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Rhodes > NALSU > About

Neil Aggett Labour Studies Unit (NALSU)

The Neil Aggett Labour Studies Unit (NALSU) was established in the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at Rhodes University in 2012 as the Labour Market Research Unit with funding from the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism. NALSU was named in 2013, following a formal naming process initiated by its Steering Committee. The formal launch of NALSU took the form of a series of three launch events held on 2-4 April 2014: (i) the first Annual Neil Aggett Labour Studies Lecture, (ii) a Neil Aggett Colloquium held in the Makana City Hall on 3 April 2014, and (iii) a Naming Ceremony held on 4 April 2014 (see Events for more information).  

NALSU is an independent, university-based research unit, but contributes to policy development. Although focused on the Eastern Cape, NALSU actively engages with the wider South African political economy. We operate with a keen awareness of the spatio-temporal context of the Eastern Cape economy and labour market, including the Eastern Cape’s historical role in the reproduction of labour for the broader South African economy. We are committed to high-quality empirical research that deepens our collective understanding of poverty, unemployment and inequality, and contributes to the building of social agency.

NALSU is actively building and contributing to national and provincial research networks that straddle labour market research and labour studies. We are committed to the sharing of research results and the building of communities of practice and scholarship. Through critical and engaged scholarship we hope to contribute to the building of a more equitable society and a more inclusive form of social citizenship based on social solidarity.

NALSU is located within the ISER, which celebrates its sixtieth anniversary in 2014. Our work articulates with the other key ISER research and teaching theme of social policy. We are actively linked to the Rhodes University Departments of Economics and Sociology through contributions of key staff members and postgraduate students to our work. We are currently funding the studies of two Masters students, one in Economics and one in Sociology.



The Neil Aggett Labour Studies Unit (NALSU) is accountable to Rhodes University through the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER), in which it is based. In addition, NALSU’s annual plans and progress reports are submitted to a NALSU Steering Committee that includes representatives of its principal funder, the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT). The NALSU Steering Committee consists of the following members:

  • Prof Robert van Niekerk, Director of the ISER and Associate Professor of Social Policy, Rhodes University (Chair)
  • Ms Mickey Mama, General Manager: Economic Development, DEDEAT (Deputy Chair)
  • Dr Justin Visagie, Senior Manager: Economic Planning & Research, DEDEAT
  • Dr John Reynolds, Head: Neil Aggett Labour Studies Unit, ISER, Rhodes University
  • Prof Hugo Nel, Head of Department of Economics and Economic History, Rhodes University
  • Prof Gilton Klerck, Head of Department of Sociology, Rhodes University
  • Mr Xolani Malamlela, Eastern Cape Provincial Secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions
  • Mr Tengo Tengela, National Education Health and Allied Workers' Union
  • Mr Russell Grinker, Development Facilitation Specialist, Eastern Cape Socio-Economic Consultative Council
  • Ms Marianne Gradwell, National Sales & Marketing Manager, Global Business Solutions

Last Modified: Mon, 05 Jun 2017 09:48:05 SAST