Gauteng’s Industry 4.0 blueprint at an ‘advanced’ stage

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Gauteng MEC of finance and head of the Department of e-Government Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko.
Gauteng MEC of finance and head of the Department of e-Government Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko.

Taking a page out of national government’s playbook, the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) is now at an “advanced stage” of developing its own fourth industrial revolution (4IR) strategy.

This was revealed by MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, presenting the Gauteng Department of e-Government’s budget vote to a virtual house sitting of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature this week.

The GPG’s 4IR strategy was first touted by Gauteng premier David Makhura last year, when he said the province would appoint an advisory panel to advise the provincial government on the digital revolution.

At the time, Makhura said he envisionedGauteng being a hub of fourth industrial revolution skills and a centre of excellence for digital economy breakthroughs.

Detailing the progress of the province’s 4IR strategy, Nkomo-Ralehoko said in partnership with higher education institutions, the province has made significant headway in producing a 4IR blueprint.

“The department [e-government] has facilitated the establishment of the provincial 4IR panel for the province. The purpose of the panel is to direct the modernisation agenda of the province. The nominations of the 4IR panel have been concluded and formal appointments will be concluded soon.

“In responding to the 4IR challenges, the Gauteng City Region should be digitised to drive sustainable economic growth and prosperity for Gauteng citizens, business and government.”

The sixth administration has dedicated attention to all things Industry 4.0, with president Cyril Ramaphosa appointing a Presidential 4IR Commission last year.

The commission is tasked with advising Ramaphosa and government as a whole on relevant policies, strategies and action plans to position SA as a smart, connected and competitive global player in the age of 4IR.

Furthermore, it advises government on the most optimal strategies to harness the potential of technology as an enabler to grow the economy and create much-needed jobs.

4IR-ready youth

To ensure Gauteng youth is not left behind in the digital revolution, Nkomo-Ralehoko said various initiatives have been put in place to drive digital skills transformation.

“As Gauteng, we are not lagging behind in this area; we aimed to transform curriculum, provide advice to youth about future careers and world-of-work, and reskill the current GPG workforce.

“In accelerating digital transformation and the development of an effective and inclusive government digital ecosystem, the department held an information session on 4IR with females and youth leaders in the province.

“We placed youth in ICT-related opportunities for experiential learning purposes and supported township-based entrepreneurs with training and mentoring programmes as part of the township economic revitalisation programme.

“We continue to contribute and upscale our contribution to the ICT Action Lab as the entry point to contributing to Tshepo 1 Million training programmes through our ICT partner programmes.”

The e-government MEC lauded partnerships with Altron and Microsoft, saying they have contributed to youth and SMME development programmes.

“We need to ensure Gauteng is a hub of fourth industrial revolution skills. The shortage of skills and capacity needed to drive and sustain digital transformation, modernisation and the effective use of GPG ICT resources require an adoption of new technologies and the ability to embrace new learning models.

“The department will, in partnership with the industry, provide various online skills development platforms that will ensure Gauteng builds digital and information literacy of employees, citizens and businesses that are required for a confident and competent use of available technology.

“The training of youths and GPG staff on digital skills, as well as supporting of township entrepreneurs, will be increased to contribute to the required ICT skills needed for the economy and government.

“The department has planned to train GPG employees to keep them relevant, ready for future jobs and unleash their talents and creativity.”

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