The 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. These two teams will assist the Minister for effective participation in the work of the President led National Command Council, as well as the sector’s contribution in fighting COVID-19.
The Department of Science and Innovation task team is engaging with the Department of Health, the Medical Research Council, and the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority to mobilize funding, reprioritizing research strategies and creating an enabling ethical and regulatory framework to facilitate research on the COVID-19 virus.
The DSI has now made available R12 million rands and will redirect an additional R30 million to COVAD-19 interventions. This includes re-purposing and testing a number of existing drugs for the efficacy of the potential treatment for COVAD 19.
The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) team is led by the Deputy Minister Bhuti Manamela and is comprised 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.
The Post-School Education and Training (PSET) Task Team will also make appropriate information available to the institutions in the sector including developing protocol guidelines for institutions.