The Department of Science and Technology (DST) in consultation with the National Assembly’s Portfolio Committee on Science and Technology has finalised a shortlist of candidates for appointment to the board of the South African National Space Agency.
The board, which will oversee the agency, monitor research priorities and programmes, and carry out the agency’s strategy, is made up of representatives from government services, civil society and the military.
Government representatives, who have been shortlisted, include Francois Anderson and Robert Scholes from the CSIR; Rudolph Louw, director of the National Aerospace Centre of Excellence; Maurice Magugumela from the National Nuclear Regulator; Nomfuneko Majaja, Head of 2010 Operations at SA Airways; Rosey Sekese, Deputy Director General (DDG) for ICT infrastructure at the Department of Communications; Brenda Titi, a DDG at the Department of Agriculture and Bennett Kwanele Siziba, the latter a counter-intelligence and weapons of mass destruction counter-proliferation expert with the National Intelligence Agency.
Civil society representatives included EDI Holdings executive manager Leeandran Annamalai, Potlaki Maine, Captain Mpho Mamashela of the Air Traffic Navigation Service (an agency of the Department of Transport), Rhodes University physicist Dr Lee-Anne McKinnell, Sage Wise MD Louisa Mogudi, Tsheko Ratseheko, Magalies Water CEO Jacqueline Simangele Sekgobela, financial consultant Carla Sharpe, Vincent Gore, consultant Themba Buthelezi, EVI Capital Partners CEO Zola Fihlani, Business Connexion’s Joy-Marie Lawrence (an expert on space and satellite law) and retired engineering professor Gideon de Wet.
The final board will comprise no more than 15 members and would have to be approved by science and technology minister Naledi Pandor.
The agency was created earlier this year, after former president Kgalema Motlanthe signed the National Space Agency Act into law.
Its mandate is to promote the peaceful use of space, foster research in space science and communications navigation, and promote international co-operation in space-related activities.
The Democratic Alliance, the largest Parliamentary opposition party has questioned the quorum of the portfolio committee meeting approving the short list. DA MP Marian Shinn says the party has take the matter up with the Speaker of Parliament, Max Sisulu.
The National Assembly will next have to consent to the suggested board members, while the minister will also have to approve the chair of the board.