Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor has painted the Cabinet into a corner of accountability when it comes to advice about innovation.
Her rejig of the National Advisory Council on Innovation (NACI) – a body that was meant to report to the minister and the government, but in the past has been silenced by bureaucratic procedures – opens the door to direct access to the minister and the Cabinet on matters affecting the country’s National System of Innovation (NSI).
It forces the Cabinet to respond to its recommendations, and to give reasons if it doesn’t.
Innovation is an unfortunate buzz-word, often sitting on a pile of useless jargon like synergies and mutually beneficial relationships. But, for South Africa, innovation – using knowledge, science and the flow of information to drive the economy – is the only way that we can dig ourselves out of the resource-based rut we find ourselves in.