Minister of Science and Technology Budget Speech & response by IFP


09 May 2018

Minister of Science and Technology, Ms Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, gave her Budget Vote Speech on the 9 May 2018.


House Chairperson, Honourable Members
Chairpersons of public entity boards and councils
CEOs of public entities
Vice Chancellors
Deputy Vice-Chancellors for Research
Research Chairs
Traditional leaders
Partners and guests
Ladies and gentlemen


Today, the Department of Science and Technology honours the centenary of one of the great daughters of Africa by presenting its budget vote under the themeAdvancing the Legacy of Mama Albertina Sisulu through people-centred science and technology.

We are honoured to have a representative of the Sisulu family, Ms Nontsikelelo Sisulu-Singapi, in the gallery. 

Mama Albertina Sisulu dedicated her life to the struggle for a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society, fighting for the emancipation of women and the liberation of South Africa.  As a leader and a mother, Mama Sisulu made it her mission to ensure that the land would be shared by all who live in it, black and white. One of the few women to be present at the founding of the ANC Youth League in September 1944, Mama Sisulu was a founder member of the Federation of South African Women, and a member of the ANC Women's League from 1955, as well as co-president of the United Democratic Front in the 1980s.  She was a member of South Africa's first democratic Parliament from 1994 to 1998.

She was present at the adoption of the Freedom Charter by the Congress of the People, and she would be rejoicing today to see the democratic government opening the doors of learning through its fee-free higher education initiative. We are confident that the initiative will allow many more to take up careers in science, technology and innovation.

We are also sure that Mama Sisulu, who trained as a nurse, would have encouraged students and graduates to focus the results of their learning on making people's lives better. Decades of commitment to the Albertina Sisulu Foundation, dedicated to helping old people and children, followed her tireless efforts to have exiles return home and political prisoners freed.

Today I stand before you to celebrate the strength of her leadership and her contribution to building the South Africa we live in today.  In honour of Mama Sisulu, we aim to advance the goals of the National Development Plan by harnessing science, technology and innovation for the socio-economic development of all South Africans.

Chairperson, it is important at this point that we mention another towering figure of the liberation struggle, the late Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, former Deputy Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology in the first post-apartheid Cabinet.  Mama Winnie helped to lay a solid foundation for the establishment of the Department of Science and Technology and South Africa's national system of innovation. 

Honourable Members, science, technology and innovation are fundamental not only to achieving the goals of the National Development Plan, but also for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by UN member states in 2015.  If we are to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set out in the Agenda, we need to galvanise science, technology and innovation across all disciplines to generate the knowledge we need to address global challenges, today and in the future.

The Department of Science and Technology, is partnering with Future Earth, the National Research Foundation and START on a conference, starting tomorrow in Port Elizabeth, that will focusing on the role of science in society and sustainability in Africa.

This year we will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of our entities, the Human Sciences Research Council. In marking this milestone, we encourage the HSRC to go further in its mandate to promote research that improves our understanding of social conditions and the process of social change. 

Another anniversary to celebrate this year is the 20th year of the L'Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Programme.  This prestigious initiative recently honoured five exceptional women from across the world, one of whom was Professor Heather Zar of the University of Cape Town and the Red Cross Children's Hospital.  Professor Zar, who is with us in the gallery, was recognised for her cutting-edge research on pneumonia, tuberculosis and asthma among young children.  We applaud her people-centric scientific work.

Two other South African-based researchers who have won prestigious international awards recently are Professor Robert Millar, Director of the Centre for Neuro-endocrinology at the University of Pretoria, and Professor Malik Maaza, the UNESCO-Unisa Africa Chair in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology.  In 2017, both were recipients of the African Union's highest scientific honour, the Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Excellence Award.

Science, technology and innovation context

Honourable Members, in 1994 we inherited a fractured society, a fiscally drained state and an unsustainable, resource-intensive economic growth path.  The pre-1994 science and technology system was small, exclusive and tailored to the apartheid agenda rather than orientated towards inclusive development and social equity.

Over the past two decades, we have made meaningful progress with the introduction of the White Paper on Science and Technology and related policy documents, such as the National Research and Development Strategy and Ten-Year Innovation Plan, aimed at transforming the science, technology and innovation system to serve all South Africans, to expand and transform human resources, to increase financial resources and promote innovation to support socio-economic development. 

Chairperson, our science system remains small and fragmented, and while our efforts in creating institutions, building relationships and facilitating coherence are beginning to bear fruit, there are still challenges.  Our recent reviews point to issues such as non-inclusive agenda setting, insufficient involvement of business and civil society, significant underfunding, and inadequate high-level science, engineering and technology skills for the economy.

As we mark 24 years of freedom and democracy, despite the progress we have made, a recently released World Bank report shows South Africa to be the most unequal society of the 149 countries studied.  In the third quarter of 2017 the official unemployment figure was 27,7%, and youth unemployment was at 38,6%, leaving many leaving many young people on the margins of society.

The National Development Plan, aimed to fight the interlinked challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequity, accords science, technology and innovation a central role in this struggle.  Our national system of innovation has the potential to contribute significantly to improving the quality of education, accelerating skills development, building the capacity of the state, and increasing employment through faster economic growth. 

Honourable Members, while we have created and maintained an enabling policy environment for over two decades, and made significant strides in realising the goals we set for ourselves, we now need to accelerate our work. 

Science, technology and innovation have the potential to make a far greater impact on our country than they currently do.  They should play an instrumental role in improving public service delivery, informing official decision-making, increasing the competitiveness of existing firms and supporting new technology-based firms, modernising existing industries such as agriculture and mining while developing emerging industries, and through all of this, improving the quality of life of our people.

It is against this background that we are finalising a new White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation, and have commissioned the National Advisory Council on Innovation to work on a framework for a new decadal plan. 

The premise of our new White Paper is that science, technology and innovation are vital for shaping an inclusive and sustainable South African society.  The draft White Paper seeks, among other things, to take advantage of opportunities presented by global megatrends such the emergence of new technologies, including artificial intelligence and additive manufacturing.  In this regard, we will host the second Deep Learning Indaba in Cape Town this year in order to build strategic partnerships with industry and various government departments as we prepare our response to the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the opportunities it brings.

Through the new White Paper, we aim to expand on what has worked and, where necessary, to propose new approaches.  This will include strengthening and transforming institutions, increasing funding and expanding human capabilities.

Most importantly, however, the White Paper recognises that inclusivity is central to the national system of innovation, both in terms of promoting social justice and of fostering a system in which creativity and learning can flourish.

As we start this journey towards the White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation, we should all be inspired by the words of Chief Albert Luthuli, the first Africa's Nobel Peace Laureate, who remarked: "Scientific inventions, at all levels, should enrich human life".  Our primary task is to ensure the realisation of this vision by transforming our society through science, technology and innovation.

The world is rapidly changing and countries are grappling with how to use scientific advances to meet new challenges and build resilience.  As a country entering a new dawn, we should embrace the potential of science, technology and innovation to help us seize the opportunities and ameliorate the risks that arise in an increasingly interconnected and globalised environment. 

This financial year is the fourth of the Department of Science and Technology's five-year Strategic Plan (2015-2020), as we move towards the end of the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) period. 

We have made considerable progress in achieving the outcomes set out in the Strategic Plan.  Among other developments, we have secured Cabinet approval for a sovereign innovation fund as a strategic public-private partnership to enhance investment levels further along the innovation chain, and we are working with the National Treasury and the Departments of Trade and Industry and Small Business Development towards the finalisation of the concept.  Cabinet has also approved a budget coordination instrument for improved budget coordination in relation to the national system of innovation that will be phased in over a period of three years.

Honourable Members, given the current economic climate, characterised by low levels of growth and competing priorities for public funding, it is unlikely that we will reach the MTSF target of growing gross expenditure on research and development to 1,5% of GDP by 2019.

Our gross expenditure on research and development has held steady at about 0,7% of GDP in a challenging environment.  On a positive note, the contribution of business to research and development has grown steadily since 1996, placing our country ahead of emerging economies such as Chile and Turkey. 

Chairperson, if we are to fulfil the ambitions of the new White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation, and address the priorities set out in the National Development Plan, adequate funding for research and development is key. 

Between 2007 and 2013, our partners in the BRICS family, India and China, have grown their investment in research and development by 18% and 92%, respectively.  By contrast, recent reviews all point to the fact that our national system of innovation is underfunded.

A key imperative of the Department is transformation.  There is a need to diversify opportunities for the youth through technology-based youth entrepreneurship and SME development, to grow and develop the research cohort to be representative of the country's demographics, to increase the participation of women in research and innovation, and to ensure the growth and diversification of the science, technology and innovation institutional landscape.

This year we plan to finalise amendments to the National Research Foundation Act, which will pave the way for strategic communication through the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement.  We also intend to harmonise the legislation regarding public entities reporting to the Department.

Achievements in the 2017/18 financial year

Chairperson, the Department made several commitments in the previous financial year, and I would like to report on our progress in this regard. 

Research Development and Support, NRF, SACNASP

We pleased to announce that we have reached a major milestone with the completion of the 64-dish radio telescope known as the MeerKAT. The MeerKAT was built through our agency, the National Research Foundation (NRF), and the Square Kilometre Array Project at a cost of R3,2 billion – exactly the cost projected originally in 2007/08.  The MeerKAT has been declared a national key point to protect this investment.

The expenditure on the SKA project thus far has been R4,4 billion. This expenditure includes the R3,2 billion for the MeerKAT, as well as land acquisition, the resurfacing of 80 kilometres of road to the site, the construction of 110 kilometres of powerlines and the MeerKAT data centre, as well as the precursor Karoo Array Telescope and human capital development for the wider Square Kilometre Array project.

Ghana recently become the first of South Africa's eight African SKA partner countries to complete the conversion of a communications antenna into a functioning radio telescope.  This telescope was successfully launched by the President of Ghana on 24 August 2017.

Chairperson, the Department has developed a Multi-Wavelength Astronomy Strategy through which we will secure South Africa's position as a global leader in astronomy. This strategy is specifically drafted to ensure that the MeerKAT complements our other big astronomy investments – in the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) and several other telescopes under the South African Astronomical Observatory.

SALT also played an important role in the key astronomy event of 2017, when for the first time in global astronomy both gravitational waves and electromagnetic radiation were observed from the same source.

Honourable Members, since 2005 we have provided 961 grants, bursaries and fellowships as part of our quest to grow the pipeline from undergraduate degrees through to post-doctoral fellowships, research chairs, artisans and technicians.  In the next 10 years, we will award an additional 700 grants, bursaries and fellowships. 

Astronomy, like other fields of science today, require massive computing power and data storage capacity. In this context, we gave funding support to the Centre for High Performance Computing to install a new supercomputer that provides over 1 000 teraflops of computing power for research in the country, both in academia and industry.  This facility was rated first in Africa and 127th in the world in the Top 500 list announced during the International Supercomputing Conference in Germany last year, where our students took second prize in the prestigious International Cluster Competition.  In fact, South Africa has come first or second in this major international competition for the last seven years, competing against teams from all over the world, including countries regarded as world giants in computing, such as the US and China.

Last year, the Department also announced initiatives aimed at supporting an increased number of postgraduate students, promoting the growth and transformation of knowledge workers in our system, and facilitating both increased knowledge production and better exploitation of knowledge for development. 

In pursuit of our NDP target of 100 PhDs per million of the population by 2030, we reached the milestone of 50 PhDs per million of the population. In 2017/18, we supported over 14 000 postgraduate students. With 78% of these students being black and 57% being female, the equity profile closely matches the targets set out in the 2013 Ministerial Guidelines.  In addition, 897 fellowships were awarded to postdoctoral researchers. 

Over the five-year period 2012/13 to 2016/17, the Department, through the Thuthuka Programme, Newton Fellowships and the New Generation of Academics Programme, supported 1 688 emerging researchers with grants.  In the previous financial year, 64% of Thuthuka grant holders were black and 60% were women – which we aim to increase further as we drive our transformation agenda in honour of Mama Sisulu. 

Chairperson, we continue to expand the South African Research Chairs Initiative.  Last year the number of chairs grew from 199 to 226, of which 215 are operational.  Some of these were the result of fruitful collaboration with the Department of Higher Education and Training, and with partner country Namibia on the Square Kilometre Array.  Through bursaries linked to the initiative, we supported 1 147 postgraduate students.

Across all funding instruments, the DST, through the NRF, awarded grants to 4 707 researchers.  These researchers produced a combined total of 9 255 internationally peer-reviewed research articles. 

As we celebrate the Mama Sisulu Centenary, we are driving various initiatives aimed at addressing poverty, inequality and unemployment.  These included initiatives aimed at transforming society in the areas of children's rights, child support and youth empowerment on the basis of research findings from our centres of excellence.

I am pleased to report that in 2017/18, we enrolled 622 interns through the DST-NRF Internship Programme.  These interns were placed at host institutions throughout the country to be guided and trained by experienced mentors.  In addition, 201 graduate youth volunteers were supported through the Department's National Youth Service Programme.

Further, we supported a memorandum of understanding between the National Research Foundation's iThemba LABS and the Botswana International University of Science and Technology.  The collaboration is aimed at investigating the dose-effect relationship for meat products exposed to different temperature conditions. 

In order to equip our radioisotope scientists at iThemba LABS, we also approved a memorandum of understanding with the National Institute for Nuclear Science and Technology in France for the development of a model for a training institute. 

Our South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP) is emerging as a key partner in the evaluation of critical skills in the natural sciences.  SACNASP has been engaged to assist the Department of Home Affairs with evaluation, and these services have been extended to the Departments of Environmental Affairs, Public Works, and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.  Last year, SACNASP experienced healthy growth with 2 045 new registrations, bringing the total number of registered scientists to 12 713.

Socio-economic Innovation Partnerships, CSIR, HSRC

Last year we hosted the inaugural Youth Assembly on the knowledge economy, which attracted a variety of young people – from grassroots innovators to representatives of youth formations in industry and academia.  The Assembly concluded with a joint declaration that will guide our ongoing efforts to support young people. 

Chairperson, we continue to make steady progress in both the technical and the commercialisation fronts, with our Aeroswift and titanium metal powder projects.  The next six to nine months will be critical for defining the long-term direction of these initiatives with regard to the commercialisation of the technologies as we advance towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The CSIR is also continuing discussions with Boeing, Airbus and Safran, among others, to start printing their components through the 3D additive manufacturing facility that forms part of the Aeroswift technology platform. This follows the production of six unique parts that were commissioned and produced for the AHRLAC light reconnaissance aircraft which flew in July last year. 

Over the past five years, the CSIR has supported several initiatives aimed at stimulating industrial development through technological innovation.  As part of this, the CSIR has invested significantly in the development of Project Synapse, a new organisational strategy which seeks to build on the strength of the organisation's science, engineering and technological base in order to amplify its focus on industrial development. 

An emerging suite of initiatives that will form part of Project Synapse will aim, among others, at developing capability for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, addressing gaps in national manufacturing capabilities to reduce South Africa's balance of payments deficit, adding value to produce and redistribution value in the agroprocessing initiative, and converting the country's resource advantage to a materials advantage. 

Honourable members, I recently had the opportunity to launch the Biorefinery Industrial Development Facility in Durban, as part of the Industry Innovation Programme aimed at enhancing industry competitiveness and creating jobs.  The facility seeks to address declines in the forestry, paper and pulp sector by piloting alternative biomass technologies. 

Chairperson, our agency, the Human Sciences Research Council, is playing a significant role in research aimed at informing policy.  Last year, on behalf of the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, the HSRC conducted research on the impact of decisions of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal on transformation in society.  The research report was approved by Cabinet and will help inform dialogue on how to improve the socio-economic conditions of our people.

The HSRC also finalised a report on spatial inequalities for the Parliamentary High Level Panel on the Assessment of Key Legislation and the Acceleration of Fundamental Change, chaired by former President Kgalema Motlanthe.  This report examined the reasons for the persistence of spatial inequality in the country and offered solutions for creating a more equal society.

Further, the HSRC developed innovative strategies for supporting and empowering parents affected by HIV and poverty in high-prevalence settings such as South Africa. This initiative, known as the Amagugu Intervention, provides a model for increasing HIV disclosure and parent-led communication about health between HIV-infected parents and HIV-uninfected primary school-aged children.  The intervention has led to an increase in disclosures, which rose to 87%. In a randomised control trial testing Amagugu against the standard of care, the researchers found that mothers receiving care under the Amagugu Intervention were nine times more likely to make a disclosure, 27 times more likely to take their child to a clinic visit to meet her HIV health provider, and five times more likely to have made a custody plan for periods of illness and twice as likely to appoint a guardian.

Technology Innovation, TIA, SANSA

Our annual Innovation Bridge technology matchmaking event, hosted through the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), showcases the most promising technologies from publicly funded research in South Africa.  Last year's event drew more than 600 participants, including local and international stakeholders and investors in our national system of innovation. 

A few weeks ago, I visited the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Bellville for a ceremony to send the ZACUBE-2 satellite to India, where it is to be sent into orbit in July.  To date we have spent R14,5 million on the ZACUBE-2, which will make a significant contribution to Operation Phakisa – tracking ocean traffic within South Africa's exclusive economic zone and improving the safety of our ships.  The initiative has also produced 59 master's students and four PhDs, and reached more than 5 000 learners through outreach and awareness activities during the build-up.  We applaud our young scientists from CPUT, some of whom are with us in the gallery.

Chairperson, our country has an opportunity to become the leading African country in space weather research and operations.  Last month, I also visited the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) weather centre in Hermanus.  SANSA has spent R1,3 million on upgrading this centre, following a recent assessment of the centre's potential to be a regional provider of space weather information to the international air navigation sector, and we are looking forward to SANSA being approved as regional space weather provider. 

SANSA is also playing a crucial role in decision support, having distributed at least 50 000 images in the previous financial year to assist farmers and government departments with their planning.  The entity further generated R58 million from local and international contracts for space operations, created 55 jobs, and supported SMEs to the tune of R11,9 million. 

Last year in April, the Inaugural Survey of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer at Publicly Financed Research Institutions was launched.  A partnership between the Department, the National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO) and the Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association, the survey was implemented by the Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators at the Human Sciences Research Council.

The survey revealed that the South African publicly financed technology transfer ecosystem, though very young, is showing some encouraging trends as a result of NIPMO's nurturing of ideas from research to commercialisation. In particular, the number of new disclosures, largely for new inventions, made by researchers to the offices of technology transfer at their universities and science councils increased over the period of the survey (2008-2014).  This increase was greater than the increase in research expenditure over the same period.

Similarly, an increase was observed in the number of new patent applications filed – growing the intellectual property portfolio of our institutions. It is heartening to see that our institutions are increasingly ensuring that the intellectual property in their portfolio is used for social and economic impact.

This is reflected in the number of licensing agreements our institutions signed with an existing or new company to ensure that the resultant products, processes and services, for which intellectual property protection exists, ends up in the market place and is available to consumers and users.  The number of licence agreements quadrupled with the number of new companies or start-ups formed (45) of which 73% was based on publicly financed intellectual property. 

Chairperson, it is against this background that the review of the Intellectual Property Rights from Publicly Financed Research and Development Act as well as its implementing office, the National Intellectual Property Management Office, was initiated during 2017/18 and will be completed during this financial year to assess the impact of this piece of legislation within the National System of Innovation. 

In particular, the review will give consideration to policy coherence, impact on the quadruple helix from industry and SMMEs, to the public to academia and government, through to NIPMOs regulatory and enabling functions as well NIPMOs instruments that enable implementation and compliance and the effectivity thereof.  This review is being carried out by a balanced panel with vast amounts of local and international experience and as such we are looking forward to their deliberations and any possible improvements/ amendments that can be made to improve the functioning of NIPMO and ultimately positively impact on the contribution of publicly financed IP emanating research and development within our ecosystem.

Building our human capital and infrastructure

I am pleased to present the Department of Science and Technology budget vote for 2018/19. Our budget for this financial year is R7,8 billion. Of this, 92% of the total comprises of transfers and subsidies, the 8% remain in the department mainly for administrative expenses. Our public entities receive 38% of the transfers and subsidies in a form of parliamentary grants. The parliament grants for this financial year per entity are as follows:

  • The South African National Space Agency is allocated R138 million;
  • The Technology Innovation Agency is allocated R420 million;
  • The Academy of Sciences of South Africa is allocated R25,7 million;
  • The National Research Foundation is allocated R904,8 million;
  • The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research is allocated R963,2 million; and
  • The Human Sciences Research Council is allocated R303,7 million

Research Development and Support, NRF, ASSAf and SACNASP

Chairperson, an amount of R4, 4 billion is allocated to our Research Development and Support Programme to support, among others, the country's ambitions as set out in the National Development Plan. 

We plan to invest R1, 4 billion in the 2018/19 financial year to support at least 10 800 pipeline students (honours and master's), 3 100 PhD students, 4 500 researchers, and 690 interns.  Over the MTEF period this investment will increase to R4, 6 billion.  Our DST-NRF Internship Programme has supported 4 904. The NRF will place another 1 851 interns over the MTEF period.  This empowerment of young people further demonstrates our commitment to advancing the legacy of Mama Sisulu through people-centred science and technology. Furthermore, through the NRF, we have partnered with the National Student Financial Aid Scheme on initiatives that will increase access to funding for financially needy postgraduate students. 

I wish to applaud the support from business for our emerging researchers.  Through the DST-NRF partnership, the First Rand Foundation has contributed R82,5 million to this initiative, which seeks to increase the proportion of suitably qualified black and female academics and academics with disabilities at South Africa's public universities through accelerated doctoral and postdoctoral training for full-time academics. 

We have set the following targets for this initiative:  90% black African people, and 10% Indian and coloured people and people with disabilities in any discipline or field.  Fifty-five percent of all grants will be prioritised for women.

Our support for Phase 1 of the global Square Kilometre Array project will continue over the next three years, with an amount of R2, 3 billion set aside over the MTEF period.  We have also secured all 42 farm portions required for SKA Phase 1.  An allocation of R709 million is provided for the SKA this year.

In anticipation of SKA Phase 1, the Department will finalise the convention establishing the SKA Observatory. It is expected that this convention will be signed by the end of this year.

We will also continue this year with the modernisation of the SAAO telescopes and instruments in Sutherland.  We have established the remote observation capabilities for the 1 metre and 1.9 metre telescopes and the commissioning of the new Lesedi telescope.  SAAO, in collaboration with the University of Cape Town and international partners, has installed the MeerLICHT telescope on the observation plateau.  We plan to launch the MeerLICHT telescope in June this year.

During the period under review, 72 research infrastructure grants were awarded to universities, museums and science councils, through the research equipment programmes of the NRF, as well as targeted projects such as the titanium pilot plant, a manganese precursor pilot plant and hydrogen fuel cell platform for clean mining. We have also continued to implement the thirteen national research infrastructures established under the South African Research Infrastructure Roadmap (SARIR). For the 2018/19 financial year, a total of R654 million has been earmarked for research infrastructure.

An additional R236 million to maintain and expand broadband network connectivity and high performance computing to improve our cyber infrastructure. 

Chairperson, the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) receives an allocation of R25, 6 million to continue building and transforming the Academy, and to strengthen its leadership role on our continent and beyond. 

We plan to finalise the first phase of a scientometric study to determine the state of the basic sciences in the country in terms of support, vulnerability and impact.  The Department has commissioned the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology at the University of Stellenbosch to conduct this study.  Its outcomes will influence the deployment of resources to build capacity and capability in this area

Harnessing science and technology for economic development

Our innovation Programmes, Socio-economic Innovation Partnerships and Technology Innovation, receive an allocation of R1,8 billion and R1,1 billion respectively. 

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)

The Department has partnered with the Chamber of Mines, MEMSA and the Department of Trade and Industry to transform an under-utilised facility in Carlow Road, Johannesburg, into a space where researchers and the mining industry can generate the knowledge and technologies essential for next-generation mining.  This major milestone for the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research is to be named the Mandela Mining Precinct in honour of the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's birth.

As a result of the partnership, the Department will invest R186 million over the next three years – starting with R63 million this year – in targeted research and development to support the next generation of mining.  Industry, for its part, has committed a co-investment of R33 million in the initiative, and for this they should be applauded. 

We are confident that the level of investment from these partners will increase over time to assist South Africa with critical mining challenges and to position the country as a leader in the mining equipment space.

Our attempts to foster industrial and scientific research in the national interest through multidisciplinary research and technological innovation will continue to be implemented through the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research

I also wish to applaud the CSIR's National Centre for Nano-Structured Materials, which marked 10 years of existence last year.  The centre conducts world-class research and development in nanotechnology, and has supported more than 130 postdoctoral fellows, PhD and master's students, and produced top rated articles with more than 8 000 citations.

Our Industry Innovation Programme, which has led to the establishment of the Biomanufacturing Industry Development Centre and the Nanomaterials Industrial Development Facility, will this year launch the Nano-micro Device Manufacturing Facility. 

Honourable Members, our economy needs significant investment in both agriculture and manufacturing.  The Department's investments to date have assisted the agricultural sector to improve its export products.  Over the next three years, we have set aside a further R70 million to build on what we have achieved in increasing levels of co-funding through our Sector Innovation Funds. 

We will also continue to expand our mLab initiative beyond Gauteng and the Western Cape.  MLabs play a vital role in helping entrepreneurs and SMEs in the ICT sector to take advantage of the growing mobile application economy, providing young people with opportunities to gain highly sought after coding skills, participate in industrial research and development and establish new businesses. This is in line with creating new skills required in the fourth industrial society.

We will continue to undertake and coordinate research in the human and social sciences that informs policy through the Human Sciences Research Council. This year, we plan to release results of fifth South African National HIV, Behaviour and Health Survey, which was introduced in 2002, and is funded by both local and international sources.

The survey aims to determine the HIV status of participants, estimate the number of individuals recently infected, determine the numbers on antiretroviral medicine (where applicable), and assess the level of resistance to ARVs by those already on the treatment programme. The study will also identify the prevalence of behavioural and social factors that put South Africans at risk of contracting the virus. These include alcohol and substance abuse, circumcision status and high-risk sexual behaviour.  One of the objectives of the survey is also to track access to different types of HIV and health education and/or communication interventions and to evaluate several national HIV communication programmes.

Recent introduction of novel laboratory methodologies in the survey protocol has enabled direct estimation of exposure to antiretroviral therapy among people living with HIV, as well as direct HIV incidence measures from laboratory tests on blood specimens.

The report on the survey is currently being finalized and the results are due to be released in July 2018. 

Technology Innovation, Technology Innovation Agency (TIA)

Members of the Portfolio Committee on Science and Technology recently had an opportunity to visit the AgriProtein fly farm, which uses technology to convert waste into nutrients for animal feed.  The Department, through the TIA, invested R11,9 million to expand this facility from a tiny research site in Stellenbosch to a full-scale factory of about 10 000 square metres in the heart of Philippi.

Chairperson, the facility in Philippi, an economically distressed area, has secured approximately 85 million US dollars for licencing and rolling out the technology locally and internationally.  An additional two plants are being developed in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. In the gallery are Vuyokazi Mama, Zanita Mngambi, March Lewis, Thomas Orr and Lucile Warner. 

Furthermore, in our quest to support industry, we intend to launch a fully operational photonics facility.  To this end, we are working on the development of a low-cost, robust and reproducible miniaturised rangefinder for the archery industry, as well as the second prototype for a fingerprint sensor that can extract 3D internal fingerprints from both live and latent fingerprints.  

This is a particularly worthwhile investment, as our government holds a 47, 5% stake in Biovac.  Biovac has also secured contracts in the SADC region, and over the past five years has attracted foreign direct investment through technology transfers from leading companies such as Sanofi in France and Pfizer in the USA.  We are also joined in the gallery by Dr Morena Makhoana, the CEO of Biovac, Cecile Ann McBride, Glynnis Adams, Zamachunu Mchunu and Ncumisa Matu, who are workers from the plant. 

Last month, I launched a 3-kilowatt hydrogen fuel cell system at Poelano Secondary, a disadvantaged school on the farm Goedgevonden in Ventersdorp, North West.  We have invested R10 million in the project to provide the school with an alternative clean energy source. The school's Principal, Mr Gerald Mhlanga, his deputy Mmatlou Matlala, and Governing Body Chairperson, Mr Joseph Molalo, are also are in the gallery. 

This project demonstrates to learners, teachers and the community that science can solve socio-economic problems, especially in rural areas. The project was implemented through our Hydrogen South Africa Programme, which uses platinum group metal resources, and innovative hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, to enable the development of high-value commercial activities. 

We will continue to pursue solutions in the public transport sector, using HySA technology in support of the Department of Trade and Industry programme to roll out hydrogen fuel cell buses in metropolitan areas.  Our work on HySA was profiled at an International Energy Expo in Kazakhstan last year.  An amount of R67 million is set aside for the continued implementation of our hydrogen strategy. 

Chairperson, in the previous financial year the Department set aside R2 million for a pilot model to empower grassroots innovators to leverage value from their innovations.  The pilot was informed by the many young and unemployed innovators who use local resources to develop promising technologies and solutions outside of formal institutions. 

We plan to expand this initiative through a technology exchange platform with India to enable grassroots innovators from both countries to co-develop technologies and access new markets. 

Chairperson, as we advance the legacy of Mama Sisulu through people-centred science and technology, I wish to emphasise that the Department continues to contribute to improving the quality of life of ordinary people in remote rural areas. 

Our initiatives on innovation to support basic service delivery have been rolled out in various parts of the country.  In the gallery are some of the beneficiaries:  Mr Elias Nkuna and Noah Mmotla from the Capricorn Municipality

These communities are enjoying access to clean water and sanitation through innovative technologies deployed by the Department, such as smart geysers and low-pour flush sanitation.  To this end, we will continue to work with both the South African Local Government Association and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to enhance the capacity of municipalities to leverage innovation in the delivery of basic services.

Our contribution towards the interlinked challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment will, among others, be directed towards lifting the country's economic growth rate over the medium term. 

We have budgeted an investment of R176 million over the next three years in targeted initiatives to advance the implementation of the Advanced Manufacturing Technologies Strategy.  This includes support for the development of the titanium, composites, additive manufacturing and fluorochemicals industries. 

A further investment of R158 million will be made for a flagship intervention as part of the Advanced Metals Initiative in the key area of value-addition and beneficiation.

The Department also aims to lift economic growth through initiatives such as the technology stations programme, the grassroots innovation programme, and various community-based economic development initiatives.  

We also managed, over the last five years, to secure joint investment of more than R200 million by the Department of Trade and Industry in seven Sector Innovation Funds that are developing critical capability in vital industry sectors.  We plan to use the European Union's budget support investment of R120 million over the next three years to further advance the Sector Innovation Programme, in particular by scaling up successful service delivery innovations and establishing strategic partnerships with European institutions. 

Our support for small and medium enterprises continues to grow.  In 2017/18, we supported 2 800 SMEs through the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), and this year we aim to extend this support to 3 380 SMEs.  TIA is allocated R536,6 million to increase technological innovation in the economy through support for research, development and commercialisation by higher education institutions, scientific councils, public entities and private companies.

We are also working with SMEs such as the Solar Turtle, whose CEO, Ms Lungi Tyali, is in the gallery with team members Wisizwi Billie and James van der Walt.  Solar Turtle has enabled leading banking institutions such as Nedbank to take their services to remote rural areas of the Eastern Cape using portable shipping containers powered by solar panels.  Her company has secured contracts from the European Union to provide these facilities to our neighbour, Lesotho. 

International cooperation to strengthen the national system of innovation

Our international portfolio continues to grow through increased access to global knowledge, resources and capacity to advance the objectives of our national system of innovation.  An allocation of R136 million is made to our International Cooperation and Resources Programme to invest in initiatives that support international cooperation in science and technology.

Consistent with South Africa's foreign policy priority, we will continue to focus on the advancement of the African agenda in science and technology, in support of programmes such as the Southern African Development Community's Industrialisation Strategy.   We will leverage South Africa's leadership role as Chair of SADC to undertake a number of initiatives, including a comprehensive energy technology foresight exercise.  Other continental flagship initiatives to be supported, notably in cooperation with the National Research Foundation, include the planned Oliver Tambo Research Chairs to be established with South African support at leading African universities, as well as the African Open Science Platform, hosted by the Academy of Science of South Africa.

We are indeed most grateful for the support we have received from several of our international partners with whom we have partnered in joint initiatives, which during the past financial year saw investment of more than R200 million in the strengthening of African science and technology capacities.  An excellent example in this regard is the Science Granting Councils Initiative, led by our National Research Foundation, with support from the United Kingdom and Canada to build institutional capacity for national research funding programmes in Africa.  We have also partnered with Finland through the Technology Innovation Agency to support innovation systems development in Southern Africa.

Beyond our own continent, we will work to further expand collaboration with partners in the Global South, especially within the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) framework.  Under South Africa's BRICS Presidency, the Department will lead a number of initiatives to bolster BRICS cooperation, especially in disruptive technologies and big data, in order to give BRICS partners a competitive advantage in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.   We plan to host a series of in support of South Africa's BRICS Presidency, including a BRICS Young Scientists Forum.

Our Department is the custodian of a rich and diverse portfolio of international partnerships, including long-standing partners in Europe, Japan and elsewhere, which we will continue to develop based on the principles of mutual benefit and shared responsibility, ensuring South Africa remains a preferred partner for international cooperation in science.   These relations concretely benefit our National system of innovation as evidenced by the more than R689 million in foreign direct investment we have secured over the past financial year from our international partners – most notably the European Union, philanthropic organisations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and various multinational companies.

We will also continue to work within the multilateral arena to ensure South Africa contributes optimally to the global effort to harness science and technology for the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.  South Africa serves as a member of the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development, in which deliberations I look forward to participating next week.  


Honourable Members, I look forward to seeing some of you at the fourth Science Forum South Africa in Pretoria on 13 and 14 December.  We also continue to engage with the World Science Forum steering committee for South Africa to host this prestigious event in 2021.  We hope for a positive outcome in a few months.

As I conclude, I wish to thank the former Minister of Science and Technology, the Honourable Naledi Pandor, for ensuring the Department's excellent progress in building a strong national system of innovation, and the Deputy Minister, the Honourable Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi, for her continued support and love for the people of this country.

I would also like to thank the Portfolio Committee on Science and Technology, led by Ms Lindiwe Maseko, for their continued guidance and oversight, the Director-General of Science and Technology, Dr Phil Mjwara, his deputy directors-general and DST staff, as well as the staff and leadership of our entities for ensuring that we continue with our quest to drive South Africa towards a knowledge economy. 

I thank the team in the Ministry and finally my family in the gallery for their invaluable and unconditional love and support.

I hereby table the budget and annual plans for the Department of Science and Technology for your consideration and support.

Na khensa.

Thank you