Politics professor joins top fraternity

30 Oct 2014 - 15:00

Pictured above(back row, centre) Professor Robert Mattes at the Academy of Science of South Africa's 2014 inauguration event

Professor Robert Mattes is one of 23 academics selected to join the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) in 2014. He received the membership award at an inauguration event held in Pretoria on 14 October. Mattes is Professor in the Department of Political Studies and Director of the Democracy in Africa Research Unit, at the University of Cape Town. 

The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) is dedicated to the advancement of science and scholarship in South Africa.  Its current membership includes 445 of South Arica’s top scholars, across a range of academic disciplines. Membership is based on an annual selection process and candidates must have made a significant contribution to the advancement of scientific enquiry, having been nominated by current ASSAf members. All members contribute time and expertise to the organization on a voluntary basis. Mattes is one three UCT academics to join this fraternity in 2014. Other UCT members include Professor Wim de Villiers (UCT Faculty of Health Science) and economist Professor Ivan Turok (UCT Honorary Professor and Executive Director at the Human Sciences Research Council).

“While I am personally honoured by the selection, of course, I think the more important fact was that several other political scientists and scholars from the social sciences were also admitted.  I think this is an important step toward bridging the gap between the natural and social sciences in South Africa,” said Mattes.

An affiliated organization, the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS) inaugurated ten additional members in October. Among them, Dr John Ataguba, a senior research officer in UCT’s Health Economics unit. SAYAS membership totals 50.