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Stalwart South African scientist-cum-MP dies


Belinda Bozzoli was shadow minister of science and served on portfolio committees

Belinda Bozzoli, a South African MP and prominent researcher, died of cancer on 5 December. 

A sociologist by training, Bozzoli spent most of her academic career at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg where she led the school of social science from 2001 to 2003. 

At Wits, she served as deputy vice-chancellor of research. She received an A-rating from the National Research Foundation in 2006.

Bozzoli was elected to the National Assembly for the Democratic Alliance party in 2014. She served on parliamentary committees dealing with higher education and science, often speaking out on behalf of researchers in South Africa, whose problems she knew. 

Blade Nzimande, South Africa’s minister of higher education, science and innovation, expressed his condolences. 

"Although we had our own political, ideological and even intellectual differences, she always sought to back up her arguments with facts and empirical evidence, like a true academic. I always found robust debates with her very informative,” he said in a statement. 

The Democratic Alliance described Bozzoli as a “true patriot” and a “fighter of principle” who worked long into her illness.

Natasha Mazzone, the DA’s chief whip, said Bozzoli was “deeply committed to making sure that higher education institutions remained respected and that as many young people as possible had access to excellent higher education”.