South African Population Research
Infrastructure Network


SAPRIN is governed by a Steering Committee which has oversight of the NRI budgets, spending and the focuses of the scientific work, as well as ensuring the quality and safety of research activities undertaken by SAPRIN.

Steering Committee

  • Chair: Prof Richard Gordon, SA MRC Executive Director – Grants, Innovation and Product Development
  • Nodal Directors:
    • Prof Steve Tollman. Director Agincourt  MRC/Wits Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit
    • Prof Marianne Alberts/Dr Eric Maimela. Director Dikgale HDSS, University of Limpopo
    • Prof Deenan Pillay, Director Africa Health Research Unit (AHRI)
  • University Deputy Vice-Chancellors Research:
    • University of Witwatersrand: Prof Zeblon Vilakazi.
    • University of Limpopo: Prof Jesika Singh
    • University of KwaZulu-Natal: Prof Deresh Ramjugernath
  • SAPRIN Management Hub
    • Director: Prof Mark Collinson
    • Deputy Director: Dr Kobus Herbst
  • Additional Members
    • Dr Cheikh Mbacké - International Union for the Scientific Study of Population.


SAPRIN is managed by a small management hub currently based at the SAMRC office at the University of Johannesburg. It will relocate to its permanent base at the organisation’s Pretoria regional offices early in 2018. The management staff complement is as follows:

Director - Prof Mark Collinson

Mark A. Collinson is Director of the DST/MRC South African Population Research Infrastructure Network (SAPRIN), which is a new national research infrastructure that will harmonise the core data from all three of South Africa’s Health and Demographic Surveillance Systems and develop new interconnected nodes in multiple urban settings. He was co-instrumental in establishing the MRC/Wits Agincourt Health and Demographic Surveillance System in rural Mpumalanga in 1992 and has led the INDEPTH Migration, Urbanisation and Health Working Group since 2003. He is principal investigator of a multi-country project called the Multi-centre Analysis of the Dynamics of Internal Migration and Health (MADIMAH). He is co-PI of a five-year NIH award called “Migration, Urbanisation and Health in Transition settings” which follows rural internal migrants to keep track of their health and economic outcomes. He is also co-PI of the Health and Aging in Africa: Longitudinal study of an INDEPTH (HAALSI) socioeconomic project (NIH PO1).

Deputy Director - Dr Kobus Herbst

Dr Kobus Herbst is a public health specialist. In the early 1990s, he contributed to the establishment of the post-apartheid health system through the development and implementation of ReHMIS (Regional Health Management Information System), the first computerised public health care facility inventory in South Africa. Kobus was the Deputy Director of the Africa Centre and led its demographic surveillance programme. He played a leading role in developing the INDEPTH Network’s Data Repository currently sharing data from 29 INDEPTH sites.