Makhura: Gauteng to become a ‘hub of Fourth Industrial Revolution’ skills

johannesburg gauteng skyline nico roets flickr

Cape Town’s days of leading South Africa’s tech innovation push may be numbered, that’s if Gauteng premier David Makhura’s ambitious plans are to be believed.

Speaking at the State of the Province Address in Johannesburg on Monday, Makhura pushed the idea of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in detail, including internet connectivity and smart, digital public services. Effectively, he intends to transform Gauteng into a technological innovation hub.

“Our province refuses to be left out of the fourth industrial revolution and the digital age and we are therefore investing in wall-to-wall broadband coverage, with emphasis on deprived communities,” he announced.

Makhura added that investing in connectivity across the province will boost the region’s GDP by 1.5%, “improve service delivery to citizens, create new industries and provide new platforms for small businesses to integrate with the mainstream economy.”

“Our dream is that Gauteng should be a hub of fourth industrial revolution skills and a centre of excellence for digital economy breakthroughs such as artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency and big data,” he continued.

Premier Makhura’s sentiments echo that of President Cyril Ramaphosa, who also appointed a Fourth Industrial Revolution commission in April to better identify policies, strategies and action plans for the country.

“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,” President Ramaphosa said in a statement.

In other news that will likely please Gauteng residents, Makhura confirmed that MECs will not be allowed to purchase new cars, and ensured that provincial government intends to see e-tolls — the controversial road tolling system — “scrapped”.

“We remain determined to ensure that e-tolls are not part of the future of our province,” he added.

You can read the complete State of the Province Address by Premier David Makhura here.

Feature image: The Johannesburg sktyline in 2005, by Nico Roets via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Andy Walker, former editor


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