Programme Director, Dr Phil Mjwira

Honourable Deputy President, Mr. David Mabuza

Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers

 

Honourable Members of the Executive Council

 

Executive Mayors and Councillors

 

SKA Project Director, Dr Rob Adam and your team

 

Director General of the SKA, Professor Phil Diamond

 

SKA Management team

 

Government officials

 

Community Members of Kareeberg Municipality

 

Members of the Media

 

Ladies and Gentlemen

 

On behalf of the people of the Northern Cape, I wish to express a warm welcome to the Honourable Deputy President, Mr. Mabuza on his initial visit to the SKA site. It is equally pleasing to have all the other distinguished guests in our beautiful province. We are truly humbled and honoured to have the privilege of your company today.

 

Today, our country and the Northern Cape Province take yet another step, carving its footprint into the scientific canvas that is unfolding for all to see. Today we are witnessing one of, if not the most significant of scientific instruments ever to be developed. We have over the years seen the evolution of what was just an idea, becoming the 7-dish Karoo Array Telescope and now the 64-Dish MeerKAT Telescope and its extensive infrastructure.

 

For all these developments, I think a special word of welcome needs to go towards the energetic and intellectually agile, SKA SA Project Engineers and Scientists, who made what we are about to witness a reality. Not forgetting the South African Government Officials for their efforts and inputs. From the side of our Province, we are certain that the name of our Province will be cited in all scientific publications that have and will emanate from the work done with this instrument.

 

A special welcome should also go to our learners who are participating in the SKA Undergraduate Bursary Programme. We are proud and want to express our gratitude for their academic achievements and are looking forward to the first cohort of local graduates at the end of this academic year.

 

Our involvement with the SKA Project makes this the most interesting and fulfilling project that we have ever been partners to. The Northern Cape Province is a proud partner in the development of this mega science project. We see our partnership strengthening and are waiting to see ourselves as co-contributors to the growth that the project is going to bring to the general body of scientific knowledge.

 

 

The SKA Project has been very involved and has not limited itself solely to the building of the telescope and for that we are grateful. With the support of the SKA SA Project Office, tremendous inroads have been made into the education sector in this area This includes the establishment of the cyber lab, computer laboratory,  community computer centre as well as the technical training facility at Klerefontein, to mention a few.

 

Honourable Deputy President, The Northern Cape Province in partnership with the National Department of Science and Technology, has since 2006 been involved in the South African effort to host this mega-science instrument, the Square Kilometre Array Telescope. With so much more happening in terms of development around the SKA, we as a Province can only continue to pledge our strongest and unconditional support towards this project.

 

I invite you now to take the time to savour the moment as we are about to witness, yet again, this country’s scientific and technological prowess. Having shared these few thoughts, I trust that you will feel welcome in the company of the people of the Northern Cape.

 

I thank you