Product Theatre Programme

Date: Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Time: 11h40 -12h10

Presentation title: Registration and Regulation of Natural Scientists Practising in South Africa

Speaker: Dr Pradish Rampersadh / Dr Gerda Botha

Speaker’s affiliation: South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP)

Dr Gerda Botha (Pr.Sci.Nat.) Biography

Dr Botha is currently the President of the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP).  She holds a PhD in Process and Chemical Engineering (National University of Ireland), a MSc Agric (University of Pretoria) and a BSc Agric in Food Science (University of the Free State).

Dr Botha was employed as the Researcher-Business Area Leader in the Natural Products and Agro-processing Platform (Food and Nutrition Group) of Biosciences at the CSIR.  She was also a part time lecturer at the University of Pretoria and acted as examiner and moderator for student courses and projects.

Her experience at CSIR includes being a principal investigator and project coordinator for several local and international projects that required research and product development in areas on fruit, cereals, snack foods, nutrition and health supplements, indigenous food products as well as fish feeds.

Prior to her appointment at CSIR, she worked as a Food Scientist at a number of industry companies that manufactures food products. She has also served on councils, boards and committees at different institutions. She has won various prizes and awards related to her science and business activities. She has also published in peer reviewed journals and presented nationally and internationally.

 Dr Pradish Rampersadh Pr.Sci.Nat Biography

Dr Pradish Rampersadh joined the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions as its Chief Executive Officer on the 1st January 2016. SACNASP is the legislated regulatory body for natural science practitioners in South Africa. The natural sciences encompass a wide range of scientific fields covering all of the basic sciences and many of their applied derivatives. The key role of SACNASP is as a registration body for natural scientists and in so doing, provide protection to the public and the profession. As the CEO he is responsible for the operations and management of SACNASP and its activities. He brings with him a wealth of experience due to his diverse exposure to teaching, scientific research and management. Prior to joining SACNASP he was the Content Adviser to the Portfolio Committee on Energy in the National Assembly at the Parliament of South Africa. In this role he advised the Portfolio Committee on aspects related to its oversight role of the Department and entities involved in the Energy space in South Africa. The majority of his experience was however gained in the nuclear industry, ranging from research to regulatory management. Dr Rampersadh obtained his PhD in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Witwatersrand, and completed the Management Advancement Programme at the Wits Business School and the Technology Leadership Programme through Tshwane University of Technology. He currently represents SACNASP on various national platforms including voluntary associations.


 Registration and Regulation of Natural Scientists Practising in South Africa

The South African Council of the Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP) is a statutory Council established by an Act of Parliament – The Natural Scientific Professions Act, (Act No. 27 of 2003) as amended (hereby referred to as the NSP Act) and is the registration and regulation authority for natural science professionals in South Africa.

A ‘Practising natural scientist’ means a person who practises in the disciplines of the natural sciences in any of the fields of practice (outlined in Schedule 1 of the Act ) who is self-employed or employed by any company, organisation or by any sphere of government.. Employers or member of the public engaging the skills of professionals related to the natural scientific profession need to ensure these activities are only performed by a registered scientist. Currently, there are 25 fields of practice gazetted by the Minister of Science and Technology and they represent the fields that have a significant enough impact on the economy or safety of the public. This includes fields such as chemistry, physics, mathematics, biology, food sciences, zoology, and geology. Scientists are registered in fields of practice and are not allowed to do natural science work outside their registered fields of practice to ensure a high quality of work.

Registration at SACNASP sets a baseline for professional training, skills and competence required by the professional as determined and evaluated by their peers. It is a mark of excellence, ensures public confidence, international recognition, marketability and professionalism. Once registered, natural scientists are expected to remain relevant in their fields of practice by attending industry related events, training and reading relevant material throughout their careers as natural scientists. This is monitored via the Continuing Professional Development Programme. These activities will be regularly audited by SACNASP to ensure that the registered scientists, in their fields of practice, are still actively involved in the field and can hence maintain their registration as a professional natural scientists. It can be noted; that recently, the White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation highlighted the importance of continuing professional development (CPD) for the natural sciences.

Registered Scientists must also comply with a Code of Conduct. If a registered scientist is responsible for substandard work or has displayed behaviour not in compliance with the Code of Conduct, SACNASP can take appropriate action. As indicated, the key role of SACNASP is as a registration and regulation body for natural scientists and in so doing, provide protection to the public and the profession. By employing a Registered Scientist, industry benefits in terms of risk mitigation in that their scientists were evaluated by the statutory registration authority and are regulated by such.

The presentation from SACNASP will focus on professional registration and regulation, CPD and some of the latest activities of SACNASP.