skaBusinessLive reports that according to Northern Cape premier Zamani Saul, the Square Kilometre Array’s (SKA’s) huge scientific project in the Northern Cape should boost the local economy by creating employment.  

Delegates and representatives of the member states of the SKA project gathered at the project’s base near Carnarvon on Tuesday as part of an annual meeting.  The government has pumped R3.2bn in project investment into the MeerKAT telescope project – the precursor to the internationally funded SKA telescope.  A media release by the SA Radio Astronomy Observatory (Sarao) indicated that more than 100 local women were directly employed by Sarao from 2015 to 2017 and nearly 1,300 by subcontractors.  Through Sarao’s involvement, a local schools programme provided bursaries to promising students, and teachers have been appointed at Carnarvon High School.  But, Takalani Nemaungani of the department of science & innovation, said the budget for social outreach and other programmes was limited as the project was hugely infrastructure heavy, to which most of the budget had been allocated.  “We can only do so much.  We need the Northern Cape government to partner with us in terms of working towards realising some of the socioeconomic goals that we have,” he pointed out.

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