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The University of Pretoria (UP) students, as supported by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) and representing Africa, have won the Moot Court Competition of the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) on the sidelines of the International Austronautical Congress (IAC) 2018 in Bremen, Germany.

The UP students, Mr Simon Motshweni, and Mr Simon Botha beat students from India’s Symbiosis International University to walk away with the first prize of more than R10 000 in a competition where they excelled themselves before the International Court of Justice judges in a mock case on the internal outer space law.

The Chief Director of Space Affairs at the dti, Ms Nomfuneko Majaja who also serves as the Africa Regional Coordinator for the competition, has praised the students for flying the African and South African flags high in the highly-competitive international contest.

“This happens at a time when the dti is at the final stages of reviewing the South African primary space legislation which will provide an opportunity for engagement as well as stimulate interest among university students, policymakers and industry in this complex area of space law. The UP students exhibited excellent standard and quality as well as presented themselves in an articulate manner, which confirmed that Africa has what it takes to stand on the international fora. What makes the students’ achievement even more remarkable is that Africa joined the competition only six years ago,” said Majaja.

She added that more still needed to be done to bring in more African countries in the competition for capacity-building purposes in space regulations.


The competition is internationally arranged by the IISL on an annual basis in four regions of the world, namely Africa, North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. It presents an opportunity for university students in the areas of law and science fields to engage on legal policy and regulatory aspects in the highly specialised area of space law and related fields such as aerospace and telecommunications.

the dti, as the custodian of the space legislation in the country, met important international bodies and international players at the austronautical congress as it is finalising the review of the primary space legislation. Amongst others, the dti attended the IISL Colloquium where the Cape Town Convention and the implementation of the Space Assets Protocol were discussed,” said Majaja.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa.