The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO), through its Square Kilometre Array South Africa (SKA SA) project, has invested heavily in the Northern Cape province, from upgrading knowledge centres to creating jobs and providing deserving students with much-needed academic funding. With its partners, SARAO has contributed towards social and technological development in areas such as Carnarvon, Vosburg, Williston, Van Wyksvlei and Brandvlei.
The focused investment in social development in the region of the SKA Site will ensure that neighbouring communities can fully benefit from the far-reaching astronomy project, through better education and training, investment in small businesses, and increased job opportunities.
The contributions have been made in five focus areas:
Investing in the youth
Supporting community upliftment programmes
Developing small to medium enterprises (SMEs)
Nurturing learners’ talent; and
Ensuring that communication connectivity is not compromised.
Total amount spent in the Northern Cape through the construction of MeerKAT and related projects since 2015
Overall Spend in Rands (More than)
Direct Employment – the number of Northern Cape staff hailing from local communities.
Direct Employment – number of people directly permanently employed by SARAO in the Northern Cape. This includes 22 females and 63 males
Direct employment – Total amount spent on salaries for people directly permanently employed by SARAO in the Northern Cape between January and September 2022.
Indirect employment – Number of people employed on a contractual basis between February 2022 and June 2022.
GRANTS & BURSARIES
SARAO has a robust grants and funding programme for local students and learners. This includes support from primary school level up to adult basic education and training, skills training and undergraduate and postgraduate tertiary support.
Number of grants and bursaries awarded to Northern Cape beneficiaries since 2015.
Number of ad hoc community programmes and initiatives supported through a spend of R1,045 million between 2015 and 2022, supporting sports development, connectivity support and community support.
Spent since inception of the SKA across five community development programmes in Northern Cape towns.
Number of direct and indirect job opportunities created in the Karoo since 2015.
Number of technicians trained from the local communities since 2015.
Free wifi hotspots installed libraries.
Number of local SMMEs and entrepreneurs developed through the Enterprise Development Programme, 33 of which are actively participating in the MeerKAT+ Project.
Water relief provided to Van Wyksvlei community during the water crisis.
SARAO also supports
– sports activities to aid development in netball, soccer, bowls, and rugby.
– the promotion of local cultural and heritage development.
– social development projects focusing on gender-based violence, early childhood development programmes, SMME development and science engagement for local commercialisation.