Local groups/organizations

I would like to list here any groups or organizations active in South Africa. Please provide contact info if you know of anything in your region - or want to start your own :wink:

Neo-Socratics (Port Elizabeth)
Freethinking Maties (Stellenbosch)

Neither of the following really fall into the category of South African “groups or organizations” of a sceptical orientation; rather, they are blogs by SAns and are definitely worth periodic visits:

01 and The Universe
Pickled Bushman

Who knows? Perhaps a group or organisation may yet spring from one or both of them.

bluegray V, please feel free to move this post wherever you think it is best kept.


Perhaps a group or organisation may yet spring from one or both of them.

Indeed it has! Some fellow Trekkie sceptics and I have started a little group of our own called Special Scientific Operations (SciOps). We hope to get involved in the hands-on type activities that characterise groups like the CSI and the Australian Skeptics.

It’s been a bit of a slow start: so far all we’ve managed to produce is a challenge to Danie Krugel that has been entirely ignored by Mr Locator. But we have some ideas and plans brewing, and we expect to have plenty to keep us busy in 2008.

The SciOps team doesn’t yet have its own website. Instead we’re currently inhabiting a section on the website of our parent organisation, the USS Dauntless (a Star Trek fan club based in Joburg). This can be viewed at www.sasfa.org/dauntless.

I can be reached at [email protected], or we can be found chatting it up on Google Groups and Facebook.

Please feel free to pop in and drop us a hail. We’re very enthusiastic about our new endeavour, and gladly welcome any questions or suggestions our fellow SA sceptics might have to offer.

Thanks for the reference!

CAPT Owen Swart
Officer in Charge
Special Scientific Operations
USS Dauntless NCC-74214
STARFLEET International


Hello CaptainKlingon (or would you prefer “Owen”? Or “Captain Swart”, perhaps?), thank you for the SciOps information, and welcome to the forum.

Data gathered from here (the “Locator” thread), your blog and the USS Dauntless page all convergently suggest that SciOps is currently occupied with a single case only, namely that of Danie Krugel. Krugel’s responses (or rather, lack thereof) are strongly reminiscent of a zombie: ponderously blundering forth as if the challenges and objections simply didn’t exist.

If it is true that SciOps is only looking into the one case mentioned above, might I hope that it will be intrigued enough by the Wayne Herschel case to investigate? The Herschel case involves aliens, space travel, archaeological artefacts and many other features that should beam up any committed Trekkie’s heart with fascination. :wink:

Or maybe just a hearty horselaugh. :-\


Owen is fine, but you can call me “Sir” if you like :wink:

So far we have indeed only tackled one case in earnest. We have also made a bit of a fuss over the incursion that LifeWave appears to be making into the South African market, but the ASASA’s decision is pending and we don’t want to make much of a public noise about it until it’s been concluded.

We currently have some plans in discussion to expand our case file. Thanks for the tip on Wayne Herschel… anything to do with aliens and space-travel is right up our alley! We shall look into that one with relish!


I think it’s great that there are people who will do battle on behalf of their fellows against shameless exploiters. However, I fear that the ASASA’s role is often limited merely to that of a temporary stopgap because their ambit ends at advertising matters such as specific bogus claims. They don’t have the clout to root out the actual problem, e.g. imposing a blanket ban on the sale or distribution of certain discredited products or services. At the same time, I must stress that by no means and not at all am I deriding these efforts – in fact, quite the opposite. I am suggesting that SA needs to grow a set of somewhat bigger, pointier teeth to deal with consumer protection issues.

Anyway, here’s where you can read about a case that eventually made it through the ASASA and that was later seized on by newspapers. Would that the media paid closer and more frequent attention to the goings-on at the ASASA and reported thereon.


However, I fear that the ASASA's role is often limited merely to that of a temporary stopgap because their ambit ends at advertising matters such as specific bogus claims.

Quite right. Their influence is limited, but as far as consumer-protection agencies they seem to be about the best we’ve got. As long as the woo faction avoid making specific medical claims, and distribute their products through direct and multi-level marketing, they will manage just fine.

At the very least we can try to keep the nonsense out of the above-the-line media where it seems to reach the most ears.

Looks like the people from http://www.scepticsa.com have updated their website. It is now reachable from http://www.skeptic.co.za and http://www.sceptic.co.za and there is now also a forum.
Stop by and show your support.

yo, UCT Atheist and Agnostic Society (Cape Town)


The USS Dauntless’ website has changed. It’s now http://dauntless.region8-sfi.org.

Unfortunately we haven’t been able to migrate our old sceptical content across yet, but that should happen in the coming weeks.

The Free Society Institute (http://fsi.org.za/) does good work. It’s focused mainly on atheist topics, though, not so much general skepticism. If you’re on Facebook, you should join South African Skeptics: http://www.facebook.com/groups/25920789463/


Durban has a Skeptics in the Pub event - every third Thursday of the month.
Notifications are sent to the South African Skeptics group on Facebook, but I will also try to post details in this forum each month.

I am also trying to start a Secular Students Alliance here but it has been slow to get off the ground. It needs someone at the University to drive the process on the ground.
I am working on building ties with Jacques Rousseau of the Free Society Institute to try and get a regional presence of the Secular Humanist agenda here in Durban as well. One obstacle is trying to find enough common ground for the generally skeptical to get behind an organised position on a wide range of issues - not easy! But hey, not everything worth doing is easy.

Kind regards

Link doesn’t work, and facebook search on the gid number and “south african skeptics” name produces no results.

I’ve got the FB page open now, with this URL: Redirecting...

That link works, but even from the page itself, a search for “south african skeptics” produces no results. Strange.

I usually find the group on Facebook with “South African Skeptics” - perhaps it is sensitive to the capitalisation.