Dr Mokhele currently serves as Special Advisor to the South African Minister of science and Technology and Chancellor of the University of the Free State. He also serves on Boards of Directors of several listed and unlisted companies, having previously served as chairperson of Boards of Directors of three listed companies. He previously served as the founder Presidents of the South African National Research Foundation (having also served as President of the Foundation for Research Development, the predecessor to the National Research Foundation) and also as the founder President of the Academy of Science of South Africa. The service to the Foundation for Research Development was preceded by academic positions in the Departments of Microbiology at the Universities of Cape Town and Fort Hare. He also served as Chairperson of the Premier’s Economic Advisory Council advising the Premier of the Free State Province, South Africa.
The international roles include, inter alia, membership of the Executive Board of UNESCO (1997-2001) and Chairperson of the Special Committee of the Executive Board of UNESCO (1999-2001); Vice President for Scientific Planning and Review of the International Council for Science (2005-2008); assignment by UNESCO (2006-2007) to review the Science and Technology System of the member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and advise on how to leverage science, technology and innovation for the development of the Caribbean region; current chairpersonship of the Board of START International Inc., a Global Change capacity Building initiative based in Washington DC. Dr Mokhele holds a PhD in Microbiology from the University of California, Davis and had post doctoral fellowships at The Johns Hopkins University and University of Pennsylvania. He holds several honorary doctorates from universities in South Africa and the USA. His service to science, technology and innovation was also recognized through the bestowal of the Legion of Honour Chevalier by the President of France (2000) and the Science Diplomacy Award by the Minister of Science and Technology in South Africa (2015)