Ghana open for astron­omy re­search

Vuk'uzenzele - - General - Amuke­lani Chauke

tHe GHaNa Ra­dio Astron­omy Ob­ser­va­tory was re­cently launched.

cience and Technology Min­is­ter Naledi Pan­dor says the launch of the Ghana Ra­dio Astron­omy Ob­ser­va­tory, lo­cated in the town of Kun­tunse, means Ghana is open for sci­ence re­search.

Speak­ing to in Ac­cra on the side­lines of high-level meet­ings with South African and Ghana­ian of­fi­cials and dig­ni­taries, the Min­is­ter said the fund­ing from the African Re­nais­sance and In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion Fund helped to get buy-in on the project from the Ghana­ian gov­ern­ment.

“What it means is that now sci­en­tists can do their re­search work us­ing that an­tenna, that ra­dio te­le­scope.

“It means they can do it here in Ghana and that they will part­ner and col­lab­o­rate with re­searchers in other parts of the world and they will be able to pro­duce papers that will be peer re­viewed, that will ap­pear in in­ter­na­tional jour­nals. We hope they will make ex­cit­ing dis­cov­er­ies of stars and gal­ax­ies which were not iden­ti­fied be­fore,” she said.

The Min­is­ter said the project has also seen Ghana­ian stu­dents re­turn­ing to their coun­try from uni­ver­si­ties in other coun­tries to work on the ra­dio te­le­scope project. “We al­ready have some good ar­ti­cles com­ing from the ini­tial work done by a group of sci­en­tists and we want to see more and more of that. So, it gives sci­en­tists in Ghana more op­por­tu­ni­ties to do more sci­en­tific work,” she said.

African Re­nais­sance Fund helps Ghana aim for the stars

The launch of the ra­dio te­le­scope comes not long af­ter it reached a mile­stone where “first light” was ob­served.

“First light” is a process whereby the func­tion­al­ity of a ra­dio te­le­scope is tested for the first time, and the first images are re­ceived.

The con­ver­sion of the ra­dio te­le­scope was in large funded by the African Re­nais­sance and In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion Fund and the Depart­ment of Sci­ence and Technology, which con­trib­uted R122 mil­lion to the project.

“I think what the fund­ing did was to re­ally make re­al­ity out of the in­clu­sion of eight other African coun­tries (Ghana, Mau­ri­tius, Zam­bia, Mada­gas­car, Botswana, Mozam­bique, Kenya and Namibia) in the Square Kilo­me­tre Ar­ray (SKA) ini­tia­tive.

“That in­clu­sion was by de­sign in the sense that to get the SKA model done, you can­not only lo­cate an­ten­nae in South Africa, the ra­dio te­le­scope has to spread across a square kilo­me­tre grid of im­mense pro­por­tions.

“It was clear that South Africa would have to make a com­mit­ment to the eight other coun­tries.

“We ap­proached the Depart­ment of In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions and Co­op­er­a­tion with this project and sought fund­ing from them in an area that is not the tra­di­tional devel­op­ment aid use of re­sources; it is more to en­hance the re­search and in­no­va­tion ca­pac­i­ties of African coun­tries which we feel ac­tu­ally is a much more durable in­vest­ment in that it is sus­tained over time,” she said.

eDocket to im­prove po­lice ad­min

The South African Po­lice Ser­vice has launched a sys­tem that will im­prove the man­age­ment and ad­min­is­tra­tion of dock­ets across the board with the in­tro­duc­tion of the eDocket sys­tem. Of­fi­cially known as the In­te­grated Case Docket Man­age­ment Sys­tem (ICDMS), eDocket al­lows for an in­te­grated method of mon­i­tor­ing po­lice doc­u­ments, dock­ets and the stor­age thereof. This will ul­ti­mately reduce the chances of dock­ets go­ing miss­ing or be­ing tam­pered with.

To date, the sys­tem has been im­ple­mented at 1 153 po­lice sta­tions -- in­clud­ing mil­i­tary po­lice sta­tions – across the coun­try and in 509 of 627 Depart­ment of Jus­tice and Con­sti­tu­tional Devel­op­ment courts.

Se­cu­rity of­fi­cers to get salary in­crease

South Africa’s Pri­vate Se­cu­rity Sec­tor min­i­mum wage will in­crease by an av­er­age of 6.4 per­cent with ef­fect from 1 Septem­ber 2017, said the Depart­ment of Labour.

The new Sec­toral De­ter­mi­na­tion (SD) will be ap­pli­ca­ble un­til 31 Au­gust 2018.

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