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Pandor pushes SKA project in Parliament

Naledi Pandor says the MeerKAT and SKA projects will push SA to become a big data global leader.

An artists impression of the SKA antennae. Picture: ska.ac.za

CAPE TOWN - Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor says the MeerKAT and Square Kilometre Array (SKA) projects will push South Africa to become a big data global leader.

The minister presented her department's budget vote in Parliament on Tuesday.

This year, R647 million of the department's R6.47 billion budget has been allocated to the MeerKAT project.

Pandor says it makes sense for the country to invest in making advances in astronomy.

"Countries always use their positive attributes to good effect for the country. Ours are these wonderful skies and the silence of the Karoo. So, we said we have geographic advantage here, let's make use of it to make use of it to get an iconic research infrastructure in Africa."

The MeerKAT radio telescope is currently being built in the Northern Cape and is a precursor to the SKA telescope.