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Monday, November 30, 2020

A group of qualified and experienced facilitators are working together to be the leading service provider of quality training and best practice in the field of Clinical Research, Grants Management, Human Resource Management and Critical Skills. They draw upon their professional accomplishments and career experiences to deliver personalized learning and valuable insights.

You’ll find that many of our facilitators are published authors or popular speakers in their fields of expertise, and they come from a wide range of industries and sectors. They frequently serve as managers, coaches, human performance improvement professionals, and consultants.


Mary-Anne Bopape

Mary-Anne has a diploma in General Nursing and Midwifery, Certificate in Business Admin and Management (2010) and a B Tech in Pharmaceutical Sciences (2011). She worked in Theatre as a scrub sister and as a Schools Health Educator for many years before joining the pharmaceutical industry in 1997 as a Clinical Trials Assistant and working her way through to Senior Clinical Research Associate and Regulatory Affairs manager. 

Mary-Anne has built very good relationships with various Divisions of Medicine Control Council and Ethics Committees in South Africa and is very familiar with legislation governing the conduct of clinical trials locally. She has similar relationship with the Department of Agriculture and extensive knowledge of the requirements for import and export of Genetically Modified Organisms. She has also become involved in the Radiation Directorate of the Department of Health and their requirements for intended clinical trials utilising electro-medical products or devices. Mary-Anne has assisted investigators and sites in other African countries with application submissions, thereby gaining insight into the regulatory authorities and requirement of those countries. Her wide experience in the industry is apparent in her calm, confident manner with which she facilitates the Good Clinical Practice courses on behalf of WHC. Her passion for the care of participants and particularly for the understanding of those new to the industry and the non-clinical personnel is greatly valued.

Specialises in Clinical Research


Thoko Mupawose

Following a BSc Hon in Chemistry & Pharmacology from St Andrews University (UK), Thoko obtained a Masters in Public Health Degree. She has attended numerous courses and sat on committees relating to the clinical research industry. Her career began in the Pharmaceutical industry as a medical representative and she simultaneously lectured in Epidemiology. Thoko progressed through many positions from Clinical Research Associate (CRA), Country Lead Snr CRA to Medical Affairs and Compliance Manager. She is a freelance clinical research consultant managing all stages of clinical research studies within the sub-Saharan Africa region and has included GCP facilitation in her busy schedule since 2015. Thoko has a sunny disposition and is an eloquent speaker who encourages interaction from diverse audiences.

Specialises in Clinical Research


Wilma Pelser

Wilma started her career in nursing, having obtained B Soc Sc Hons, BA Cur Degrees and is currently completing her Masters in Public Health.  Besides attending many other course including Human Subject Protection (NIH), and an Epidemiology workshop at the Johns Hopkins University she also tutored for some time. Her career in research started in 1999 at the Perinatal Health Research Unit, based at Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital, first as a study coordinator and working her way up to Project Manager and Site Liaison Manager. In 2013 Wilma branched out as a consultant, mentoring Research sites. 

In 2014 she approached the Wits Health Consortium (WHC) with the Study Coordinator course that she had prepared and currently offers. This was followed by accepting the invitation to facilitate GCP Courses on behalf of the WHC. Her wealth of experience at research sites as well as experience with different sponsors and different study designs is a valuable asset. Wilma has a colourful personality and is most amenable and helpful especially to those who are starting in Clinical Research.

Specialises in Clinical Research

Christine Grobler

Christine Grobler is a Human Resources Practitioner with extensive experience in all aspects of Human Resources and holds a Masters Degree in Labour Law and Employment Relations.  She started her career in the Public Service in 1985.  After her ten-year career there, she joined the Public Servants Association where she obtained invaluable exposure to the world of organised labour.  She was then offered an opportunity in the private sector and joined the retail industry for a period of ten years. During this time she has gained significant experience in the field of industrial relations, including being the chief negotiator on behalf of the employer for two big furniture retail groups.  She joined Wits Health Consortium in 2009 and is in her capacity as Human Resources Executive responsible for the full spectrum of Human Resources practices in the organisation.

Specialises in Human Resource Management

Lesley Burgess (Professor)

Professor Lesley Burgess MBChB, MMed, PG Dip (International Research Ethics), PhD, MSc ( Clinical Research) has been involved in clinical trials since 1992.To date, she has more than 85 publication to her credit, in addition to being the author of 3 chapters in internationally recognized textbooks for clinical research. She spent a number of years sitting on the Stellenbosch University Health Research Ethics Committee and is currently a reviewer of the Clinical Trials Committee of the Medicines Control Council. At present, she is the managing partner of TREAD Research CC, a large cardiovascular research unit, as well as a number of other units in Cape Town and JHB. Since 2007, she has been assisting Wits Health Consortium establish a clinical research training academy and has developed a number of courses to date, including GCP and quality assurance courses, that she runs all over South Africa. She was appointed onto the executive committee for the accreditation of GCP courses in South Africa and also served on the executive committee of SACRA for 3 years. Her objective is to improve the practice of clinical trials in South Africa by achieving international accreditation for research sites and developing study coordinator and site management courses. She is also involved in creating campaigns focused on educating the general public about clinical trials.

Specialises in Clinical Research


Linda Van Rensburg

Linda Van Rensburg is a training and development specialist with extensive experience in the corporate world, both as facilitator and manager. She started her career in financial services in 1988 and as her career progressed she chose to specialise in training and development. She holds a Honours Degree in Industrial Psychology and completed an Education, Training and Development Practitioner (ETDP) qualification as well. She is passionate about training and people development, specifically focused on critical skills required in the workplace. She currently holds the position of General Manager: Training at Wits Health Consortium.

Specialises in Skills

Sandy Naidoo

Sandy Naidoo is an accountant with over 10 years’ experience in Grant Management. She started her career as a production accountant in the Television and Film industry, but has found her niche in grant and fund management when she was employed as a finance manager at CWCI (The Conferences, Workshops and Cultural Initiative (CWCI) fund, a joint initiative of the South African National Treasury’s International Development Cooperation Chief Directorate and European Union in South Africa. She has provided technical assistance in financial and grant management to the Sexual Offences and Community Affairs (SOCA) Unit of the South African National Prosecuting Authority on their Human Trafficking Programme funded by the European Union in South Africa and to the South African Presidency on their Programme to Support Pro-poor Development in SA; a programme funded by the European Union of South Africa. She has managed grants from donors such as NIH, USAID, EU, Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, MRC etc. Currently she is the General Manager – Grants at Wits Health Consortium and has been with the company for over five years.

Specialises in Grants Management

Vanessa du Preez

Vanessa du Preez started with WHC in 1998 and she currently holds the position of General Manager Regulatory and Compliance, which includes overseeing Internal Audit, the Contracts and CPD and the Ethics Departments. Vanessa has built up professional relationships with many research investigators from large and small research units sand divisions over the years, and is regularly called upon for advice. In terms of her grants compliance expertise, she has been fortunate enough to attend various USAID, NIH and EU courses locally and internationally and she is an expert on all rules and regulations that must be complied with for grants awarded by these donor organisations. She regularly goes out to sites for mini audits and to pro-actively advise and train them on the complex rules and regulations around the management of their grants.

Specialises in Grants Management