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Visit to iThemba LABS by the Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science & Innovation
The Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Mr Buti Manamela visited iThemba LABS at Faure in the Western Cape earlier this year as part of his self-orientation to familiarize himself with the work of the research facilities and entities across the country that are currently under his departmental line of sight. iThemba LABS is a national research facility administered by the National Research Foundation (NRF), a Schedule 3A public entity under the purview of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation.
Accompanied by five senior officials from the Ministry, the Deputy Minister’s visit commenced in the morning with a briefing session with iThemba LABS executive management team, followed by a comprehensive tour of the main laboratory sections of Africa’s premier Laboratory in Accelerator Based Sciences.
The Deputy Minister’s visit comes at a time when iThemba LABS has recently secured government support to finance its strategic flagship project, SAIF (South African Isotope Facility), an initiative that seeks to secure future sustainability of the facility by procuring a dedicated 70 MeV cyclotron accelerator to boost the production rate of a range of accelerator based radioisotopes.
iThemba LABS is the only research facility in South Africa and throughout the African continent which utilizes particle accelerators to produce radioisotopes which are used in nuclear medicine for cancer diagnosis and treatment.