Prof Christoff Botha delivers inaugural address
It fills our days, our weeks, our years. It is, perhaps, the most prominent and most repeated topic of all of our discussions. It evokes as much ire as it does monthly gratitude. It is that most necessary of evils: ‘work’. And, it is so much more.
In his inaugural address titled The Employment Relation as a Human Relation, Professor Christoff Botha, research manager at the NWU School of Business & Governanceand labour relations expert, elucidated on the relationship between employees and their jobs and equated that relationship
“When one thinks of work, one thinks of a job. But work is far more than a job. Although work certainly provides for basic subsistence needs and decent living conditions, this is not its only function. Work is, above all, an activity through which an individual fits into the world, creates new relations, uses its talents, learns, grows and develops his identity and sense of belonging,” Botha explained.
“Work plays a central role in many cultures, although every culture has its own values and conceptions about it. However, it seems that work is important and significant for a majority of people considering the time that individuals devote to work in their lives.”
He went on to say that: “There is another thing that we are well aware of. That is that the employment relation is in fact a relation. Therefore it must have certain element that are similar to those find in another other relationships such as friendships and business partners. We also realise that the employment relationship suffers, sometimes in a chronic way, from things like industrial action and political influences.
“It also shows signs of competition, conflict and even mistrust amongst others. If one needs to understand any society of people, then we need to study these activities and the institutions where they work. In studying the activities of people as they spent by far the largest part of the day working, one needs to create an understanding and appreciation of social behaviour. Good managers realise this and manage accordingly,” he concluded.
Speaking of work, Prof Botha has a body thereof to be proud of. After being awarded his PhD in Industrial Psychology from the previously named Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education (now the Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University) he completed a post-graduate diploma in Labour Law at the Rand Afrikaanse University, now UJ. He taught employment relations at the NWU before going into full-time practice as a registered chartered human resource practitioner with the South African Board of Personnel Practitioners. He was promoted to professor at the NWU School of Business & Governance in 2015 after climbing the academic ranks.
He has contributed seven chapters in academic books as well as 41 peer-reviewed articles and 34 peer-reviewd academic conference papers. In addition, Prof Botha researched the relationship in the tri-partite alliance of the ANC, SACP and COSATU. A total of 48 master’s degree students have completed their studies under his supervision. He has been the promotor of nine PhD students. He has been married for 29 years to his first love, Doret, and together they have two children, Nestene and Ockert-Johan.