Programme Director;

SANSA Board, led by the Board Chairperson, Ms Nomfuneko Majaja;

DSI Director-General, Dr Phil Mjwara;

Deputy Director General, Mr Mmboneni Muofhe;

SANSA CEO, Dr Val Munsami,

Other DDG present;

My Advisors;

All public servants present;

Members of the media;

Ladies and gentlemen

 

Let me take this opportunity to congratulate the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) for having been  awarded a significant R4.47 billion in additional funding over the next three years, to develop the Space Infrastructure Hub as part of our Government’s Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium (SIDS) initiative.

 

I thank the  board, the senior management and all employees of SANSA for this ground breaking achievement.

 

As a Department we stay true to our impact statement, that we are "Enabling South Africa's sustainable and inclusive development in the face of rapid technological change and innovation". 

 

This, very much in line with our new name, the Department of Science and Innovation, which represents a unique opportunity to demonstrate how science and innovation can contribute to socio-economic well-being.

 

Our achievement today for the development of the Space Infrastructure Hub will indeed go a long way to ensure that we grow our capacity and infrastructure to continue to champion our world-class space science research and innovation.

 

This Space Infrastructure Hub marks a significant milestone for the South African space sector to build an indigenous space capability that will service the needs of South Africa.

 

The project will position space data as a tool for sustainable development, especially addressing our government’s national priorities and for commercial use in thematic areas such as remote sensing, navigation, and space sciences.

 

At the start of the new year SANSA submitted a proposal for consideration, as part of the Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium (SIDS).

 

The SIDS is an intervention, introduced by the President Cyril Ramaphosa, to focus investments in infrastructure as part of South Africa’s economic recovery plan.

 

SANSA has been part of the process for several months and attending technical meetings hosted by the Presidency on a weekly basis. As part of the process, SANSA presented a pitch based on our proposal for a SIH to service government’s needs to over 60 Investment Institutions. Indications provided suggest that there was significant interest from a number of investment institutions towards the SANSA bid.

 

On 23 June 2020, the President hosted the SIDS and off the 270 or so projects that were submitted for consideration, 88 projects were classified as bankable (i.e. shovel ready).

 

Of these 88 projects, five were considered high priority for the country in terms of the associated impact that was expected.

 

SANSA pitch for a SIH was considered as one of the top five projects earmarked as high priority for the country.

 

The total value of the SANSA pitch was R4.47 billion of blended financing (parliamentary grants, debt and equity financing) over three years with an expected Internal Rate of Return of 11% over the next 10 years.

 

 

 

 

 

The projected rate of return is based on:

 

  • the provision of essential services for use by government departments for evidence-based policy making, based on spatial data spanning as far back as the early 1970s, and

 

  • accurate location based services through operationalising a satellite based augmentation service (SBAS) that was piloted in Southern Africa approximately five (5) years ago.

 

Our concept of SPACE INFRASTRUCTURE HUB (SIH) is based on the space value chain.

 

  • This will include, a number of satellite builds (Earth observation and science missions);

 

  • a new ground segment;

 

  • an expanded data segment;

 

  • a new data visualisation centre;

 

  • activation of the satellite based augmentation system over Southern Africa;

 

  • the development of products and services for use across all spheres of government, and

 

 

  • human capital development and training.

 

The SIH also includes other projects for which separate ring-fenced funding (estimates provided) has already been secured largely through our Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), namely:

 

  • Upgrade of the Houwteq Facility – R75 million;

 

  • Establishment of a Concurrent Engineering Design Facility – R25 million;

 

  • Establishment of a new Space Weather Centre – R90 million;

 

  • Establishment of an Earth Observation Data Cube facility – R12.5 million; and

 

  • A Research, Development and Innovation Fund for the development of products and services – R60 million.

 

In this regard, a considerable amount of work has been expended towards securing these investment streams, which required a concerted team effort.

 

However, significant emphasis will now need to be expended in repositioning/reshaping the organisation to deliver on these exciting projects, which will require us to work seamlessly, with great speed and efficiency, whilst ensuring maximum impact, in order to deliver against our promised value proposition to potential investors.

 

Once we deliver on the promised value proposition, this will mean certain investments over the long-term, which will bolster SANSA’s financial sustainability and that of the local space sector into the foreseeable future.

 

Our next action:

 

SANSA  will continue to meet with the Investment and Infrastructure Office (IIO) in the Presidency on a regular basis to discuss our next steps.

 

I must also indicate that in order to unlock the investment funding for the Space Infrastructure Hub (SIH), there are four studies that need to be conducted and these include:

 

  1. A Bankable Feasibility Study;
  2. A Market Analysis Study;
  3. A Socio-Economic Case Study, and
  4. An SIH Programme Implementation Plan.

 

On the Bankable Feasibility Study -  a request has already been sent to the Capital Projects Appraisal Unit of the Government Technical Assistance Centre (GTAC) of National Treasury to assist in this study.

 

On the Market Analysis and Socio-Economic Studies - a Terms of Reference is being developed following which the work will be contracted to a consulting company that has experience in conducting such studies. These studies need to be concluded as soon as possible in order to unlock the investment that is earmarked for the SIH.

 

We have also set up a SANSA SIH Leadership Team that will (i) drive the delivery of the aforementioned studies and SIH Programme Implementation Plan, and (ii) identify the SIH workstreams, the methodology to be followed, and the resourcing required for its delivery.

 

Funding for these studies can be accessed through the Project Preparation Fund that resides with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), but this is subject to the scheduling of SANSA being resolved first.

 

Regular meetings are being scheduled with the Investment and Infrastructure Office (IIO) to ensure that SANSA is guided in the process to securing the funding.

 

Ms Andiswa Mlisa is the Executive identified as the SANSA interlocutor that will work directly with the IIO.

 

In addition, the CEO serves on an Infrastructure Committee of the Economic Sectors, Employment and Infrastructure  Development Cluster (ESEID).

 

The Infrastructure Committee comprises of representatives of public sector institutions (primarily CEOs), whereas the Cluster itself is served by Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Directors-General.

 

The primary role of the ESEID Infrastructure Committee is to assist with project preparation of key infrastructure builds, and to contribute to the development of the 2045 National Infrastructure Plan.

 

I now will hand over to the CEO to make a presentation on the hub and its implications to our country.

 

I thank you