Commissioner Profile

Professor Malegapuru William Makgoba

Professor Malegapuru William Makgoba is a leading South African molecular immunologist, physician, public health advocate, academic and former vice-chancellor of the University of KwaZulu-Natal and former President of the MRC (SA). He is former Vice-President for Planning and Review at ISC (formerly ICSU).

He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London; a Foreign Associate Member of the National Academy of Medicine (USA) and Fellow of Imperial College (London) Faculty of Medicine. The Academy of Science of South Africa awarded him the Science-for-Society Gold Medal (2002). He received The NRF President’s Life Time Achiever’s Award (2011) and The MRC President’s Award (2011), both highest honours.

He was recognised by eThekwini Municipality as a Living Legend; by the Academy of Science of South Africa as a Legend in Science and in 2013 ‘for his dedication and excellent contribution to the field of science and medicine, locally and internationally, and for his contribution to the building of democracy in South Africa. He is an outstanding academic and a pioneer in higher education transformation’, for which he was recognised by the President of the Republic of South Africa with the National Order of Mapungubwe in Silver.

His research contribution was recently (November 2019) Commended by the judges of the Maddox Prize as follows: ‘[The judges of the John Maddox Prize] wanted to draw attention to the extraordinary contribution made over the past year by Malegapuru William Makgoba, acclaimed for his challenge to AIDS denial in South Africa, went on to expose and improve the treatment of mentally ill patients in South Africa.’ The Commendation was accompanied by a Certificate from Sense about Science and Nature Magazine, for ‘Standing up for Science; for promoting sound science and evidence on a matter of public interest, with perseverance and courage’.

Sense about Science
Because evidence matters Professor Makgoba is a Principal Contributor to the recently published Oxford Textbook of Medicine (OMT) 6e, 10th March 2020. He is one of approximately 900 expert contributors to the textbook. ‘The Oxford Textbook of Medicine is regarded as the foremost international textbook of medicine. Unrivalled in its coverage of the scientific aspects and clinical practice of internal medicine and its subspecialties, it is a fixture in the offices and wards of physicians around the world, as well as being a key resource for medico-legal practitioners’. The OMT is ‘recognised around the world as the trusted and ultimate reference to the whole of medicine’ (Editors’ Note).

He is the Deputy Chair of the National Planning Commission and non-Executive Interim Chair of the Eskom SOC Board. He is the current South African Health Ombud.