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Presidential Commission on 4IR Report on Track

October 8, 2020

Department of Communications and Digital Technologies

The Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution Report is to be published in the Government Gazette soon.

The communications and digital technologies minister, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, confirmed this in a statement on progress made by the communications and digital technologies department.

The Presidential Commission was set up in 2019.

The Commission, chaired by president Ramaphosa, was tasked with identifying relevant policies, strategies and action plans to boost South Africa’s competitiveness in the 4IR.

Cabinet gave the green light to the 4IR Report last month.

According to the cabinet statement, the Report “makes proposals to reinvigorate the country’s industrialisation aspirations and improve our global and continental economic competiveness to enhance inclusive growth”.

The minister pointed out that the 4IR Report contains eight recommendations including investment in human capital; the establishment of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Institute; the establishment of a platform for advanced manufacturing; to secure and avail data to enable innovation; incentivise future industries, platforms and applications of 4IR technologies; build 4IR infrastructure; the review and amendment (or creation) of appropriate policies and legislation and the establishment of a 4IR Strategic Implementation Coordination Council.

The minister emphasized that, by having clear recommendations, the Report will “serve as a useful instrument to educate the public on how they can prepare themselves in order to take advantage of the outcomes of a 4IR enabled South Africa”.

A Strategic Implementation Plan is to be drawn up as soon as possible to realise the recommendations of the 4IR report.

The minister also announced that the proposed framework for implementing the Digital Skills Strategy will be presented to Cabinet for approval in the coming weeks.

“The strategy includes developing the following critical and practical skills in information technology (IT): data science, software development, cybersecurity, 3D printing, drone piloting and the production of digital content.”

The Draft White Paper on Audio and Audio Visual Content Services Policy Framework: A New Vision for South Africa 2020 is also to be published for comment soon.

The Draft White Paper seeks to create an enabling environment for the provision of inclusive audio and audiovisual content services to all South Africans in a manner that promotes social-economic development and investment.

It also “proposes new policy and regulatory changes and recommendations intended to reposition the audio-visual media sectors for future growth and promote investments”.

Meanwhile, during a media briefing on the state of readiness to lead 4IR, the minister highlighted the key drivers of digital transformation.

They include licensing of high demand spectrum, fast-tracking the rollout of broadcasting digital migration, digital government, building a big data economy, skilling the nation and institutional reforms.

A Data Policy for South Africa is being drafted and a model for smart regulation is being developed that will include the amalgamation of ICASA, Film and Publication Board and ZADNA.