Thursday, 28 May 2020

Matjiesfontein; Western Cape: The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) has entered into a partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to host a Deep Space Ground Station.

The station, which will be based in Matjiesfontein in the Western Cape, will support human spaceflight missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond.

It will be integrated into an existing network of three sites in the United States of America, Spain and Australia.

As the fourth site, the station will complement the other three sites and provide improved coverage and redundancy for critical mission support. SANSA will operate, maintain and manage the station.

Cabinet has approved the partnership, noting that the station will benefit South Africa in, amongst others, the development of scarce skills and the growth of the science, engineering, technology and innovation sector.

“It will also provide opportunities to feed the knowledge economy, and increase the national research output in space science and technology,” Cabinet said in a statement on Thursday.

Draft White Paper on Fire Services

Cabinet has also approved the Draft White Paper on Fire Services, which outlines key policy proposals that will form the basis of the fire services legislation that will replace the current Fire Brigade Services Act, 1987 (Act 99 of 1987).

The draft White Paper outlines the roles and responsibilities of both the national and provincial spheres of government in supporting municipalities.

“To ensure that this service is constantly aligned to the modern ways of managing fire disasters, it [White Paper] proposes research and data collection capacity.  In general, it also seeks to align it with other legislations passed post 1994 and which relate to local government,” Cabinet said.

A wide consultation with all the relevant stakeholders and general public has been undertaken.

Executive functions during Level 3

Meanwhile, Cabinet has approved that under Level 3, which starts from 1 June 2020, it would adopt a blended approach which includes both physical and virtual Cabinet meetings.

Cabinet also approved the monitoring teams comprising Ministers and Deputy Ministers to monitor the measures that have been put in place to combat the spread of COVID-19.

The Ministers and Deputy Ministers have been allocated to each of the 52 districts and metropolitans.