Pandor to push for SKA decision

2012-05-15 22:41

Cape Town - South Africa will insist a decision be taken on a site for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope at the next meeting of the SKA organisation, Science Minister Naledi Pandor said on Tuesday.

"I'll certainly... protest should we not have a decision because I think we need to know where we stand, and I'm sure the other bidding country, Australia, also wants to know where [it] stands," she told reporters at Parliament.

The next meeting of the SKA five-country committee involved in the matter, including Canada, China, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, is set for May 25.

A decision on the location of the core site for the giant instrument was originally to have been taken last month, but was delayed to give the SKA organisation more time to investigate how investments made by the two bidders, Australia and South Africa, could be "maximised".

Briefing the media ahead of debate on her department's R4.96bn budget in the National Assembly, Pandor said South Africa's representatives at the meeting later this month would "make it very clear" the country wanted a decision before June.

Pandor jokingly said she would "make loud complaints... [and] throw my toys out of the cot" if there was no decision at the meeting, before seriously stating she "certainly will protest" should one not be taken.

"We will make it very clear to those who attend the meeting that we want them to honour the decision all of us have agreed to at the global forum meeting in Canada last year: that we will have a decision by June [this year].

"I'm thrilled that we've done very, very well because South Africa is definitely in and it's clear we have an excellent bid. But we want a decision on the site," she said.

South Africa has partnered with Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia to host the 3 000 antennas that will make up the SKA.

Half of these will be located in a 5km diameter central region in the Karoo, while the rest will be spread up to 3 000km from this central concentration.

South Africa winning the bid for the SKA - one of the world’s biggest science projects - will provide a huge boost for the country’s economy, especially in the construction, engineering and IT sectors.

  • kayley.segal - 2012-05-15 23:36

    Smart move, Give us an answer NOW or....what?? You want these guys to invest billions, long term,while you babble on about "nationalisation" and support labour laws that promote incompetence. Keep up the good work. Genius.

      Gert - 2012-05-16 06:46

      And don't forget about the Karoo fracking next to to the radio telescope proposed site.

      Nicholas.Spaggiari - 2012-05-16 09:49

      Pandor - ex education minister, the same person who trashed the education system even further. Let's hope she doesn't do the same to SKA.

  • Koos - 2012-05-16 00:23

    Don't push your luck Pandor. You might not like the answer.

  • Judy - 2012-05-16 07:18

    Like they going to care if you \throw yr toys out the cot\ Pfft, you dealing with scientists, not morons.

  • johleneh - 2012-05-16 07:35

    I sincerely hope that we win the bid for SKA AND that this then assists in annihilating any possibility of fracking in the Karoo!

      Hugh - 2012-05-16 08:53

      That is exactly why she wants to push for an answer no SKA will give government an excuse to consider Fracking.

  • Peter Zylstra - 2012-05-16 07:40

    Pandor insisting a decission must be made. Who the F does she think she is dealing with, some other backward african country! Wake up, pandoras box is full of surprises!

  • Victor - 2012-05-16 07:57

    We need to know !!!!

  • Hugh - 2012-05-16 08:51

    Yes but will BEE and cadre neotism screw it up.

  • phinda.buthelezi - 2012-05-16 08:55

    and there goes our chance of hosting the SKA

  • desertratbkf - 2012-05-16 09:50

    After yesterday's savagery behavior in Joburg, dont get too excited lady Pandor. I certainly wouldnt invest in such a massive project like this in an unstable country!

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