More in the kitty for MeerKAT and SKA
Even before confirmation that South Africa had won the majority vote to host the world's largest radio telescope, the Square Kilometre Array, over R1-billion had already been allocated and some of it spent.
SKA South Africa's Justin Jonas said yesterday that R1.4-billion had been set aside for the first phase of the project.
This has largely been allocated to the completion of South Africa's own radio telescope, the MeerKAT, due to be finished by 2016.
The MeerKAT will account for 10% of the work done to complete the SKA in 2024.
"The MeerKAT is what we call very, very nearly the SKA. It's very close to what SKA will be. We only have to build three-quarters of SKA," said Jonas.
He said Australia had spent about A$220-million (R1.8-billion) on its own national telescope initiative.
On Friday, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor announced that South Africa had won two-thirds of the bid, along with eight African counterparts.
The international SKA organisation split the construction of the SKA in favour of South Africa, with two receivers awarded to South Africa and one to Australia.
Pandor lauded the win as a victory for South Africa, saying she was "ecstatic" as it was a victory for the scientists, engineers and for the continent.
However, because of the split victory, South Africa might have to fork out unexpected money to fund the project.
This was because of the higher electricity prices in Australia.
In the meantime, South Africa would get stuck in to the "nuts and bolts" of moving towards the completion of phase one.