Rhodes>ISER>People >Staff >Prof Cyril Nhlanhla Mbatha, BA (Hons) Rhodes, MA(Rhodes), PhD (Rhodes)

ISER Director's Profile


Cyril Nhlanhla Mbatha


BA in Political Studies, Economics and Applied Linguistics

MA (Economics)

PhD (Economics)  

Prof. CN Mbatha is the current Director of the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at Rhodes University, after acting as Dean and CEO at the Unisa School of Business Leadership in early 2020. In 2015 he was the first Director of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) - Regional Leadership Centre in Southern Africa (RLCSA), an initiative by the former US President, Barack Obama. Mbatha was also Chief Research Manager and Head of the Labour Markets Research Unit (LMRU) at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) from 2012 to 2013, before becoming Head of Finance and Economics at Unisa's Business School. Before joining Unisa in 2009 as an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics he was a Senior Lecturer at Rhodes University’s Department of Economics and Economic History, where he taught undergraduate and post graduate courses in Environmental Economics, Public Finance, Microeconomics, Development Economics. At Unisa’s Business School he taught macro and microeconomics for business leaders and managers.  He actively c

onducts research on natural resources management, including research on South Africa’s land and water laws, agricultural economics and land reform projects across the African continent. His other research interests include topics on the interface of labour markets and skills development. In the last 15 years he has been a senior research consultant on topics including Public Finances Management, Labour Markets & Further Education and Training, International and Regional Trade Integration for numerous government departments and research councils in South Africa as well as for international donor organisations like the UNDP in Botswana and the World Trade Organisation.  


i.              Peer Reviewed Accredited Academic Journal Articles:

1.     Mbatha CN, 2021. Livestock Production and Marketing for Small Emerging Farmers in South Africa and Kenya: Comparative Lessons. South African Journal of Agricultural Extension. South Africa Journal Agriculture Extension (S. Afr. J. Agric. Ext.) Vol. 49 No.1, 2021:141-161.      

 2.     Mbatha CN, 2019. Diversification in Production and Marketing Strategies for Higher Returns on farmlands located in a coastal and tourist district of Kenya: lessons for RSA’s land reform projects in similar locations. African Journal of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure. Vol. 8 (1)-2019.   

 3.     Mbatha CN, 2019. South Africa and USA trade: What are the scenarios beyond the “Africa Growth and Opportunity Act’ (AGOA for South Africa’s wine exports and the wine tourism sector? African Journal of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Vol 8 (3)-2019.

4.     Mbatha CN, 2017. How to Understand, Evaluate and Influence Efficient Progress in South Africa’s Land Reform Process: A Typology from Historical Lessons from Selected Sub-Saharan African Countries. South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences. Vol 20.1: 1-21

5.     Muchara B and Mbatha NC. 2016. Role of institutional Innovations on Smallholder Agricultural Entrepreneurship in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Journal of Human Ecology (J Hum Ecol) Volume 55 (1.2):41-50, 2016

6.     Mbatha NC and Muchara B. 2015. Slow progress in South Africa’s Land Reform Process: Fear of Property Rights and Free Markets? Journal of Green Economy and Development, Volume 1, Issue 2, 2015.

7.     Mbatha CN and Roodt J. 2014. Recent internal migration and labour market outcomes: Exploring the 2008 and 2010 National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) panel data in South Africa.  South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences Vol 17, No. 5.  

8.     Mbatha CN and Antrobus GG. 2013. Institutions and Economic Research: A case of Location Externalities on Agricultural Resource Allocation in the KRV, South Africa – A Rejoinder. Agrekon Vol 52 (2):135-145.   

9.     Mbatha CN & Gustaffson M, 2013. The Standard Error of Regressions: A note on New evidence in African Agricultural Economics. The Journal of Agricultural Economic Research and policy: March 2013 Agrekon Vol 52 (1)

10.  Mbatha CN, &  G.G Antrobus, 2012. Cooperative Benefits in Land Redistribution on sugarcane farms. Agrekon 51(4) 2012 Journal of Agricultural Economic Policy and Research.

11.  Mbatha CN, 2011. The Relevance of the European Union- South Africa trade and the Trade and Development Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) from a Perspective of South Africa’s Agricultural Exports between 1997 and 2008. Agrekon, Vol 50 December.

12.  Mbatha, C.N. & Antrobus, G.G.  2010. Price Premiums in the Land Redistribution Process: A case of northern Kwa-Zulu Natal Sugarcane farms, Agrekon. Vol 49 (2) 90-106.

13.  Mbatha, CN & Antrobus, G.G., 2010. Physical and political obstacles to economic development: A case of the Kat River Valley. The International Open Geography Journal, 3:257-268.

14.  Mbatha, C.N., 2009: Cliff, E.M. (2009) Review: How language is used to do business: essays on the Rhetoric of Economics. Journal of Cultural Economics. 33:151-155.

15.  Mbatha, C.N. & Charalambides, N., 2008.  What is Really in the Economic Partnership Agreements for the Southern African region? A perspective from Botswana’s Beef Export Markets. Agrekon. Vol 47, 4:410-433.

16.  Mbatha, C.N. & Antrobus G.G., 2008. Institutions and Economic Research: A case of Location Externalities on Agricultural Resource Allocation in the KRV, South Africa. Agrekon. Vol 47 (4):470-492.


ii.             Other published articles

a.     Mbatha CN. 2018. Kenyan Model shows how to support farmers. Farmers Weekly 2018 (18040) 6-7.

b.     Wildschut A and Mbatha NC. 2016. History and the Economy matters for artisanal skills planning. Labour Market Intelligence Project (LMIP) Policy Brief 17. HSRC.

c.     Mbatha CN, 2013. Relationships Drive Success in the land redistribution process. The Human Science Review Volume (HSRC) 11:1

d.     Mbatha CN, 2015. Rushing Land Reforms only slows it down. The Mail & Guardian. [Available online: http://mg.co.za/author/nhlanhla-mbatha].


 iii.           Technical reports

a.     Towards Understanding the Distinctive Nature of Artisan Training: Implications for Skills Planning in South Africa. macroeconomics lens. 2014, LMIP Report No. 2. Human Sciences Research Council.  Available online lmip.org.za

e.     Impact of global recession on the KZN economy: A study for the Department of Economic Development and eThekwini municipality, 2010. Imani Development


 f.      United Nations Development Report for Botswana, 2008. Chapter Contribution: Links between Open Trade and Poverty Reduction. with Nick Charalambides

g.     Provincial Poverty Profiles and Public Capacity to Alleviate Poverty in South Africa, 2008. A report in collaboration with the HSRC for the National Development Agency, NDA.

h.     An historical presentation of the evolution and effects of political and business institutions on agricultural irrigation schemes: a report to the Water Research Commission. 2006. 

 i.      Business partnerships in irrigation agriculture: investigating the institutional environment in which they are initiated: A report to the Water Research Commission. 2005. A case study of the Hertzog Agricultural Cooperative (HACOP), in the former Ciskei homeland, Eastern Cape (1994-2006). A report to the Water Research Commission (Jan 2006).


iv.           Selected media releases/broadcasts

a.     Farmers Review Africa : Land-reform-report-big-on-historical-context-sketchy-on-the-future https://www.farmersreviewafrica.com/commentary/2019/08/14/land-reform-report-big-on-historical-context-sketchy-on-the-future/

b.     Daily Maverick:http://bit.ly/2lnlRWu Land-reform-report-big-on-historical-context-sketchy-on-the-future

c.     AllAfrica.comhttp://bit.ly/2lTsP5W Land-reform-report-big-on-historical-context-sketchy-on-the-future

d.     Bizcommunity.comhttp://bit.ly/2kc5hc6 Land-reform-report-big-on-historical-context-sketchy-on-the-future

e.     SABC news broadcast discussion: SA-US AGOA trade issues June 2019

f.      SAfm Moneyweb discussion: SA-US trade under AGOA June 2019

g.     The Star newspaper. AGOA should be protected. June 2019

h.    Dailymaverick: Land reform commitment through national budget. 2018

i.      Mbatha CN, 2015. Land redistribution holds back KZN. The Citizen newspaper. [Available online:  http://www.pressreader.com/south-africa/the-citizen-gauteng/20150508/281505044784374/TextView]

j.      SABC news. Land expropriation without compensation discussion. December 2018

k.     SABC news. Kenyan model – lessons for South Africa. September 2018

l.      Business Brief. Turning around land reform projects. Online publication September 2018

m.   702 media discussion: land expropriation without compensation. June 2018.

n.     CNBC-Africa discussion: land expropriation in SA. 2018

o.     Mbatha CN 2015. Land redistribution debate: South African Broadcasting Corporation. [Available online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2A6Sdy7UtFc&noredirect=1]

p.     Channel Africa  Land redistribution still a major issue in SA         07/05/2015 19:24            14,000  Africa Digest     Text

q.     Broadcast         33105888

PE FM  SA's land redistribution process limping along     07/05/2015 13:00           18,000            English News    Text

r.      Broadcast         33106488

Channel Africa  Land redistribution still a major issue in SA         07/05/2015 17:38            14,000  Africa Digest     Text

s.     Broadcast         33091024

East Rand Stereo 93.9 FM         Land Reform     07/05/2015 13:02           51,000  News/Nuus @ 13:00            Text

t.      Print     33104654 CITIZEN        KZN study: Treaties key in new farm development          08-May-15 p.4       JPEG PDF Text.


Memberships (Past and Present):

Economic Society of South Africa (ESSA)

Agricultural Economics of Southern Africa (AESA)

International Atlantic Economic Society (IAES) 





Last Modified: Thu, 20 Jul 2023 15:15:19 SAST