Pontsho Maruping Becomes Deputy MD of South African Radio Astronomy Observatory

Pontsho Maruping

Pontsho Maruping has been appointed as the Deputy MD of the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO). SARAO is in charge of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project in South Africa and Australia. The SKA project is an international effort to built the world’s largest radio telescope, with a square kilometre (one million square metres) of collecting area. 


She made this revelation during an interview with Space in Africa, adding that she will resume on September 1, 2020.

Pontsho Maruping was recently nominated to chair the Scientific and Technical Committee of the United Nations Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. She holds a Masters in Space Systems Engineering from the Delft University of Technology and an Executive Masters in Business Administration from IMD in Switzerland. 

She started her career in the mining industry working for De Beers and Anglo American. She joined the Department of Science and Technology (DST) keen to contribute to rebuilding the science system. At the DST she led various initiatives including championing the establishment of the South African National Space Agency, Co-chairing the Science and Technology Committee of the Group on Earth Observations, Chairing the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites and serving on the South African Council for Space Affairs for more than 7 years. 

She joined the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) as an executive, where she eventually became responsible for a portfolio of more than 160 investments in ICT, Energy, Advanced Manufacturing, Natural resources, Agricultural biotechnology and Health. During her time at TIA, Maruping introduced a new ‘seed’ fund targeted at supporting early-stage technology ideas at universities and start-ups looking for less than half a million rand to prepare them for further funding. Since joining SKA over a year ago, she has introduced an internal entrepreneurship initiative to support employees with innovative ideas on a journey to commercialisation.