Pretoria — Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says government will continue to support science and technology innovations.
Addressing the 5th Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) conference currently underway in Pretoria, Deputy President Ramaphosa said science and technology is critical for the country’s development.
“As a country, we commend the positive, progressive contribution made by the CSIR to advance science, engineering and technology in the democratic era.
“Science and Technology has the potential to change people’s lives. As a country, we commend the positive contribution made by the CSIR,” he said, adding that the work of the CSIR is helping to transform society.
Deputy President Ramaphosa acknowledged the significant strides achieved through science and technology during the past two decades.
“It is changing the way we live, the way we do business, the way we solve problems. It is improving lives, creating opportunities and enabling us to develop more sustainably,” he said.
The Deputy President praised the men and women from CSIR, saying they do not pursue knowledge merely for its own sake.
“These are people who are developing drugs to block malaria transmission because they have a vision of a world without malaria, they pursue knowledge so that they may improve the human condition.
“They are designing better public buildings because they recognise the value of safe and effective social infrastructure,” he said.
He said they are improving the ability of security services to detect threats and secure borders because they want to protect lives and promote peace.
“These scientists are using pioneering methods to measure climate change so that we are better able to slow its progress and mitigate its effects,” he said.
Touching on what science and technology has done since the dawn of democracy, Deputy President Ramaphosa said in 1994, government inherited an economy with deep structural deficiencies.
“We have focused on transforming the economy, pursuing policies to grow strategic sectors and create employment opportunities,” he said.
He said government will increase its support for the CSIR as it has critical contribution to vision 2030.
The 5th CSIR conference coincides with the institutions’ 70th year of research, development and innovation.
Meanwhile, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor said science and technology should be put to good use.
“I look forward to suggestions in sustaining development goals,” she said.
Minister Pandor encouraged partnerships with research institutions.
“I encourage others to partner with our public research institutes and communities and academia and create a new innovation system that will link indigenous knowledge systems with modern science for the benefits of all South Africans,” she said.
Chairperson of the CSIR Board Professor Thokozani Majozi said he was excited that the CSIR is celebrating the 70th year of science achievements.
“There is definitely room to do more. If we do more on business, we are addressing challenges of poverty,” he said.
Professor Majozi called on the young ones to fall in love with science.
The conference is attended by among others, local and international researchers, government officials and members of Parliament.