Meet the team

Meet the SARAO management team

  • Dr Rob Adam - SARAO Managing Director
    Dr Rob Adam was appointed the SARAO Managing Director from 1 January 2016. Prior to this, he was the Group Executive: Nuclear at the Aveng Group. Before that, he served as the CEO of the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) from 2006 to 2012, and as Director-General of Science and Technology from 1999 to 2006.
  • Dr Bernie Fanaroff - Special Advisor to the Director
    Dr Bernie Fanaroff is the former Director of SKA SA. He holds a BSc Hons in Physics from the University of the Witwatersrand and a PhD in Radio Astronomy from Cambridge University and honorary doctoral degrees from six South African universities. At Cambridge he was awarded an Isaac Newton Studentship by Trinity College. He is the first author of the Fanaroff-Riley (FR) classification of radio galaxies and quasars.
  • Professor Justin Jonas - Chief Technologist
    Professor Justin Jonas provides technical direction and oversight for all activities undertaken by SKA South Africa through constant interaction with scientists, engineers, technicians and programme managers within the SKA SA project office and at partner organizations. His broad areas of influence are radio telescopes and associated instruments built and/or supported by SKA SA, sites and infrastructure to support these telescopes and instruments, and the training of engineers and technicians to build and operate the telescopes and instruments. His current key direction and oversight responsibilities include the construction, testing, commissioning and operation of the MeerKAT radio telescope, the development of the Karoo radio observatory site to meet the requirements of the MeerKAT, SKA1-mid and various Guest Instruments, and the technical aspects of the African VLBI Network (AVN) programme. Professor Jonas will play a key role in the successful integration of the MeerKAT Precursor into SKA1-mid, and he is a member of the Science and Engineering Advisory Committee (SEAC) of the SKAO. He determines the priorities for technician training programmes and academic engineering research projects that are supported by the Human Capital Development Programme (HCDP), and evaluates the quality and impact of these programmes and projects. He also participates in initiatives to identify innovative technologies that enable new opportunities in radio astronomy and the commercial market.
  • Shawn Basson - Head: Finance
    Shawn Basson joined SKA SA in August 2012. He holds a and Honours degree as well as an MBA and Masters degree in Capital Development Finance. Shawn’s role is to ensure that all policies of the National Research Foundation (NRF) as well as that of the Department of Treasury are adhered to and implemented by all within the Finance and Supply Chain Management teams. Shawn was previously employed at Transnet.
  • Dr Fernando Camilo - Chief Scientist
    As Chief Scientist, Dr Fernando Camilo directs the SKA SA science program and the scientific program of MeerKAT as a world-leading facility in the pre-SKA era, and work with the user community to ensure the maximum scientific productivity of the MeerKAT large survey projects and open time.
  • Tracy Cheetham – Head: Construction Planning
    Tracy Cheetham is the Head of Construction Planning. She was responsible for the design and construction of the infrastructure and power for MeerKAT and guest instruments on site. Cheetham now manages the operations and maintenance of the infrastructure and power in the Karoo Radio Astronomy Observatory and its expansion plan. She also forms part of the INFRA SA Consortium which is responsible for the design of the SKA1_MID Infrastructure and power.
  • Kim de Boer – Head: Human Capital Development
    Kim de Boer is Head of the Human Capital Development Programme, which was established in 2005 to ensure sustained capacity in radio astronomy, and in the engineering and technical fields relevant to radio astronomy. To achieve this objective, more than 10 sub-programmes have been established under the HCD portfolio, including the Graduate Programme.
  • Willem Esterhuyse - Head: Engineering
    As Head of Engineering, Willem Esterhuyse is responsible for the successful deployment of the various phases of the MeerKAT project in terms of schedule, cost, quality and performance. As such, Esterhuyse has to provide leadership to the development teams for the development, design, construction, integration, testing and qualification the MeerKAT Telescope. He is also responsible for establishing the required processes to ensure successful delivery of the MeerKAT project, such as schedule and financial planning and monitoring, configuration management, scope, risk and logistics management. A significant part of his job is to establish, develop and manage the project team and from an operational side, establishing and developing a team that can support MeerKAT once the project is handed over to the operations team.
  • Dr Lindsay Magnus - Head: Operations
    Dr Lindsay Magnus brings together the Site Operations, Telescope Maintenance and Telescope Operator teams to deliver on their mission to support, operate and maintain radio astronomy and space geodesy related infrastructure to produce useable data while at the same time developing the personal and professional capability of the current and future operations division staff. The team also works closely with the SKAO and others to plan and prepare for the maintenance and operations of future systems that will be operated in the Karoo.
  • Pontsho Maruping – Head: Commercialisation
    Pontsho Maruping is responsible for creating an eco-system that supports the commercialisation and wider application of SKA technologies and capabilities. She strives to create an enabling mechanism for local industry participation in SKA SA.
  • Barney Msiza – Head: Human Resources
    Barney Msiza manages the SKA SA HR function through strategic support, advice and value-added HR business partnering. Furthermore he develops the HR plan and contributes according to strategies aligned to the SKA SA strategic direction. He further supports and ensures the implementation of strategies that relate to human resources and people management and development; and manages the acquisition and development of staff as well as assisting management with the proactive planning and identifying of future HR requirements for the organisation.
  • Carla Sharpe – Business Manager
    Carla Sharpe is the Business Manager and advises on, plans and implements strategic information and knowledge management solutions across SKA SA to facilitate business and operational efficiency, as well as compliance with internal and external policies and regulations. Information solutions ensure that the relevant and appropriate information is available to key internal and external stakeholders. The Business Manager is also responsible for ensuring the appropriate implementation of risk management and business continuity across the organisation, dealing with intellectual property as well as legal matters.
  • Dr Adrian Tiplady - Head: Strategy and Business Processes
    Dr Adrian Tiplady heads the team responsible for working with relevant government entities to ensure South Africa’s readiness to host the SKA, and participate in the development of international SKA policies and agreements towards the establishment of the intergovernmental SKA Observatory. The team is responsible for ensuring organisational efficiency within SKA SA business processes and information management, as well as responsibility for ensuring radio frequency protection of the SKA site, working together with the relevant external stakeholders.
  • Khulu Phasiwe - Head: Communications and Science Engagement
    Khulu Phasiwe joined SARAO on 1 October 2019 as the new Head of Communications and Science Engagement. Khulu has been a financial journalist at two of South Africa’s leading business newspapers. More recently, until April 2019, he held the position of National Spokesperson for Eskom. Khulu has altogether 17 years experience in the communications industry.
  • Jeremy Main - Computing Infrastructure Group Lead
    Jeremy Main joined SKA SA as Information Technology Manager in September 2012. He has a legacy role of supporting the IT team on technical issues that arise from time to time. Starting in June 2015 he joined the Science Processing Team in the role of developer to lead hardware specification and procurement to support the delivery of the MeerKAT Science Data Processing sub-system as well as manage MeerKAT network operations. Currently, he is the Computing Infrastructure Group Lead at SARAO with operational responsibility for Networks, Cybersecurity, Storage and Delivery, Computing and IT Services.