The South African Inter Ministerial Committee (IMC) on the Square Kilometre Array met in Cape Town today, 11 November 2010.
The South African Inter Ministerial Committee (IMC) on the Square Kilometre Array met in Cape Town today, 11 November 2010. The IMC was established following a Cabinet decision on 21 October 2009. South Africa is leading the African bid to host the world’s most powerful radio telescope known as the Square Kilometre Array. Winning this mega astronomy infrastructure project bid is expected to result in investment in Africa of approximately €200 million per annum over a 20-30 period for operations and maintenance.
The South African SKA IMC will provide strategic direction for the project on the following matters: local and international lobbying, site preparation in all the SKA partner countries, including regulatory and legal matters, and resolving high-level challenges as the bidding process approaches the final stages.
Minister of Economic Development, Ebrahim Patel
Minister of Public Enterprises, Malusi Gigaba
Minister of State Security, Siyabonga Cwele
Minister of Energy, Dipuo Peters
Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, Derek Hanekom
Deputy Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Marius Fransman and
Director-General of the Department of Science and Technology, Dr Phil Mjwara.
The Committee was briefed on the African bid for the Square Kilometre Array. In 2006 South Africa and Australia were shortlisted by the International Square Kilometre Array Steering Committee as the final contenders to host the SKA. A consortium of major international science funding agencies, in consultation with the SKA Science and Engineering Committee (SSEC), will announce the selected site for the SKA in 2012.
The SKA telescope will observe, capture and analyse radio signals from the immediate aftermath of the Big Bang. It will search for earth-like planets and potential for life elsewhere in the universe, test fundamental scientific theories such as the Einstein’s theory of gravity, and probe the dark energy of the universe.