Pandor chases bigger budget chunk

Pretoria - Government spending on research and innovation should rise as stated in the ANC's campaign manifesto, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor said on Wednesday.

“The ANC committed to 1.5 percent of GDP (gross domestic product) being devoted to research development and innovation. It's an exciting inclusion in the manifesto,” she told reporters in Pretoria.

Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor. Picture: Liza van Deventer. Credit: Independent Newspapers

“We are going to make sure that they help us achieve that figure because it is an important benchmark for our country.”

She said her new tenure at the department would focus on a robust Africa-focused agenda.

“We need a significant investment in knowledge workers in South Africa. We need hundreds more masters and doctoral graduates if we are going to make knowledge a contributor to economic growth,” Pandor said.

“We need to persuade our government that we must have a plan dedicated to upping the numbers of senior postgraduate students. We support too few at the moment.”

Asked how soon she thought government would be in a position to allocate 1.5 percent of GDP to research and science development, Pandor said all was on course.

“I think what we should do is to take on the responsibility of setting out how it can be done, for both Treasury and government,” she said.

“We are discussing with Treasury to say if in the next financial year we can have this level of increase, by 2019, which is the ANC deadline, we will have achieved the figure we want.”