Science and Technology Minister Mosibudi Mangena yesterday congratulated a team of South African scientists on winning a top European research award.
High-Energy Stereoscopic System scientist Okkie de Jager and his team for winning the prestigious European Union's Descartes Prize for Research for last year.
Mangena said De Jager and his team had made the department, the South African government and its people proud.
The scientists put together the Southern Africa Large Telescope (Salt) in the Karoo and the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).
Salt and SKA did not only give astronomers a better overall view of the universe, but also brought about the development of new technology.
The technology is being used to reduce energy needs of ozone washing machines.
At a time when the government considerably increased spending on research, development and innovation, Mangena said it was ground-breaking forays like these that made the move worthwhile.
Said Mangena: "Our own scientists are constantly drawn to the horizon of a better quality of life."
A solid economic base with science that serves the people of South Africa was even closer, he said.
"We sincerely congratulate these outstanding scientists."
The minister said more than 44million South Africans shared "this proud moment".
"I am certain this prestigious award will add impetus to the work that is already under way," said Mangena.