Go back

SONA 2020 offers more science than usual

Image: GovenrmentZA [CC BY-ND 2.0], via Flickr

Ramaphosa promises new universities and a climate change bill at Parliament's opening night

South Africa will get a new science-focused university, president Cyril Ramaphosa promised during his 2020 State of the Nation Address on 13 February at Parliament in Cape Town.

Ramaphosa said a proposed "University of Science and Innovation" will be constructed in Ekurhuleni, the metropolitan municipality in the East Rand of Gauteng. He said the metro is the only in South Africa that does not have a university.

"This [university] will enable young people in that metro to be trained in high-impact and cutting-edge technological innovation for current and future industries," said Ramaphosa.

The 2020 SONA offered more for researchers than usual. The government will finalise a climate change bill this year, Ramaphosa said.

The address was delayed for an hour and a half as the Economic Freedom Fighters disrupted proceedings with numerous objections and eventually walked out. All the other parties called for stricter rules and punitive measures to prevent such disruptions, which have become par for the course for SONA.

Ramaphosa said another new university will be build this year, a "crime detection university" to be located in Hammanskraal in northern Gauteng. Ramaphosa said the university will focus on improving the quality of police investigations.

Nine new Technical Vocation and Education Training colleges will also be built in 2020, Ramaphosa said, mostly in rural areas.

However, he also hinted that more budget cuts may be on the horizon with a "top slicing" to go towards youth unemployment. This might mean a further constricted budget for the Department of Science and Innovation, which has suffered cuts over recent years.

South Africans will also have a clearer idea of what the president expects his ministers to achieve. All ministers will sign performance agreements before the end of February. These will contain specific targets and be made public.