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SAEON showcases its science at the Budget Vote 2019 exhibition

By Nasreen Burgher, Sivuyisiwe Mbede, Sonya de Waardt and Moddy Pikiso, SAEON Egagasini Node
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“Let us grow South Africa together through science” was the theme for the Department of Science and Innovation's (DSI's) budget vote debate held in Cape Town on 9 July 2019.

The annual budget vote debate offers government departments a platform to garner financial support for their entities.


Thomas Mtontsi, science engagement officer at the Egagasini Node (second from right), explains a SAEON research project to Dr Clifford Nxomani, the National Research Foundation’s Deputy CEO of National Research Infrastructure Platforms (right).

Budget vote exhibition

To coincide with the budget vote debate, an exhibition was held at the Iziko Museum to showcase South Africa’s most recent contributions to science, technology and innovation. The day started early, with participating entities setting up their exhibitions and booths.

The Egagasini Node’s science engagement team engaged with visitors at the SAEON exhibition, which formed part of the National Research Foundation (NRF) platform. The team consisted of Thomas Mtontsi, science engagement officer; Thulwaneng Mashifane, postdoctoral researcher; Nasreen Burgher, physical oceanography intern; and Sivuyisiwe Mbede, Moddy Pikiso and Sonya de Waardt, Work Integrated Learning (WIL) students from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.


Representatives of the NRF facilities with Dr Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education and Science and Innovation.

Before proceeding to Parliament (National Assembly) for the debate, the Minister of Higher Education and Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, toured the exhibition accompanied by DSI and NRF officials. The visitors engaged with the various DSI entities, many of them under the NRF umbrella.

Other entities participating in the exhibition included iThemba LABS, the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) and the South African National Space Agency (SANSA).

Budget speech and vote

The Budget speech and vote commenced at 16:30 at the Parliament building in Cape Town. Two of the SAEON team members were invited to Parliament to view the 2019 Budget Vote decision-making process.

The outcome yielded results beneficial to the DSI as Parliament voted to increase the Department’s 2019 budget to enable it to expand and succeed in its future ventures.


SAEON team members photographed with Dr Nxomani (centre). (L-R): Sonya de Waardt, Nasreen Burgher, Dr Thulwaneng Mashifane, Thomas Mtontsi, Sivuyisiwe Mbede and Moddy Pikiso.

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