New labs for bright sparks

24 June 2014 - 02:02
By Penwell Dlamini
Tshwane Executive Mayor Kgosientsho Ramokgopa. File photo.
Image: SABC Tshwane Executive Mayor Kgosientsho Ramokgopa. File photo.

The City of Tshwane has established laboratories to stimulate innovation and encourage young people to take up careers in science and engineering.

Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa and economic development MEC Lebogang Maile opened two of the labs at the Tshwane Innovation Hub yesterday.

The Kusile labs are mobile and are designed for schools.

Developed by entrepreneur Nkosinathi Maseko, they are designed for demonstrating all the physical science and chemistry experiments for grades 10 to 12.

They cost R56000 each and the city is to deploy 60 of them to schools by Friday.

About 16 pupils at a time can use the mobile labs .

"A conventional school lab will cost about R1.2-million, depending on design. But you can order a Kusile lab today and get it within two weeks," said Maseko.

The Fab Lab, at the Tshwane Innovation Hub, is designed for the production of prototypes.

It can accommodate about 12 people, and has a 3D printer and equipment for engraving on wood, marble, glass and steel.

Fredell Jacobs, general manager for enterprise and skills development at the hub, said the two types of lab were part of a new concept intended to encourage innovation in Tshwane townships.

"The idea is to make space available for youths in which they can use their designs, drawings and concepts to make a physical prototype.

"We want to identify entrepreneurs, bring them to this space to develop their ideas and engage with the lab," Jacobs said.