Building a capable 4IR army


Government is committed to a skills revolution that will ensure that South Africa has the human capital required in the digital economy, says President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“…We are introducing subjects such as coding and data analytics at primary school level to prepare our people for the jobs of the future,” the President said.

Addressing the inaugural Digital Economy Summit in Midrand on Friday, President Ramaphosa said government has committed to train one million young people in data science and related skills by 2030.

In an effort to build a capable Fourth Industrial Army, Gauteng is, through the Tshepo One Million Programme, providing skills in data science, digital content, 3D printing, cyber security, drone piloting, software development as well as cloud computing to young people.

The skills are being provided through various partnerships government has with Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETA).

“With these technological innovations, we will develop systems to improve our resources and efficiencies in various sectors such as health, utilities, crime prevention, education, transport and others to better give service delivery to our people.

“We have also committed ourselves to providing the infrastructure, including spectrum, which will enable our digital ascendency and bring benefits to all sectors of our economy,” the President said.

Through various support programmes such as the South African Research Chairs Initiative and other targeted human capital and development initiatives, the Department of Science and Innovation is building essential capability in all technology areas underpinning the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

These include programmes in data science, analytics, additives manufacturing, artificial intelligence, robotics and quantum technologies.

Earlier this year, the President appointed 30 members of the Presidential Commission on the 4IR to assist government in taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the digital revolution and to identify relevant policies, strategies and action plans that will position South Africa as a competitive global player.

“As government, working with all sectors of society, we have set ourselves the task to pioneer new technologies and to take quantum leaps towards the economies of the future and to drastically improve our production levels.

“These quantum leaps can be made real through the 4IR, whose programmatic implementation is led by the Presidential Commission on the 4IR,” the President said.

The commission consists of 30 members from all spheres of society to ensure that all sectors will be able to contribute to transformation in the country.

The report on the outcomes of the summit will be presented to the commission.