Reference Number: RA/2020/003


SANBI is implementing the Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded Biodiversity and Land Use Project, which seeks to mitigate multiple threats to biodiversity by increasing the capabilities of authorities and land owners to regulate land use and manage biodiversity in threatened ecosystems at the municipal scale. Traditional medicine is widely used in South Africa; in both urban and rural communities. The harvesting and trading of medicinal plant species is having a significant impact on species being able to survive in the wild. SANBI is currently implementing a project to develop a management plan for 5 species of medicinal plants in Mpumalanga. This plan will seek to use the NEM: BA Biodiversity Management Plan for Species (BMP-S) to improve management of medicinal plant species in Mpumalanga.  A research assistant is required to assist the development of a medicinal plant management plan.

Requirements and experience:

  • Qualifications: MSc or PhD
  • Ability to speak: SiSwati
  • Willingness to conduct fieldwork
  • Willingness to conduct interviews with traditional healers and other relevant stakeholders
  • Self-organised and able to plan and implement work independently (noting that a vehicle will be available)
  • Accuracy and attention to detail without constant supervision.

Job description:

Identify all relevant stakeholders needed to be engaged in the development of the management plan for medicinal plants of Mpumalanga. These will include conservation authorities, ecologists, users of traditional medicine, those involved in the traditional medicine value chain (collectors, traders, healers, markets) and those interested in supporting rural livelihoods.

  1. Ensure as many relevant stakeholders as possible attend two management plan workshops.
  2. Organise logistics for the workshops including travel and accommodation, and also organise the agenda and speakers necessary.
  3. Co-facilitate the workshops ensuring that stakeholders identify needed actions, responsible implementation entities and timeframes for the following:
    • i) conservation efforts through community-based natural resource management and supporting local user rights,
    • ii) sustainable harvesting using alternative plant parts that are not detrimental to plant, where possible (e.g., leaves),
    • iii) cultivation of medicinal plants at a small and large-scale, and
    • iv) the development of medicinal plant business case that will benefit all the stakeholders involved in the medicinal plant value chain (e.g., growers to traders).
  4. Between the first and second workshop conduct one on one interviews with various stakeholders.
  5. Draft sections of the management plan to represent the inputs of the different stakeholders.

Information on position:

  1. Duration: flexible time; maximum of 1000 hours during a six-month period between January 2020 to late June 2020.
  2. Located in SANBI’s Pretoria National Botanical Garden in Pretoria.
  3. Office space, a computer and the required software will be provided by SANBI.
  4. Payment is according to the SANBI hourly rates for Research Assistants, which vary depending on the RA’s highest qualification. The hourly rate between R85.00-R95.00 per hour.
  5. Applicants must be registered on the SANBI Research Assistant Database on
  6. For more information, please contact Ms Alizwa Mbada on (021) 799 8409/8800.

Express interest in this Research Assistant position by emailing with a short letter of how you meet the above criteria. Attach all the relevant paperwork submitted as part of the Research Assistant Database registration.

SANBI reserves the right to not appoint this Research Assistant, as it is dependent on funding availability during 2020

Closes: Wednesday, 15 January 2020
Time: 12:00
Location: Pretoria

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