Inaugural lecture signifies momentous success for any academic – Prof Linda du Plessis

Annette Willemse -- Fri, 11/13/2015 - 11:17

Inaugural lecture signifies momentous success for any academic – Prof Linda du Plessis

“An inaugural lecture represents momentous success for any member of academia and as such it should be celebrated and applauded.”

This is according to Prof Linda du Plessis, acting Campus Rector of the Vaal Triangle Campus of the North-West University (NWU Vaal). Professor Du Plessis delivered a short address at the inaugural lecture of Prof Wynand Grobler, Director of the School of Economic Sciences within the Faculty of Economic Sciences and Information Technology. “Each inaugural lecture provides an opportunity for academics to share their achievements in research, innovation, engagement and teaching-learning activities before an audience of their peers and the general public,” said Prof Du Plessis and added that as such an inaugural lecture affords newly appointed professors with a ceremonial platform to showcase their contribution towards the knowledge economy – not only in terms of their respective fields of interest, but also on a national and international scale.


Prof Linda du Plessis Executive Dean: Prof Herman van der Merwe Prof Wynand Grobler


The topic of Prof Grobler’s inaugural lecture was: “Urban food insecurity: A case for conditional cash grants?” In his lecture he gave an overview of food insecurity and the measurement thereof – both locally, nationally and globally as well as an explanation of how social grants impact on the perception and prevalence of food insecurity.

More about Prof Grobler

Wynand Carel Johannes Grobler was born in 15 April 1962 in Lichtenburg. He matriculated from Lichtenburg High in 1979 and continued with tertiary education at the former Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education (now the North-West University). After completing a BCom in Economics, he was appointed as a researcher for the South African Government.

In 1984 he completed a Hons BCom in Economics (with distinction). In 1986 the South African Reserve Bank appointed him as an economic researchers and shortly thereafter he was appointed as the head of the capital account in the Balance of Payments Division. 

On 1 July 1990 he was appointed as a lecturer in Economics, at the Vaal Triangle Campus of the former Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education. In 2003 he completed a MCom in Economics (with distinction) under the supervision of Prof Dr T Slabbert. The title of his dissertation was: “An Economic Impact Assessment of the closure of Vista University, Sebokeng Campus.” A year later he completed a Diploma in Economic Impact Studies at the Molde University in Norway and immediately continued with his studies towards a PhD in Economics (also under the supervision of Prof Dr T Slabbert). This study, titled: “An Economic Impact Assessment of an International Airport in the Vaal Region” was completed in 2007. The research for his doctoral thesis triggered his interest in research about economic development in the Vaal Triangle.

During the period 2007 to 2011 he had been involved in numerous projects on economic development in the Vaal Triangle region with a specific focus on poverty alleviation. He identified food insecurity as one of the main aspects of poverty and focused his research on urban food insecurity.

He has been the Director of the School of Economic Sciences since 2009 and was promoted to professor on 1 January 2015.

A scholar of note – nationally and internationally

Since 2005 Grobler has published 36 research articles; 14 in peer reviewed journals and 22 in conference addresses; whereof 18 were at international conferences. The quality of his research has received recognition at numerous international conferences, including the Best Paper Award at the World Business Institute Conference held in Kathmandu, Nepal in November 2013. The title of this paper was: “Self-reported vulnerability to food insecurity in a South African low-income neighbourhood.”

At the 30th Business Research Conference, held in Dubai on 20-22 April 2015, he received the Best Paper Award for his paper: “Do social grants affect household dietary diversity?” At the Interdisciplinary Business and Economics Research Conference held in October 2015, he and a colleague received an award for their outstanding contribution to interdisciplinary research with a paper titled: “The relationship between perceptions of the causes of poverty and household characteristics.”

Professor Grobler serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Research. He is married to Susan and from the marriage three children were born.