SA committed to SKA - Pandor

2011-07-07 18:54

Cape Town - South Africa is committed to providing the world with the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the Southern Hemisphere until the SKA is completed, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor said on Thursday.

"We have made noteworthy progress on the precursor telescope MeerKAT... the South African SKA [Square Kilometre Array] precursor," she told the International SKA Forum meeting in Banff, Canada.

Over the past year all important milestones related to MeerKAT had been achieved, many of them ahead of schedule.

"Our progress has allowed us to plan to publish tenders for MeerKAT at the end of this year.

"I am also pleased to confirm that the commissioning of the KAT-7 Array will be completed by the end of 2011," she said.

KAT-7 was not only a test bed for MeerKAT. It was also a scientific instrument in its own right and was in demand for scientific work by African and international astronomers.

"Five years before the MeerKAT Array goes online for science operations in 2016, we have already allocated 43 000 hours of observing time, including to consortia led by many internationally renowned astronomers.

"Suffice it to say that SA is committed to providing the world with the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the Southern Hemisphere - until the SKA is completed.

Without significant delay

"We hope that the immense potential of MeerKAT will not be ignored when the most efficient and cost-effective roll-out for the Phase One of SKA is considered.

"SA stands ready to discuss how our investment could best contribute to ensure Phase One of the SKA is implemented without significant delay."

Pandor said she hoped the deliberations of the SKA oversight committees had resulted in agreement that 2012 was confirmed as the year in which a final site decision will be announced.

"We are keen to move into the design and implementation phase," she said.

SA and Australia are the two bidders to host the SKA.

Since the 2010 meeting of the forum in Assen important progress had been made on the African bid led by SA.

In July last year, the African SKA project received political endorsement at the highest level.

The heads of state and government of the African Union adopted a declaration at its assembly, expressing the AU's support for SA to lead the bid to locate the SKA in Africa.

Site connected

"Our commitment to the SKA is firm and steadfast.

"We have chosen an exceptionally good site for the SKA in a remote region of SA, a region with very little economic activity.

"We have provided statutory protection for the site through the Geographic Astronomy Advantage Act. The Act covers existing activities and transmissions, not only new ones. In this we are unique," Pandor said.

The site had been connected to the national power grid and to the national optical fibre backbone.

The networks were scaleable and some were now "SKA ready".

"We are collaborating with our national department of energy, our Electricity Supply Commission, and German and Chinese agencies to provide renewable energy to the MeerKAT and the SKA," Pandor said.


Read more on:    naledi pandor  |  astronomy  |  ska

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


DA wants to empower fishing communities - Zille

DA leader Helen Zille says the party has a plan for harbours and small-scale fishing communities.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Friday Grabouw - 11:32 AM
    Road name: N2 Eastbound
    DELAYS between Sir Lowrys Pass and Grabouw
  • Friday Cape Town - 10:14 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy S III 16GB

There are no straight lines in nature. The Samsung  GALAXY...

From R3525.00

I'm shopping for:


You may find yourself putting in that extra effort on looking good and making an impression. more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.