August 2022

NWU produces research that matters

Welcome to the fifth edition of the North-West University's newsletter, Research@NWU. The aim of the newsletter is to showcase research projects, researchers and related events. This newsletter is one of seven, distributed to academic staff and researchers during the year.


We lead through research at the NWU

At the NWU research not only plays a pivotal role in the daily functioning, but it is also where the university helps to change the world.

Beyond the NWU's multitude of research centres of excellence, chairs, units, focus areas and niche areas, its hosted research entities and commercial research entities, the university also delivered 727 master's-degree students and 261 doctoral students in 2021.


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The cannabis conundrum: drawing legal lines

The Constitutional Court of South Africa legalised the cultivation and use of cannabis in 2018, provided that it is for private use by an adult in a private place. Adv Dineo Mongwaketsi looked at the legal impli-cations of the legalisation of cannabis for employers and employees. This study aimed to determine how the two competing interests – personal rights and employ-ers' rights – ought to be dealt with. It also examined when it is considered reasonable and justifiable to limit the right to use cannabis in your own private dwelling in so far as it overlaps with the workplace.


Study finds freshwater species at risk from human activities

From climate change and associated extreme weather events to pollutants, over-utilisation and invasive species, human activities are the main threats to freshwater species in South Africa's largest floodplain ecosystem. This is according to the NWU's Water Research Group (WRG), which for the past 10 years has been actively involved in studies relating to water preservation in the Pongola River and floodplain (PRF). The group's research has highlighted how freshwater species in the PRF are at risk from a number of anthropogenic threats.


Local energy solutions needed that are best for Africa

Local solutions to the energy crisis are needed in the SADC countries, says Dr Pamelah Cheuka, an economics specialist whose PhD thesis has shed light on the energy challenges of the region. Dr Cheuka's recent study on the impact of energy efficiency and renewable energy generation on productivity in the SADC has the potential to influence energy policymaking, especially in this era of climate change. She says this study was inspired by her interest in the interaction between climate change and economics in developing countries.



Optimise risk management investment through new methods

All public and private organisations must deal with the systemic risks of our complex world. However, such inherent complex risks are difficult to manage even where significant resources have been utilised in implementing formal risk management frameworks and related processes. It is therefore important for organisational leaders to actively explore new methods to enhance the contribution of risk management processes when they are trying to reach their objectives, says Prof Hermien Zaaiman.


Night-time solar cooking possible with thermal energy storage

With the aid of thermal energy storage systems it is possible to use solar cookers to prepare hot meals at night. Some systems perform better than others though, and there is room for improvement. This is according to Prof Ashmore Mawire of the Solar Thermal research group at the NWU. He recently gave a public lecture at which he presented past and recent research results of the group, including experimental setups and the results of different thermal energy storage (TES) systems for solar cookers.


Meet our researchers

The Faculty of Health Sciences is doing exciting work on the research front. We introduce two of the researchers in this faculty.


Prof Marlien Pieters is from the Centre of Excellence for Nutrition and is the director of the SAMRC's Extramural Unit for Hyperten-sion and Cardiovascular Disease Research. She talks about her current research, which contributes to the unit's aim of providing new clinical and epidemiological knowledge in the field of cardiovascular disease risk in different population groups.


Prof Ushotanefe Useh is the director of the Lifestyle research entity at the NWU. This entity focuses on research about lifestyle diseases and how individuals can combat these diseases. He explains more about lifestyle diseases such as strokes, obesity and type 2 diabetes.


More research news

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