Executive Committee

Executive Committee

SASVEPM Exco 2023/2025

President: Dr Mohamed Sirdar

Mohamed Sirdar is a veterinary epidemiologist currently working with the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH; founded as OIE), Sub-Regional Representation for Southern Africa based in Gaborone, Botswana. He coordinates antimicrobial resistance, foot-and-mouth disease, avian influenza and aquatic animal health projects within the Southern African region. Prior to joining WOAH, Mohamed worked at different institutions including the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa, University of Pretoria, International Society for Infectious Diseases and the National Cooperative Corporation of Sudan.

Mohamed is a member of the Global Foot-and-mouth Disease Working Group (The Global Framework for the Progressive Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases) representing WOAH in the committee together with members of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the European Commission for the Control of Foot-and-Mouth Disease.

Mohamed completed his PhD and MSc at the Epidemiology Section of the Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria in South Africa, is a graduate of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Khartoum in Sudan. He has published more than 40 research articles in peer reviewed journal and conference proceedings. His research outputs and interests are food safety, antimicrobial resistance and transboundary animal diseases with specific focus on foot-and-mouth disease.

Vice President: Prof Chris Marufu

Chris Marufu is an Associate Professor of Veterinary Parasitology in the Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria. He holds a PhD degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, an MSc degree from the University of Fort Hare and a Veterinary degree from the University of Zimbabwe. Chris has worked in academia and as a state veterinarian for 15 years in the Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform in Eastern Cape and Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, South Africa.

Secretary: Dr Oonagh Pretorius

Dr Oonagh Pretorius is a PhD candidate committed to the improvement of rural livelihoods in southern Africa through a One Health approach to disease control. In 2020, she completed her MSc degree in Tropical Animal Health through the University of Pretoria and the Institute for Tropical Medicine, Antwerp. She also holds BVSc and BSc in Veterinary Biology from the University of Pretoria. As a State Veterinarian, she previously spent six years providing animal health services to the impoverished communities of Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga in South Africa, where agronomic development is consistently constrained and threatened by controlled animal diseases. This experience inspired her to pursue a PhD in Epidemiology with the University of California, Davis so that in future she might contribute to the development of more Afro-centric disease control policies on the global stage. Her research interests include infectious and wildlife disease epidemiology and modelling, currently focusing on surveillance and control of African Swine Fever in South Africa.


Treasurer: Dr Itumeleng Matle

Dr Itumeleng Matle holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in Agriculture from the University of South Africa, an M-Tech in Environmental Health from the Central University of Technology, and a B-Tech degree in Veterinary Technology from Tshwane University of Technology. He is a Senior Researcher and Head of the Laboratory at the Agricultural Research Council: Onderstepoort Veterinary Research in South Africa. Itumeleng’s expertise lies in veterinary diagnostic services, including veterinary bacteriology, food microbiology, genomic epidemiology of foodborne bacterial pathogens, and laboratory administration. As an NRF Y-rated researcher, he has mentored numerous postgraduate students. Furthermore, he has dedicated over 5 years to teaching and learning at tertiary institutions and contributes as a reviewer, external examiner, and moderator for various universities.

Training and capacity building: Dr Wonderful Shumba

Wonderful is a Veterinary Epidemiologist who obtained a MSc degree in Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health from the Royal Veterinary College of the University of London. He is currently the Deputy Director responsible of Veterinary Epidemiology and Laboratory Services in the Northern Cape in South Africa since 2014. He spent 10 years as a Senor Veterinary Researcher at the Onderstepoort Veterinary Research where his research interests were Rabies, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy and Rift Valley Fever. Has been a Project Epidemiologist and Research Fellow for University of Florida SADC Heartwater Project and EU Funded Regional Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Control Programme for Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique respectively. Has co-authored over 10 peer-reviewed articles covering Ehrlichia Ruminantium, Trypanosomiasis, Ultrasonography and Rabies. He is passionate about Veterinary Diagnostics, disease modelling and risk assessment.


Communications officer: Dr Tandile Ndobeni

Dr Tandile Ndobeni currently works at the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development under the Veterinary Service Directorate rendering primary animal health services. She holds MSc and a BVSc from the University of Pretoria, BSc in Agriculture: Animal Production from the University of Fort Hare. Tandile has worked as a compulsory community service veterinarian for Department of Land Reform and Rural Development placed at Tsolo Agriculture and Rural Development Institute where she lectured and provided clinical services in the community, thereafter, joined Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform as a primary animal health and regulatory state veterinarian in Eastern Cape. In addition to her passion for clinical services, she lectures in institutions, is an external examiner and her special interest in research are in epidemiology and public health.