The Mandela School appoints new Academic Director

11 Feb 2020 - 11:45

The Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Shanil Haricharan, as the new Academic Director of the Mandela School, effective from 1 January 2020.

Dr Haricharan has a diverse professional work experience for over twenty five years in the public sector as a senior manager, advisor, coach and consultant in the fields of public policy, development planning, institutional transformation, management and leadership development, knowledge management and research.


The newly appointed Mandela School Academic Director, Dr Shanil Haricharan. Photo: Michael Hammond

Dr Haricharan started his career as a teacher, political activist and development worker, joining the democratic government in 1995 as a Director of Development Planning: Policy Development and Implementation in the Gauteng Provincial Government.

Subsequently, he has consulted to public sector institutions such as the South African Parliament and national, provincial and local government. He was a director and senior consultant at Palmer Development Group (PDG). From 2005 – 2018, he has served as a principal technical advisor in Governance and Administration at the Technical Assistance Unit (TAU) and the Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC), both agencies of the National Treasury.

Over the past four years, he has focused on early childhood development (ECD) policy implementation at provincial and local levels through government’s Programme to Support Pro-poor Policy Development (PSPPD) and  NGO, Ilifa Labantwana.

Dr Haricharan has actively promoted the use of research evidence in policy making and decision making within the public service through his advisory role at the University of Johannesburg’s Building Capacity to Use Research Evidence Programme (BCURE) and the Africa Centre for Evidence (ACE). He is currently a member of ACE’s advisory committee and a research associate. He has lectured at the University of Fort Hare on the Albertina Sisulu Executive Leadership for Public Health Managers (ASELPH). For the past five years and currently, he lectures on public leadership and organisational behaviour on the Masters programme at the Mandela School.


Academic Director, Dr Shanil Haricharan, Postgraduate Programme Manager Elvina Moosa, Mandela School Director, Professor Faizel Ismail, Programme Coordinator Zikhona Sikota, and Lecturer Musa Nxele. Photo: Michael Hammond

He received a BSc (Medical/Life Sciences) at the University of the Witwatersrand (1985), an Advanced University Diploma in Adult Education at the University of Natal (1995), a MBA at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business (2001), and a PhD at the School of Public Leadership, University of Stellenbosch (2015).

His doctoral research focused on emotional intelligence, public leadership and organisational culture. He also completed the Gestalt International Organisation and Human Systems Development Programme at the Gestalt International Study Centre, Cleaveland, USA.

It is also worthy to note that, during the 1980s and early 1990s, he served as a commander in the Ashley Kriel Detachment (AKD) of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK). He was an MK operative in the Transkei, Botswana, Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Dr Haricharan is also co-editor of Voices from the Underground (2019) which chronicles the life stories of eighteen AKD members.

On his appointment as Academic Director at the Mandela School, Dr Haricharan said:

“My role as Academic Director will be to give effect to VC Mamokgethi Phakeng’s vison of the Mandela School as a flagship centre for scholarship in public leadership and governance on the African continent that honours Mandela’s values of social justice, ethical and selfless leadership, public service and nation building. I look forward to working in partnership with government, private sector and civil society to offer relevant academic programmes to achieve these values.”

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