Professor Zach Koto


Professor Zach Koto is Professor of Surgery and department chairman at the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University. He graduated with a doctoral degree in surgery form UKZN and attained his FCS(SA) in 1992. From 1994 to 2011 he was Head of General Surgery at Sebokeng Hospital where he trained many young medical officers and rotating registrars from the University of Witwatersrand. In 2011, Prof Koto attained his FACS degree and later that year, was appointed as the Head of General Surgery at the University of Limpopo, Medunsa Campus (which was re-named Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University in 2015.

Author of more than 42 publications, Professor Koto is a pioneer in laparoscopic procedures in the management of trauma patients and is renowned for performing the first laparoscopic aortobifemural bypass graft in South Africa in 2012. It is passion for teaching and developing laparoscopic surgery in South Africa that sets him apart from the rest. Not only does Prof Koto encourage laparoscopic proficiency in registrar training, he also hosts regular laparoscopic workshops for all those who are willing to learn the skill and he hosts the annual TOTMAS (Tricks of the Trade in Minimal Access Surgery) Congress to share his experience and knowledge.

Professor Koto’s involvement in surgical training goes far beyond his own university and department. He has been an executive committee member of many surgical societies including ASSA (The Association of Surgeons of South Africa), SASES (South African Society of Endoscopic Surgeons) and SRSSA (The Surgical Research Society of South Africa).

The SASSiT Swann-Morton Silver Scalpel Award for 2017. The Silver Scalpel award recognizes that consultant demonstrating excellence in leadership, professionalism, communication and commitment to training and development. Candidates are nominated by surgical trainees in any surgical discipline and chosen by the SASSiT Executive Committee.

Professor Koto has served the CMSA as Senator since 2014, President of the College of Surgeons since October 2017 and member of the Finance and General Purpose Committee since October 2020.