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Carnarvon – The globally lauded MeerKAT radio telescope has already started to transform the lives of the youth around Carnarvon and neighbouring towns.

In launching the science instrument consisting of 64 telescopes, deputy president David Mabuza urged scholars to pursue mathematics and science related subjects.

The MeerKAT which is said to be the southern hemisphere’s largest and most powerful astronomical tool, has already achieved research breakthroughs with high-end space images.

Its been launched as the first phase of the the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). The SKA is being positioned as South Africa’s contribution towards science, technology and innovation that will in turn result in skills development, job creation and economic growth.

Mabuza said opportunities were blossoming for the youth of the Northern Cape.

A temporary technical centre producing young artisans and semi-skilled workers has been linked to the SKA development.

“Twenty-one students who graduated from the centre have found employment at the SKA. A further 25 are currently undergoing work-based experiential learning in the SKA and will complete trade tests in 2019 with the prospect of finding employment in the project,” said Mabuza.

Mabuza said the MeerKAT’s R3.2 billion development was a milestone in the country that had the potential of luring investors.

He said government was going to continue investing in the project with key focus on uplifting the youth.

“This is a great opportunity for the youth of the Northern Cape. Indeed the Square Kilometre Array has brought changes to our country.”

Mabuza added that job creation that was created by the SKA needed to continue and transform the area.

” We are also glad to announce that the construction work that has been done here gave top priority to the local business.

“An amount of R134 million was spent on local suppliers which encourages small business,” he said.

Minister of Science and Technology Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubani said the project was going to attract investors.

“This is a platform to bring young people closer to the science fraternity as the future lies in science,” she said.

It is expected that the SKA will further assist local schools with programmes in school management, numeracy, and early childhood development.

Managing Director of SKA Professor Rob Adam said the team he was heading was working around the clock to ensure that they deliver everything on schedule and on budget.

The management of the project has acquired 120 000 hectares of land to ensure smooth operations in the area.

The Pixley Ka Seme district where the SKA is taking place has been declared a scientific sensentive area.

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