South African Chapter of the Indian Ocean Rim Association Academic Group


The South African Chapter of Indian Ocean Rim Association Academic Group

South Africa is a founding member of IORA.

SA's role in Academic, Science & Technology Cooperation within IORA

The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), of which SA is a founding member, was formally launched by a Ministerial Meeting in Mauritius in March 1997. The Association’s broad objective is to promote the sustained growth and balanced development of the Region and of the Member States, and to create common ground for Regional Economic Co-operation.

South Africa took over chairship of IORA at the 17th Council of Ministers Meeting held in Durban, South Africa in 2017 and passed the chairship to the United Arab Emirates in November 2019. During South Africa’s chair period South African representatives chaired various IORA structures, such as the Indian Ocean Rim Association Academic Group (IORAG).

South Africa is again chair of the IORAG for 2022-2023. 

Academic Group

The Indian Ocean Rim Academic Group (IORAG) was established in recognition of the important role of the academia in regional organizations. The role set out for the Academic Group is both advisory and catalytic. 

The Secretariat

The SA IORAG Secretariat is hosted by the NRF-SAEON Egagasini Node based in Cape Town

NOde Manager

Node Manager, Egagasini Node for Marine Offshore Systems.

PhD Physical Oceanography, UCT

Interests include ocean modelling. climate variability, SW Indian Ocean, SE Atlantic Ocean, Agulhas Current, offshore-coastal interactions, long term observations, as well as student supervision, lecturing and capacity building.

Prof Hermes is the current IORAG Regional Chair (2022-2023)

Science Officer

Nicole du Plessis obtained her Honours in Ocean and Atmospheric Science at the University of Cape Town. She started with the Groen Sebenza Programme in 2013 at WESSA. As part of the internship she worked as the project assistant at the Whale Coast Cetacean Project researching cetacean behaviour and habitat use in Gansbaai. She then continued her internship at the City of Cape Town’s Sport, Recreation and Amenities Department focusing on coastal management. As part of her duties she worked on the Blue Flag South Africa Programme, she was the secretariat of the Simon’s Town Penguin Advisory Committee and a mentor for the Youth Environmental Services Programme.
She is currently the Science Officer for the South African Marine Research and Exploration Forum (SAMREF) as well as the SA IORAG.

Ms du Plessis coordinates the activities of the SA IORAG. 


Mr KGame Molope is the Chair of the South Africa Indian Ocean Rim Academic Group ( 2022 – 2023). He is a lecturer and Programme Leader (Head of Department) in the School of Government Studies at the Mafikeng Campus of the North-West University. As a developing scholar in international relations, his area of interest and research is regional trade and investment facilitation. He served as Assistant Director: Regional Organisations at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation where his primary focus was the Indian Ocean Rim Association.

SA IORAG Vice-Chair

Professor Narnia Bohler-Muller is a divisional executive in the HSRC’s Developmental, Capable and Ethical State research division and acting Group Executive: Shared Services (since April 2021). She holds a Doctor of Laws (LLD) from the University of Pretoria and specialises in participatory democracy and social justice as well as gender equality and the fulfilment of socioeconomic rights.

Bohler-Muller was formerly a professor at Nelson Mandela University (then known as Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University) before she joined the Africa Institute of South Africa in 2011 as a research director. In 2012, she became the deputy executive director of the HSRC’s former Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery research division. Bohler-Muller was an adjunct professor of law, University of Fort Hare (2015-2020) and is currently a research associate with the Centre for Gender and Africa Studies, University of Free State. At the HSRC, she has led numerous large projects for the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, the Department of Monitoring, Planning and Evaluation in the Presidency, the European Union Commission in South Africa, and the UK Commonwealth and Foreign Office. Bohler-Muller has also led a collaboration with the University of Johannesburg on the COVID-19 democracy survey, with five rounds of the survey conducted from April 2020 to November 2021. Before joining the HSRC, Bohler-Muller spent sixteen years as an academic, during which time she taught numerous courses in law and legal philosophy, beginning her career at the Port Elizabeth campus of Vista University. During the past decade, she has mostly conducted research in the area of human rights and social justice within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as gender equality and socio-economic rights.

Bohler-Muller has published 49 scientific articles in local and international peer-reviewed academic journals, 6 books, 15 book chapters and 30 research reports. She has also presented more than 100 papers at local and international conferences, many of them as an invited keynote speaker. She is on the editorial board of one national and two international accredited journals, regularly conducts peer reviews for journals and writes book reviews. She is often called upon to assist with the National Research Foundation’s researcher ratings. Bohler-Muller has officially represented South Africa at international forums, including BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa economies), IBSA (India Brazil and South Africa dialogue), the W20 (Women20) and IORA (the Indian Ocean Rim Association. She has completed visiting research fellowships at Birkbeck University (London), Griffith University (Brisbane) and the BRICS Research Centre (Rio de Janeiro).

Funding Opportunities

The SA IORAG provides opportunity for small funding grants to undertake research in the IORA Priority Areas. 

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