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Tuesday, 02 November 2021

Ministerial Task Team visits SARETEC

APPRECIATED: CPUT welcomes the Higher Education, Science and Innovation Ministerial Task Team at the South African Renewable Energy Technology Centre. APPRECIATED: CPUT welcomes the Higher Education, Science and Innovation Ministerial Task Team at the South African Renewable Energy Technology Centre.

CPUT hosted the Higher Education, Science and Innovation Ministerial Task Team during an oversight project site visit at the South African Renewable Energy Technology Centre (SARETEC) as part of the National Skills Fund (NSF) Strategic Review.

The NSF falls under the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation and the SARETEC establishment as a National South African Centre for skills training in Renewable Energy was funded by the NSF to the value of R105 million. The three-member Ministerial task team (MTT) was established and approved by the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande.

Dean of Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (FEBE) , Prof Marshall Sheldon, said the purpose of the MTT was to conduct a review of the NSF and to undertake an oversight visit to projects such as SARETEC funded by the NSF. “The MTT has a strategic focus on the NSF’s mandate, scope, and analyses its capacity, systems and organisational structure in relation to its mandate. The MTT will provide an assessment and recommendations to the Minister.”

Sheldon added that the provisional feedback from the task team was very positive and “they[MTT] were very impressed with how the challenges faced by SARETEC were managed and addressed; the progress made, and the number of students trained so far”.

Reflecting on the visit, Claude Cogill, Senior Project Manager at SARETEC, said it was a site audit of SARETEC, “confirming how the NSF budget was spent and how it impacts the industry”. “I was reasonably happy with the visit – our team, including the CPUT Management, served us well, and we provided an honest, and impressionable, picture of SARETEC,” Cogill said.

Furthermore, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Technology, Innovation and Partnerships, Dr David Phaho, said the end goal was to give a report to the minister on whether SARETEC has achieved its strategic goals and objectives as envisaged at its founding.

Phaho said their meeting with the MTT was very interactive and the task team asked pointed and constructive questions about SARETEC. “Their immediate feedback was that SARETEC is doing great work as per its mandate.” He added that the (SARETEC) team made a presentation on SARETEC’s journey over the years and a discussion of the strategy going forward.

Written by Des