An Inter-Departmental Task Team is developing a national strategy for dual-use technologies that have both security and commercial applications.
“Another strategic sector that has been identified is dual-use technologies,” state security minister Siyabonga Cwele said in his annual budget vote last week. “These technologies involve major aspects of our country’s competitiveness and innovative capacity for commercial market access and national security,” he said.
“In this financial year, the [State Security] Agency will intensify its work of coordinating the Inter-Departmental Task Team that is conducting an assessment of resources and activities of the peaceful programmes related to the field of nuclear, biological, chemical, aerospace and missile technologies.
“The Task Team is expected to develop a national strategy for promoting research, technological development, innovation, coordination, integration and oversight in the field of these dual-use technologies in the Republic. The strategy will also ensure that these technologies do not find their way into the hands of criminals and terrorist networks,” Cwele said.
Dual-use technology is regulated by the Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction Act 87 of 1993. The Act established the South African Council for the Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (NPC) as an interdepartmental committee that controls the transfer of weapons of mass destruction and dual-use goods according to South Africa’s responsibilities as a signatory to the International Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). The NPC secretariat is based in the Department of Trade and Industry.
The Act, amended in 1995 and again in 1996, empowers the Minister of Trade and Industry to make policy on a wide variety of issues, affecting the technology required to produce nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.