News Forum

SASPP members are welcome to submit news articles, & information regarding upcoming events, to be published on our website.

Information should be relevant, and is subject to approval by the SASPP secretary, Dr. Cornel Bender.

2021 SASPP Conference

The next SASPP Congress was intended to be held from 17-20 January 2021.

Unfortunately considering Covid-19 and after consultation with the SASPP Council, we have proposed to postpone the next SASPP Conference.

Mike Wingfield wins NSTF award

The SASPP would like to congratulate Prof Mike Wingfield on winning the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) Annual Theme Award: Plant Health. This Special Annual Theme Award, recognising the 2020 United Nations International Year of Plant Health (IYPH-2020), is one of 13 awards conferred at the NSTF-South32 Awards ceremony on 30 July 2020.

Announcement of a MOU between SASPP and APS

The Council of the Southern African Society for Plant Pathology (SASPP) is excited to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the American Phytopathological Society (APS) effective from July 2020 to June 2024. The MOU signed between Prof. Wijnand Swart and Dr. Lindsey du Toit, current Presidents of the SASPP and APS respectively, will facilitate mutually beneficial interaction through scientific exchange via joint membership and professional collaboration.

SA Academy for Arts and Science honours Prof Bernard Slippers with the Havenga Prize for Natural Sciences

On behalf of the plant pathology community in South Africa, the SASPP council would like to congratulate Prof. Bernard Slippers, director of the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) at the University of Pretoria, who was awarded the 2020 prestigious Havenga Prize for Natural Sciences by the South African Academy for Arts and Science.

Plant Pathologists announced as finalists in prestigious awards

The National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)  has announced that a virtual Awards Gala Event will be live-streamed on Thursday, 30 July 2020 at 19:00-20:30 to honour the finalists and announce the winners in their 22nd annual award ceremony. In recognition of the 2020 International Year of Plant Health, as declared by the United Nations, the theme for the 2019/2020 NSTF-South32 Awards is Plant Health.

Donation to SASPP by Prof John Mildenhall

Prof John Mildenhall’s association with the SASPP goes back 45 years to 1967 when he presented a paper at the January meeting held at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg.

In 2009, his deep passion for plant pathology prompted him to donate an amount of R 50 000 to the Society to award commendable PhD students. At the 51st SASPP conference in 2019, held at Club Mykonos, Prof Mildenhall announced that he is donating an additional R150 000 towards increasing the value of the original award.  This very generous gesture is the largest ever donation the SASPP has received from a private individual.   

Renowned Australian cereal rust scientist visits UFS

Professor Robert Park, Head of Cereal Rust Research at the Plant Breeding Institute (PBI) at the University of Sydney, visited Dr Willem Boshoff and Prof Botma Visser from the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of the Free State during October. Rust researchers at the two Institutions have been involved in many collaborative projects in the past and through this visit, these ties were strengthened. During his visit, he gave a talk entitled “Approaching 100 years of cereal rust research at the University of Sydney; lessons learnt and the way ahead”.



The Soilborne Plant Diseases Interest Group of South Africa hosted the 29th Interdisciplinary Symposium on Soilborne Plant Diseases on 18 and 19 September 2019 at the Vredenburg Research Centre of the ARC-PHP in Stellenbosch.  The topic for this year’s symposium was Propagation material and Soilborne Plant Diseases.

FABI shines at SASPP meeting

The 2019 meeting of the Southern African Society for Plant Pathology (SASPP) took place on the West Coast, hosted by Stellenbosch University. The meeting boasted nine keynote speakers from institutions in five different countries.

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