Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology to visit the Square Kilometre Array site near Carnarvon

The Department of Science and Innovation will host the annual meeting of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) African partner countries in Centurion on 14 October 2019. The meeting will be chaired by the Director-General of the Department, Dr Phil Mjwara.


This year's meeting will include a visit to the SKA/MeerKAT core site near Carnarvon in the Northern Cape on 15 October 2019.   The visit will be led by the Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Mr Buti Manamela, accompanied by the Premier of the Northern Cape, Dr Zamani Saul, and representatives of the SKA African partner countries.


The annual meeting of SKA African partner countries brings together science and technology ministers and senior officials from South Africa, Kenya, Madagascar, Zambia, Ghana, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique and Mauritius.


The main aim of the meeting is to provide political and strategic leadership on matters relating to SKA and African Very Long Baseline Interferometry Network (AVN) projects, as well as other relevant radio astronomy initiatives. This year's meeting will focus on advances in radio astronomy programmes and the combined effort to grow astronomy on the continent.


Last year's meeting was held in Cape Town, while in 2017 it took place in Accra, Ghana, to coincide with the launch of the Kuntunse Radio Telescope at the Ghana Radio Astronomy Observatory.  Ghana was the first SKA/AVN African partner country to complete the conversion of a redundant communications antenna into a functioning radio telescope, capable of operating as part of a global very long baseline interferometry network.


Members of the media are invited to attend the SKA Africa Partnership Ministerial Meeting as follows:


Date:          14 October 2019

Time:         13:00 – 13:30 (opening ceremony)

16:00 – 16:30 (media Q&A)

Venue:      Irene Country Lodge, Centurion


Date:          15 October 2019

Time:         10:00 – 13:00

Venue:      SKA/MeerKAT core site, Carnarvon


NB: Media attending the SKA/MeerKAT site visit will not be allowed to use video/audio recording equipment that has not been RFI tested and certified by the SKA South Africa office.


For more information, please contact Veronica Mohapeloa at 083 400 5750.


Issued by the Department of Science and Innovation


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