The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa is one of the leading scientific and technology research, development and implementation organisations in Africa. It undertakes directed research and development for socio-economic growth.

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CSIR Executive

Dr Sibusiso Sibisi
Dr Sibisi took office as President of the CSIR on 1 January 2002. He previously held the position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) at the University of Cape Town (UCT).

Born in Mariannhill, KwaZulu-Natal, Sibisi completed a BSc (Hons) in physics at Imperial College, London and obtained a PhD from the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP), Cambridge University in 1983. Sibisi joined the Department of Computational and Applied Mathematics, University of the Witwatersrand in 1984 and was a Fulbright Fellow at the California Institute of Technology in 1988.

He returned to Cambridge in 1989 to assume a research position at DAMTP and in 1991, co-founded a research-based small enterprise at Cambridge. On his return to South Africa in 1997, Sibisi joined Plessey as Executive Director (Research & Development) before joining UCT.

He is a former chairman of South Africa’s National Advisory Council on Innovation.

Dr Sibisi was awarded the Order of Mapungubwe: Silver by President Thabo Mbeki in September 2007. National Orders are bestowed on South Africans who contribute to the betterment of the country in their respective fields and represent the highest award that a country, through its President, bestows on its citizens.

Sibisi serves on the boards of the Liberty Group and Mapungubwe Holdings (MISTRA).


Chris Sturdy
Chief Financial Officer
Chris Sturdy takes responsibility for the CSIR's financial functions, as well as legal services and the CSIR's Licensing and Ventures office. He qualified as a chartered accountant [CA(SA)] in 1998. Previous positions include that of audit manager at Deloitte in Pretoria. Sturdy joined the CSIR in 2002 as manager of finance and commercialisation at the CSIR unit concerned with materials science and manufacturing. In 2005, when the CSIR established a unit responsible for research relating to the built environment, Sturdy was required to also serve as that unit's financial manager. During his career at the CSIR, he has served as non-executive director or member of a number of Boards to represent CSIR interests. These include the Automotive Industrial Development Centre, a joint initiative with the Gauteng Provincial Government through Blue IQ, and Quotec, a technology transfer consultancy company registered in the United Kingdom.


Raynold Zondo
Group Executive: Shared Services
Raynold Zondo is accountable for Human Resources, Information & Communications Technology, Information Services, the CSIR International Convention Centre and the Management Services portfolio. Zondo holds an MSc (Project Management) from the University of Pretoria, MTech (Biotechnology) from Durban University of Technology and B Com (Law) from the University of South Africa. He joined the CSIR’s Manufacturing and Materials Technology unit in 2002 as Quality Assurance Manager and was appointed as Operations Support Manager in the same year. Zondo was appointed as Group Manager: Management Services in 2005 and became a member of the CSIR Executive Committee in 2007. Before joining the CSIR, he worked for Smith & Nephew Pharmaceuticals and BSN Medical as Regulatory Affairs Manager. He also worked at Bohme’ Africa as a Quality Assurance Chemist and R&D Chemist. Zondo is a previous chair of the South African Quality Institute Board.


Dr Molefi Motuku
Group Executive: R&D

Dr Molefi Motuku was appointed as CSIR Group Executive: R&D on 1 June 2012. He has over 17 years of experience in the research, development, leadership and management of science and technology; minerals and mining; and the advanced engineering environment.

Before joining the CSIR, Motuku was the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Metrology Institute of South Africa (NMISA). He managed the physical metallurgy (advanced materials) division at Mintek and was later appointed General Manager: R&D before joining NMISA in 2010. Prior to his time at Mintek, he was Director of the Fort Hare Institute of Technology (FHIT); and before that, Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Tuskegee University, US.

Motuku has worked with local and foreign governments at all levels. His familiarity with the National System of Innovation and industry; and experience in working with government, specifically the Department of Science and Technology (DST), are a perfect fit for his position at the CSIR.

Motuku’s selected past and present board memberships include:

  • DST/National Research Foundation (NRF) Centre of Excellence in Strong Materials, Witwatersrand University.
  • Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM).
  • South African Power Utility Research Advisory Board (SAPURAB), Eskom.
  • Technology and Human Resources for Industry Programme (THRIP), the dti
  • Fort Hare Institute of Technology (FHIT), University of Fort Hare.

He is the previous chairperson of the Mintek/DST Nanotechnology Innovation Centre at Mintek.

Motuku has a PhD and MSc degrees in Materials Engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), US; and has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals and proceedings. He has also presented significantly at local and international conferences and forums.

Dr Rachel Chikwamba
CSIR Group Executive: Strategic Alliances and Communication

Dr Rachel Chikwamba was appointed CSIR Group Executive: Strategic Alliances and Communication in October 2011. She manages the CSIR’s high-level partnerships and stakeholder interactions and associated communication.

Chikwamba joined the CSIR in December 2004 from Arizona State University, US, where she served as a postdoctoral research associate. She has served at various levels of science leadership and was a member of the CSIR Strategic Research Panel for two terms. Chikwamba also championed the development of the CSIR Health Research Impact Area strategy. Prior to her appointment, she was Chief Researcher and Competence Area Manager at CSIR Biosciences where she was instrumental in facilitating major global alliances, which resulted in the transfer of key technologies and skills to the CSIR, and continue to result in collaborative projects and programmes.

Her strong global networks also resulted in her role as CSIR principal investigator on several international research initiatives such as European Union Framework projects; the Gates Grand Challenge on nutritional fortification; NEPAD/Biofisa projects; as well as other large locally funded projects such as the GreenPharm initiative.

Chikwamba is a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), where she served on various committees. As an expert in her field, she has served as a reviewer for several funding agencies, including the US National Science Foundation. She holds a PhD in Genetics from Iowa State University, US, as well as a Master’s degree from the University of Queensland, Australia. She has published highly cited scientific papers in high impact scientific journals. Chikwamba was also an Honorary Research Fellow at St George’s Hospital at the University of London, and has taught postgraduate classes at the University of Pretoria.


Laurens Cloete
Group Executive: Operations

Laurens Cloete was appointed as CSIR Group Executive: Operations on 1 November 2014. In this role, he is responsible for strategy implementation across the CSIR. He joined the organisation in 1991 after participating in the CSIR bursary programme as a Design Engineer. As a researcher in the then division for microelectronics and communication technology, he was awarded two patents relating to radio frequency identification (RFID) systems.

Cloete was appointed as an Operations Manager for CSIR Meraka Institute in 2005. He played a key role in establishing the unit as a significant R&D player in ICT. In 2010, he was appointed as acting Executive Director of the CSIR Meraka Institute and was officially appointed in this position in December 2011. Under his leadership, this unit made significant contributions to the development and management of national strategies, and has made a significant contribution to CSIR's performance as an R&D organisation.

In 2013, he was appointed to the role of Interim Executive Director for CSIR Defence, Peace, Safety and Security unit. During this time, he ensured that there was continuity of operations and delivery on stakeholder expectations. He has implemented a number of initiatives to align the unit more closely with CSIR stakeholders' evolving requirements.

He obtained a Master’s degree in electronic engineering (microelectronics) from the University of Pretoria (UP) in 1993. He serves on a number of boards and advisory structures, including the National Broadband Advisory Council; the Board of mLab Southern Africa; and the UP Department of Computer Science advisory panel. He has been involved in a number of national strategic processes and, in particular, played a significant role in the development of the ICT RDI Roadmap (2013) of the Department of Science and Technology and the National Broadband Policy – South Africa Connect (2013) in the Department of Communications.


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