President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed members of the Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).
“The commission will assist government in taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the digital industrial revolution,” the presidency said in a statement on Tuesday. The task of the commission, which will be chaired by the president, is to identify “relevant policies, strategies and action plans that will position South Africa as a competitive global player”.
The deputy chair of the commission is the University of Johannesburg’s Tshilidzi Marwala, whose expertise spans the theory and application of artificial intelligence to engineering, computer science, finance, social science and medicine.
In his state of the nation address to a joint sitting of parliament on 7 February 2019, President Ramaphosa said South Africa had chosen to be a country of the future at a time when the world was changing at a pace and in a manner that was unprecedented in human history. He said revolutionary advances in technology were reshaping the way people work and live.
“Unless we adapt, unless we understand the nature of the profound change that is reshaping our world and unless we readily embrace the opportunities it presents, the promise of our nation’s birth will forever remain unfulfilled.”
In the same address, Ramaphosa announced the establishment of a Presidential Commission on 4IR. In establishing the commission, a public consultation process was undertaken to attract “eminent people” who possess the relevant skills and knowledge required to drive the 4IR.
The 30-member commission comprises people from different sectors of society and reflects a balance in gender, youth, labour and business, including digital start-ups as well as digital entrepreneurs, government said.
The commissioners are Tshilidzi Marwala (deputy chair), Chris Michael Adendorff, Beth Arendse, Thulani Humphrey Dlamini, Abdul Razak Esakjee, Bernard Lewis Fanaroff, Michael Gastrow, Xolile Christopher George, Charmaine Houvet, Prince Senyukelo Jaca, Tervern Liaan John Jaftha, Shameel Joosub, Marinda Kellerman, Nomso Kana, Baxolile Mabinya, Rendani Mamphiswana, Lindiwe Matlali, Calvo Mawela, Busisiwe Mbuyisa, Nomvula Mkhonza, Vukani Mngxati, Joseph Ndaba, Andile Ngcaba, Nompumelelo Happworth Obokoh, Rendani Praise Ramabulana, Leon Desmond Rolls, Sibongiseni Thotsejane, Gerhard van Deventer, Ben Venter, and S’onqoba Vuba.
Operational support to the commission will be provided by a secretariat of officials of various national departments, led by the department of communications.
Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, who is the coordinator of government’s 4IR programme, is due to convene an induction session with appointed commissioners, after which the commission will have its inaugural meeting with Ramaphosa. — SANews