Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa on Friday launched the National Space Policy, in Pretoria, saying that it was South Africa’s primary goal to acquire the appropriate space-based systems for wider socio-economic benefits, as well as for the country’s independent access to space.
The policy, which was aimed at enhancing the country’s participation in the global space arena, was approved by Cabinet in December last year and would be administered by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
The accompanying National Space Strategy, however, would be managed by the Department of Science and Technology.
Mpahlwa said that one of the most urgent areas of work with regards to the policy would be to ensure that the country had the necessary capacity and resources to implement the policy.
Acting DDG for the DTI, Sipho Zikode, noted that the department would next focus on developing the implementation plan for which it hoped to have a draft ready at the end of March.
The DTI was also working on a space-industry framework, which would scope the capacities and potential competencies in South Africa.
The DTI was aiming to promote the development of a competitive local commercial space sector with competitive space technology. The development of capacity in space science and technology, as well as science and technology, in general, was a key objective of the policy.
The DTI stated that the policy would provide guidance on the development of space capabilities and space systems applications to contribute to economic growth in South Africa.
It would also be used to promote awareness and understanding of the socioeconomic benefits of space science and technology.
Meanwhile, cooperation and collaboration with other African countries, South-South countries and international partners would be of great importance to ensure the success of the space industry in South Africa.