NEOSS Strategic Advisory Committee established to strengthen Earth observations.

A Strategic Advisory Committee (SACom) has been established by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), to provide strategic guidance and high-level input on potential new or future areas of focus for the National Earth Observations and Space Secretariat (Secretariat), to support the needs of the Earth observations (EO) and space community in South Africa.

SACom is significant in strengthening coordination among the relevant stakeholders and use of integrated EO for improved decision making, as it will provide analysis, understanding, ideas and recommendations to influence and address several pertinent policy and strategic issues that require urgent intervention and implementation, including open sharing of data and information to improve access to readily processed data. It will also act as an interface between the policy makers and the Communities of Practice (CoPs) and thus bridging the communication gap and influence policy and decision-making.

During the first seating of SACom on 28 March 2023, the Committee expressed amongst other things, a strong desire to contribute to the development of the national space programme and infrastructure, foster synergies and strengthen capacity, national institutions and collaborations, improve communication across EO disciplines (satellite and in-situ), improve access to data and space, and be the leading nation in space science and earth observations in Africa.

SACom is well-positioned to strengthen collaborations and build synergies among the community of stakeholders and their initiatives to deliver maximum impact for South Africa and is comprised of six individuals that are representatives of relevant government, and institutions with expertise in Earth observations (satellite and in situ), environmental knowledge and information, spatial information systems, weather information services, space communications and research, as follows.

  • Ms. Asanda Sangoni, Acting Managing Director, Earth Observations, South African National Space Agency (SANSA)
  • Mr. Elliot Sibeko, Director, Space Affairs, Department of Telecommunications and Digital Technologies (dtdc)
  • Dr Mary-Jane Bopape, Managing Director, at the South African Environmental Network (SAEON) of the National Research Foundation (NRF)
  • Mr. Sives Govender, Research Group Leader, Spatial Information Systems, at the Next Generations, and Institutions Cluster of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
  • Mr. Peter John Lukey, Chief Director, Environmental Knowledge and Information, Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment (DFFE)
  • Dr Winifred Jordaan, Senior Manager, at the Regional Training Centre and Head of the Centre of Excellence for Satellite Training of the South African Weather Services (SAWS)

SACom is critical in providing relevant knowledge, leadership and advice to NEOSS regarding its programme of work currently undertaken by the Communities of Practice in various societal benefit and community engagement areas in Agriculture and Food Security, Climate Action, Circular Economy and Natural Resources Management, Data Governance, Earth Observations Infrastructure, Human Settlements and Spatial Planning, Natural Capital Accounting and Satellite Communications and Navigations.  

NEOSS is an initiative of the DSI, that is hosted and managed by the CSIR. For more information, please contact Adv Lulu Makapela, Manager, NEOSS at or