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.
  • Pontsho Maruping – Deputy Managing Director: Operations and Business Processes
    Pontsho Maruping is responsible for the management and operation of strategic assets, infrastructure and resources. These include Commercialisation, Operations, Computing Infrastructure, Finance and HR.
  • Dr Adrian Tiplady - Deputy Managing Director: Strategy and Partnerships
    Dr Adrian Tiplady is responsible for developing, driving and directing SARAO strategy and partnership programmes through key outwardly focused Divisions. These include Strategy, Communications, Construction Planning, Human Capital Development and the Africa Programme.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.