South African Minister of Science and Technology: "We Would Like America to Go Back to be the Country That Inspires Us"
October 7, 2011 • 9:53AM

In an interview today in her Cape Town office, South African Science and Technology Minister, Naledi Pandor, a member of the Executive Committee of the ruling African National Congress, a former Parliamentarian and Minister of Education, summarized the responsibilities that her Ministry has for space, and a broad range of technology areas. Although South Africa, and the entire continent, face daunting challenges, in education, ameliorating poverty and other social areas, the Minister stressed that frontier science and technology projects, such as space technology, nuclear R&D, and medical research will be the key to up-lifting the population.

In answer to a question concerning the impact of the global financial and economic crisis on South Africa, Minister Pandor said that her country's economic growth rate will be lower than they had planned, but that it is in periods of economic slow-down that the government increases its investment in infrastructure.

"We have a plan that the government announced two years ago," she said, for growing our infrastructure for economic activity—the ports and the rail infrastructure....We've announced a Rand 300 billion (more than $40 billion) investment in freight rail infrastructure." She also said the country "is looking at a nuclear energy source [new plant] by 2022."

Responding to the observation that it is very inspiring that there are so many women in the leadership of the South African government, Minister Pandor said: "We all think about Eleanor Roosevelt and the contribution she made. She was a powerful woman and we never forget that we wouldn't have the Universal Charter of Human Rights if not for her. So we draw inspiration. And that's what we would like America to go back to; to be the country that inspires us." The full interview will appear in an up-coming issue of EIR.

Naledi Pandor, on the Executive Committee of the African National Congress, former Minister of Education.