On 1 June 1998 the Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology announced in parliament that the South African government supported the construction of the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT). The telescope will be built at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) in Sutherland, Northern Cape Province. The South African government will contribute 50%of the capital construction cost and good progress is being made with identifying international partners to contribute the remaining 50%.
The SALT Programme was conceived and designed with several objectives in mind. SALT will enable South African scientists to enhance their international competitiveness in astronomy well into the 21st century. It should also be seen as a focus for the development of basic science in South Africa and throughout the African continent.
More importantly, however, the SALT Programme has importance to South Africa far beyond its astronomical research mission. SALT must provide distinct and substantial benefits in the development of people, technology, and the economy. This SALT Collateral Benefits Plan (CBP) specifies a framework for initiating and/or providing these benefits.