Thea de Gruchy is a postdoctoral researcher at the ACMS working on migration and health. Since the outbreak of the Covid19 pandemic in South Africa, much of Thea's work has pivoted to exploring the effect of the pandemic and implications of the South African state's response to the pandemic for migrant and mobile populations. As part of this work, Thea helps to coordinate the Migration and Coronavirus in Southern African group (MiCoSA).
Her PhD research, which was supervised by Jo Vearey, funded by the Wellcome Trust and part of the Migration and Health Project (maHp) at ACMS, centred on questions of policy process and asked how policy is made and influenced in South Africa. In 2015 and the beginning of 2016, Thea worked with Ingrid Palmary to answer some of these questions and inform a conceptual framework on how policy is made in South Africa using the Trafficking in Persons Act of 2013 as a case study. Her doctoral work uses a case study of health and occupational safety policy in the South African agricultural sector to elaborate on and develop this framework.
Thea’s MA, which was funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF), focused on the immigration industry and the relationship between the state, immigration intermediaries, and migrants. Part of this research explored the increasing precarity experienced by immigrants in South Africa as a result of changing and increasingly stringent immigration policy and regulations. Having received a Faculty of Humanities Ad Hoc Grant from the University of the Witwatersrand for 2016 to follow on with some of this research and as part of the Security at the Margins (SeaM) project – a collaborative project between ACMS and the Centre for African Studies at the University of Edinburgh – she continues to be interested in the relationship between policy, specifically policy framed in terms of security, and the precarity of marginalised and vulnerable groups.
Thea currently co-ordinates the PhD Work in Progress seminars at the ACMS.
At the International Journal of Press/Politics Virtual Conference (13-16 September 2021), maHp/African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS, Wits University) postdoctoral fellow Thea de Gruchy presented a paper (co-authored with Thulie Zikhali, Jo Vearey and Johanna Hanefeld) titled: ‘Framing migration during the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa: a 12-month media monitoring project’.Read more
In this paper, the authors reflect on a four month pilot project which explored the use of WhatsApp Messenger – a popular mobile phone application used widely in sub Saharan Africa – and assessed its feasibility as a research tool with migrant and mobile populations in order to inform a larger study that would address these challenges.Read more
This paper highlights the ways in which local interventions that mobilise community members can improve the access that rural, migrant farming communities have to healthcare.Read more
Using qualitative methodology and a case study approach, this paper traces the development of the Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) mobile clinic programme in Musina, exploring the changing relationship between MSF and the state.Read more
In this article, the authors consider what influenced the development of South Africa’s 2013 Prevention and Combatting of Trafficking in Persons Act (TiP Act) as just one example of migration policy-making.Read more
In this article the authors contribute to the emerging knowledge on migration policy-making in two ways. Firstly, they address the relative lack of research on the gendered nature of migration policy-making. Secondly, they contribute to understanding migration policymaking in postcolonial contexts.Read more
Very little is known about what drives policy making in South Africa. This project investigates the making and effects of policy around migration and health for migrant farm workers in Vhembe District, Limpopo.Read more