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SKA Decision on April 4| News by Staff Reporter
A decision on the SKA project will be made on April 4
On April 4 South Africa will learn whether its bid to become the core site for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project was successful, or whether the bid would be won by Australia.
On 4 April 2012 board members of the SKA radio telescope will decide whether the core site for the project is to be built in South Africa or Australia – a decision that may greatly benefit the local economy of South Africa, according to Phil Mjwara, Director General of Science and Technology.
He explained that the MeerKat radio telescope project in the Karoo cost around R1-billion, so “If we’re spending about R1-billion on 64 dishes, you can imagine that if all of the dishes for the SKA are going to be manufactured here - about 3,000 dishes - you can just do the maths,” he said.
“So huge resources are going to flow into South Africa,” added Mjwara
While the vote is set to take place on April 4, with four countries (China, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK) taking part, the process may become “prolonged” if a clear-cut decision is not made, said Science and technology deputy director general for research, development and innovation Val Munsami.
If there was no clear-cut decision on April 4 a second round of voting would take place six weeks later, he explained. If still no decision had been made by this time there would be “some sort of negotiation”, and the two bidders would provide more input.