Nzimande establishes Covid-19 departmental task teams_1

Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Dr Blade Nzimande has established Covid-19 teams for the department of science and technology and the department of higher education and training respectively.

“These distinct teams are comprised of stakeholders in these two sectors who are critical to the advancement of the sectors’ roles,” Nzimande said in a statement.

The minister said the two teams would assist him in the effective participation in the president-led National Command Council, as well the sector’s contribution in fighting the pandemic.

He said the department of science and innovation (DSI) task team was engaging with the department of health, the Medical Research Council, and the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority to mobilise funding.

While reprioritising research strategies and creating an enabling ethical and regulatory framework to facilitate research on the virus.

Nzimande said funding was available for the DSI to help combat the virus.

“The DSI has now made available R12 million and will redirect an additional R30 million to Covid-19 interventions. This includes re-purposing and testing a number of existing drugs for the efficacy of the potential treatment for Covid-19,” he said.

The minister said the department of higher education and training (DHET) team would be led by Deputy Minister Buti Manamela and would consist of Universities South Africa (USAF), South African College Principals Organisation (SACPO), the South African Union of Students (SAUS), Labour Unions, Higher Health and the department of health to coordinate the PSET sector response to the virus.

He said the Post-School Education and Training (PSET) Task Team would also make appropriate information available to the institutions in the sector, including developing protocol guidelines for institutions.

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