SA eyes cash for SKA

2012-10-09 13:07

Carnarvon - South Africa has started negotiations with foreign partners to help fund the construction of the world's next generation radio telescope, officials said ahead of a visit by President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday.

South Africa is building the world's most powerful radio astronomy telescope - the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) - which is set to dwarf any other existing astronomy instrument.

The SKA project will suck in a broad investment expected to run to billions of rands, a bill South Africa expects its partners in the deal will have to pick up part of.

The bulk of the project will be built in the remote and arid Karoo region.

"Obviously South Africa is making a contribution, but the bulk of the money will be coming from member countries of the SKA consortium," Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom said.

SKA project director Bernie Fanaroff, told reporters late on Monday ahead of Zuma's tour of the project site, that since Africa's economic and political powerhouse won the bid to host the SKA in May, negotiations have now turned to the "nitty-gritty" of the deal.

Funding, hosting

The two key agreements that parties to project are currently busy with are the funding and the hosting agreements, said Fanaroff.

"The funding agreement is always a big issue... all of the countries now are having to commit themselves to what part of the total cost of the SKA they will pay," said Fanaroff.

"Everyone at this stage is in a situation of financial stringency... So it is a fairly intensive negotiation," said Fanaroff.

But what is emerging clearly is that governments will make conditional commitments - that they will part with their cash provided their own industries get contracts in the projects such as the supply of antennas, dishes or radio receivers, he added.

In all, the massive SKA radio telescope will link 3 000 antenna dishes. It will allow astronomers to see distant galaxies and to shed new light on fundamental questions about the universe, including how it began, why it is expanding and whether it contains life beyond our planet.

Aside from the co-hosts South Africa and Australia, other countries so far taking part in the SKA project are Britain, Canada, China, India, the Netherlands and Sweden. Germany is joining in weeks. Japan and South Korea have expressed interest.

  • sisie.indola - 2012-10-09 13:33

    And don't forget all those palms you have to grease. Will it be BBBEEE or open to anyone who is capable and educated. This is a whole new can of worms........going to be interesting to see how this one develops.

      willem.vanrensburg.562 - 2012-10-09 13:45

      One for you, two for me, BEE....

      danie.strydom.7 - 2012-10-09 14:01

      It will be a sight for sore eyes :)

      Bruce - 2012-10-09 14:17

      Prophets of doom are having a field day, once again. What do the bones say? S.A will fail building the SKA..take chill pill, wait and see this dream become vivid and real.

      sandra.j.rennie - 2012-10-09 14:43

      Is that the reason they made Derek Hanekom Minister of Science and Technology last week ? More grey matter !

      msendi - 2012-10-09 14:49

      Thanks Bruceā€¦

      petrus.ngwenya.3 - 2012-10-09 15:18

      I predict it will cost 3 times more than what it is currently budgeted for, if the Gautrain and e-toll is anything to go by...

      preshen.govender.90 - 2012-10-10 08:26

      Julius does not like the satellite because it is white

  • andre.barendse.7 - 2012-10-09 13:33

    "In all, the massive SKA radio telescope will link 3 000 antenna dishes. It will allow astronomers to see distant galaxies and to shed new light on fundamental questions about the universe, including how it began, why it is expanding and whether it contains life beyond our planet." ... They forgot to mention that Hubble's telescope already saw the past. I was hoping for a glimpse of the future this time around. Having said that... I hope it takes pretty pictures.

  • bradley.kecskes - 2012-10-09 13:34

    Dear God...keep the ANC out of this one.

      willem.vanrensburg.562 - 2012-10-09 13:46

      But the ANC is God silly...!!!

      nicky.saaiman.1 - 2012-10-09 13:54

      Willem please explain.

      colin.dovey - 2012-10-09 14:12

      @nicky - it is known as Gallows humour - please lighten up!

      nicky.saaiman.1 - 2012-10-09 16:29

      Thanks don't like the spelling would prefer god to his God.

      rachell.lass - 2012-10-10 06:47

      Leave your gods out of science.

  • npretorius2 - 2012-10-09 13:34

    Good luck trying to get funding, but I am pretty sure that the all the strikes crippling the country have already chased away and potential investors...

  • shirley.steenkamp - 2012-10-09 13:37

    Im sure they are "eyeing"it. Another jackpot to fill their greedy sweaty palms! From a scentific point of view,this is wonderful. A big plus,just a pity we have unclean hands handeling the cash!

  • Sean O'Brien Snr - 2012-10-09 13:47

    Yeah right! Yet another opportunity to STEAL!

  • henk.vanrensburg.31 - 2012-10-09 13:48

    I can see the Cadres drooling already....

  • andre.barendse.7 - 2012-10-09 13:50

    I wonder if they'll be using copper in any of the wiring...

  • Cameron - 2012-10-09 13:51

    Carefull, they might wanna nationalise it...

      fanie.gerber1972 - 2012-10-09 14:01

      or chop it up and hand over the control over a unqualified people, who will use it as a chicken coop, because they wont be able to get DSTV on it as promised by JZ and Co.

  • fanie.gerber1972 - 2012-10-09 13:58

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Keep zoomer and the cANCer as far away as possible - he will stuff it up

  • jeanclaude.kabila - 2012-10-09 14:15

    They must prepare for strikes during the construction phase. This is South Africa.

  • jeanclaude.kabila - 2012-10-09 14:17

    They must prepare for strikes by having Asian. And Chinese contractors on standby. This is SA.

  • toi.mtshali - 2012-10-09 14:19

    South Africa is really punching above it weight. I'm so proud of us even the science world choose us. Anyway we just have to ignore white pessimist. Whites wish nothing good for this country.

      nicky.saaiman.1 - 2012-10-09 14:33

      Maybe the stupid pessimist racist would rather spend money on the poor. We all know there will just be honest politicians to see that there is not going money in the wrong pockets. Not that you see anything like that in your beloved country.

  • nimesh.desai.1690 - 2012-10-09 14:54

    I dont know about yourll,but im excited

  • andrew.mackie.90 - 2012-10-09 15:23

    This is a wonderful opportunity for South Africa to show that we can manage projects of this magnitude and without any fraud and corrupt dealings. The Minister and all involved must put fail safe controls in place to ensure no malpractice is allowed to happen. Any person caught or trying to enter into dubious deals must be summarily dismissed.

  • henchman.monco - 2012-10-09 15:39

    It's always anc this and anc that; zuma this zuma that... Blah blah blah... To hell with you bunch of useless racists, what good can u do for this country anyway? Absolutely nothing the only thing u r good at is hate anything that has to do with black people and that hatred is planted deep in ur hearts.y dnt u just get the hell out of this country n go to a place where there's no black people???

      stanton.clarke - 2012-10-09 19:02

      henchman, if whites in power were just as skelm, then they will definitely receive the same treatment. The ANC must learn to repsect that which does not belong to them i.e the finances of this country.

  • Robtab111 - 2012-10-09 17:01

    Is this being built on land that will be repossessed for growing weeds????

  • quartus.vanzyl - 2012-10-09 17:17

    Watch this space. These "other countries" do not know how the ANC magicians can make money disappear in thin air.

  • henchman.monco - 2012-10-09 21:31

    Ever since the declaration of democracy we've achieved quite a lot in this country especially when it comes to world class sporting events of which you all know about, now can anyone of you name one thing that was achieved during the aparthied era??? Well, it's not like I'm expecting you to say anything that'll make sense anyway you can just keep it to yourselves and choke on it.

      fanie.gerber1972 - 2012-10-09 23:07

      OK You asked for it - Rooivalk attack helicopter - the Cheetah fighter - the CAVA fighter project - The nuclear weapons that was developed - The RSA series ballistic missiles - First Heart Transplant in the world? Over here Christian Barnard presiding - G5 and G6 Howitzers -Rooikat IFV -World renowned landmine protection systems -Deepest Gold mine in the world and the whole mining sector -All the Dams that where build -Virtually ALL the infrastructure around you -Elon Musk, Mark Shuttlecock - names ring any bells? apartheid era guys. ...need I continue? The list runs to thousands of points. Nothing racist about the above - It is a fact. and ALL of it is being put to shame with the massive mismanagement cockup the anc have created. One of the best of not the best electric cars in the world - with the exception of the Fisker ;-) - the Joule - the project would have created thousands of jobs on all levels, but no the anc government is not interested to become involved - it would rather waste money/do nothing about the education crisis.

      nicky.saaiman.1 - 2012-10-10 03:56

      Hallo 911 some idiot is choking.

      nicky.saaiman.1 - 2012-10-10 04:02

      Wat van rooikat en mvl.

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