MA, MPhil, PhD) is a seasoned corporate communications specialist with more than three decades of experience in the private and public sectors. He has served in various organisations at middle and senior management levels. His journey into the realm of communications began in the dynamic landscape of basic education, where he honed his skills and rose through the ranks. His roles included serving as a Deputy Director, Chief Education Specialist, and ultimately, as the Director of Communications at a prominent national institution. In these pivotal roles, he masterfully shaped communication strategies that not only informed but also inspired stakeholders in the education sector. With a career dedicated to corporate communications and public relations, his expertise spans a diverse range of domains: diverse sector experience, strategic communication, science communication, crisis communication, media liaison, stakeholder relations, digital marketing, and corporate branding. Beyond his professional role, he serves on various advisory boards at institutions of higher learning. He is currently the Acting Group Executive: Impact Centre and Director of Communications and Engagements at the HSRC.

Divisional Executive (PHSB) – Prof Khangelani Zuma

Professor Khangelani Zuma is the Divisional Executive in the Public Health, Societies and Belonging (PHSB) research division and head of biostatistics at the Human Sciences Research Council based in Pretoria. Zuma has over 12 years of experience as a statistician. He has been involved in large scale surveys and clinical trials as a statistician focusing on conceptualisation, design and implementation of these studies.

His expertise and research interest span survey design, complex data analyses, linear and non-linear mixed models, hierarchical Bayesian models, (correlated) survival data analyses, epidemiology: modelling infectious diseases data, HIV incidence estimation and monitoring and evaluation of HIV intervention programmes.

Zuma has also taught statistics at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. His recent publications include authoring and co-authoring papers published in peer-reviewed journals in the areas of HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, migration and biostatistics. He has presented papers at both local and international conferences. He is currently the chair of the ministerial Health Data Advisory and Co-ordinating Committee and a member of the Statistics Council of Statistics South Africa.

Zuma is an Honorary Associate Professor of Biostatistics at the Wits University School of Public Health.

Executive Head (AISA) – Dr Sabelo Gumedze

Dr Sabelo Gumedze is the new Executive Head: AISA within the Africa Institute of South Africa. He has over 20 years of experience in research with a background in Legal Scholarship and Practice, Policy Development, International Human Rights Law, Human Security Research, Analysis, Training, Teaching, Supervising, Project Management and Implementation. Dr Gumedze holds a Doctor of Social Sciences (International Law), and a Licentiate (pre-doctoral degree) in Social Sciences (International Law) from Åbo Akademi University (Finland), respectively.

He further also holds a Master of Laws (LLM) degree in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa from the University of Pretoria (South Africa); a Bachelor of Laws (LLB), and Bachelor of Arts in Law (BA Law) degrees from the University of Swaziland, respectively. Before joining the HSRC in July 2024, Dr Gumedze was Head of Research and Development at the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSiRA) based in Pretoria, South Africa for 12 years. He also served as the Executive Head in charge of Training and Communication at PSiRA for a year. Dr Gumedze was a Senior Researcher of the Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding Division at the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria, South Africa for 7 years.

Dr Gumedze is an Adjunct Professor of Law at the Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa. He was a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Mandela Institute, Oliver Scheiner School of Law, University of the Witwatersrand. He was also a Fellow at the Institute for Human Rights and Development in The Gambia. He taught at the University of Swaziland, University of Limpopo, and University of the Witwatersrand. Dr Gumedze served as the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, and member of the United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, which is part of the Special Procedures of the United Nations Human Rights Council, based in Geneva, Switzerland. His research publications are mainly on International Human Rights Law, Peace and Security, and Privatization of Security.

Group Executive (Shared Services) – Ms Lulekwa Ngcwabe

Ms. Lulekwa Ngcwabe is the Group Executive of the Shared Services Division. She holds a Bachelor of Administration from the former University of Transkei, which is now Walter Sisulu University, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the prestigious Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), and a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration from the same institution.

She completed the Strategic HR Leadership Programme at Stellenbosch University Business School, the Programme in Business Leadership at the UNISA School of Business Leadership, and the Global Executive Development Programme at GIBS.

Ms. Ngcwabe has more than a decade of experience in senior management and joined the HSRC after serving as the Human Capital Executive at Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS).  Prior to that, she held the position of General Manager in charge of Corporate Services for the City of Johannesburg’s Metrobus. Prior to this, she held the position of Senior Executive Manager, Corporate Services, at the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA).  Ms Ngcwabe exhibited her leadership abilities at RTIA by assisting in the formation of the Human Resources Management Division. 

Ms Ngcwabe’s career trajectory is exemplary. She was appointed to senior positions in HR management at Eskom, the National Prosecuting Authority, the Eastern Cape Parks Board and the Eastern Cape Department of Sport, Arts, and Culture. 

Chief Financial Officer (CFO) – Ms Jacomien Rousseau, CA(SA)

Ms Jacomien Rousseau is a highly astute and qualified Chartered Accountant with extensive experience as an Executive Manager, Chief Financial Officer, Financial Manager, Auditor & Business Manager. She has a proven success record in steering projects and operations in line with set organisational objectives and goals. A management all-rounder, with versatile management skills coupled with excellent communication, interpersonal and leadership skills, her strong ability lies in leading and managing people and business units in challenging and diverse environments. Ms Rousseau holds a B.Com (Honours) in Accounting Science, a Certificate in Auditing, APT and is registered with SAICA as a Chartered Accountant.