Programme Director;

Distinguished guests;

Ladies and gentlemen:


It is my honour and privilege to deliver these closing remarks on the conclusion of the seventh edition of the Science Forum South Africa.

Over the years, Science Forum South Africa has become an important global platform for critical reflection on matters facing the scientific community and most importantly, those facing humanity.

Consistent with this realisation, we insisted that, even though the conditions we now live and work under are not ideal, owing to how the COVID-19 pandemic has altered our lives, we must still find a way of continuing to host this important platform.

We just concluded an exciting open session, in which we received a number of illuminating presentations. I wish to thank the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, not only for this opening remarks, but also for his strategic leadership in support of the objectives of this Forum.

Thank you to the Director of the Department of Science and Innovation, Dr Phil Mjwara for the presentation of the highlights of the Department’s Annual Report that included an insightful conversation with Prof Tulio de Oliviera of UKZN.

Our gratitude goes to our keynote speaker, Dr Martin Friede of the World Health Organisation. Thank you for enlightening us on the efforts to establish an m-RNA  COVID-19 vaccine production hub in South Africa.

Thank you also our esteemed panellists, Dr Thulani Dlamini of the CSIR, Dr Lawrence Banks of the ICGEB, Mr Daniel Ndima of CapeBio, Dr Val Munsami of SANSA and Dr Shamila Nair-Bedouelle, of UNESCO, for sharing their insights with us.

In conclusion, one of the key objectives of this forum is to foster international solidarity, through among others, cooperation and the sharing of expertise between countries and institutions, with the view to help resolve both national and global challenges.

It is for this reason that it gives me great pleasure to announce a new agreement between the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGB) and the Department of Science and Innovation with regard to South Africa’s support for hosting the ICGEB’s Africa component in Cape Town.

I have no doubt that this agreement will yield meaningful results for both institutions and would now like to invite Directors-General Banks and Mjwara to proceed to sign it, here in Pretoria but also in Trieste.  We may be geographically apart but we remain united in resolve to make science work for society.


Thank you Directors-General.

We look forward to the rest of the programme and invite you all to follow the different session online over the next two days.

Thank you.