Sekela Somlomo ohloniphekileyo, malungu abekekileyo, bantu baseMzantsi Afrika ndiyanibulisa ngale njikalanga.
The DA supports the Convention establishing the Square Kilometre Array, SKA, in the Northern Cape Karoo which is
the epitome of opportunity, innovation and excellence in which South Africa desperately needs today, particularly for education, our collapsing economy that have left 10 million South Africans unemployed, of which 57% of those faces are young people, and to tangibly lead the scientific charge in the wake of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The Square Kilometre Array will act as a catalyst for science, technology and engineering business opportunities, jobs and innovation, and has the potential to put South Africa on the map of excellence as a world big data and analytics hub. The multibillion rand SKA, is to be hosted in Africa and Australia, it will extend into eight African countries and will be the world's biggest telescope.
It is also one of the biggest-ever scientific projects and multinational collaborations in the name of science. The South African Karoo is soon becoming a home to this node of alien-hunting. The 64-dish MeerKAT telescope will add its gaze to those of other telescopes as they search the skies, furthermore, provide the local community and
South African economy with immense manufacturing, engineering, educational and employment opportunities.
The innovations, skills development and commercial potential emerging as a result of the project are huge. The human capital development is already taking place as a result of the SKA project, with bursaries and scholarships being granted to allow students to learn the necessary cutting- edge science, technology, maths and engineering skills to support the project.
This mega astronomy infrastructure bid is expected to result in investment of about R2 billion in the continent during construction of which already, R1,7 million has already been spent on material sourced from local suppliers in the Northern Cape for building the equipment of Hydro Energy Array. The SKA will drive the development of internet connectivity in both rural and urban areas to handle the big data project.
The World Bank study concluded that every 10% increase in bandwidth connectivity for developing countries produces 1,3% growth in gross domestic product, GDP, of the host
country. The local Carnovan Primary and High School have benefited from astronomy and computer laboratories being built as way of inculcating a culture of science and innovation with the project programme opportunities.
Furthermore, South African university based on radio astronomy courses are benefiting from the 900 grant bursaries created by the project as part of the programme for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. Undergraduate students also conduct outreach programmes designed to excite learners of the Northern Cape about the leading role that science can play in the province. Further Education and Training, FET and technical and vocational education and training, Tvet, students funded by SKA project are developed to be artisans.
It is during this time of excitement and uncertainty that we must commend the good work done by this Department of Science and Technology, even with the minimal budgetary resources that they get from the government. South Africa's success will be determined by our ability to generate knowledge and innovation with the appropriate human capital, infrastructure, financial support and
incentives to sustain the phases of our innovation process.
Therefore, it is high time that the Department of Science, Technology and Innovation is given a greater responsibility and funding to contributing to our crumbling basic and higher education system, to develop a curricular that is focused on problem-solving enhanced by a culture of science, innovation and technology. I thank you. We support this. [Applause.]