By Mark van Ameringen
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Additional info for Building a New South Africa : Volume 3 (Science and Technology Policy)
One area of crucial importance to industry is the establishment of standards and the certification of products and processes. SABS is the only statutory council that is not a research organization. However, it is a sophisticated technological institution whose performance is important to all South African industries and, ultimately, to the South African consumer. As set out in its profile of activities (SABS 1991a, p. 5): SABS concerns itself mainly with the development of standards for products and services, and is responsible for the Administration of the Mark Scheme and the Listing Scheme to regulate the application of such standards by industry.
Given South Africa’s abundant coal reserves, and southern Africa’s huge untapped hydroelectric potential, no further expansion of nuclear generating capacity is likely to be necessary for many years to come. Since 1986, the AEC’s staff has been cut by more than 50 percent, to its current level of about 3 400 people. The AEC currently spends “about 80 million rand” annually on technology development (its own research budget). Of this, about 3 percent is used to commission research from the universities.
For the first time, governmental agricultural research was given a legal mandate to consider the problems of black farmers. The lack of official knowledge of the demographic features of the rural population in South Africa is appalling. The most recent census used aerial surveying as a technique for estimating rural populations. This method is universally believed to be unreliable. The rural population is thought to consist of two groups: a large group of “displaced urban dwellers,” whose size and composition are unknown, forced by apartheid to live on marginal rural land, subsisting primarily on money earned by urban males; and a possibly much smaller traditional, rural peasant population, also unquantified.