Nzimande announces retirement of longest-serving DSI Director, Dr Mjwara

In a recent announcement by Higher Education, Science, and Innovation Minister, Professor Blade Nzimande, the retirement of Dr. Phil Mjwara, the nation’s longest-serving Director-General of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), was made public.

Mjwara’s departure marks the end of an illustrious career as a senior public servant, spanning an impressive 18 years.

Minister Nzimande acknowledges key role in NSI development

Acknowledging Mjwara’s significant contributions, Minister Nzimande emphasised his pivotal role in shaping South Africa’s National System of Innovation (NSI).

“Dr. Mjwara played a leading role in establishing critical science institutions such as the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and the South African National Space Agency (SANSA),” Minister Nzimande stated.

Indeed, Mjwara’s influence extended beyond mere institutional development; he was instrumental in crafting groundbreaking policies like the White Paper on Science, Technology, and Innovation, paving the way for South Africa’s technological advancement.

Moreover, Mjwara’s leadership extended beyond his immediate purview. As the chairperson of the Forum of South African Directors-General (FOSAD), he adeptly navigated interdepartmental collaborations, ensuring synergies across various governmental initiatives.

Minister Nzimande hailed Mjwara’s departure as the conclusion of an era marked by visionary and ethical leadership, leaving an indelible mark on the country’s scientific landscape.

Before his retirement, Mjwara received the prestigious Presidential Award at the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) Merit Awards. His visionary leadership in promoting science both domestically and internationally earned him accolades.

With academic credentials from the University of the Witwatersrand and a distinguished career, including professorships at leading universities, Mjwara’s expertise enriched South Africa’s scientific landscape.

Mjwara’s achievements during his tenure


  • Establishment of critical science institutions like TIA and SANSA.
  • Crafting of groundbreaking policies such as the White Paper on Science, Technology, and Innovation.
  • Leadership in fostering interdepartmental collaborations through FOSAD.
  • Receipt of the prestigious Presidential Award for visionary leadership.
  • Formulation of the STI Decadal Plan, elevating STI to the presidential level and emphasising the importance of health research.


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