Munsami to head up space agency

The Department of Science and Technology has confirmed the appointment of Dr Valanathan Munsami as the new Chief Executive Office of the South African National Space Agency.

He replaces Sandile Malinga at the helm of the agency, after the latter left in August 2016. Malinga was at the helm for five years, seen by many to have been a constructive period for the agency and for the department.

“Dr Munsami takes the helm following an impactful past in shaping South Africa’s space science landscape,” said agency spokesperson Vaneshree Maharaj this week.

“He has held a number of positions within the Department of Science and Technology, with the latest position held being the Chief Science and Technology Representative of the Department of Science and Technology since February 2016.

“Among Dr Munsami’s numerous achievements are his involvements in the Strategy and Policy development for the South African national space programme. Dr Munsami currently Chairs the African Union Space Working Group, that developed the African Space Policy and Strategy that was approved by the African Heads of State in January 2016. As the Chief Specialist for Astronomy, during his employment at the Department of Science and Technology, Dr Munsami was involved in the development of a National Multi-Wavelength Astronomy Strategy and the SKA Readiness Strategy.”

The agency said it was confident that Munsami would add considerable value to the agency, given the skills set and experience that he has.

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