The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms Nomalungelo Gina will launch the Black Industrialists Microsoft Digital Transformation Programme at the Isithebe Industrial Park in Mandeni, KwaZulu-Natal, on 31 October 2019, starting from 08:30. The Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs in KwaZulu-Natal, Ms Nomusa Dube-Ncube and the Managing Director of Microsoft South Africa, Ms Lillian Barnard will also attend the launch.
The Digital Transformation Programme focuses on how the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) can have an impact within the manufacturing sector, by supporting the Black Industrialists within the Department of Trade and Industry’s (the dti) Black Industrialists Programme, to unlock their business potential through a digital transformation strategy. In particular, the launch aims to officially open up the application process and to create awareness about Microsoft’s Digital Transformation Programme.
According to Deputy Minister Gina, the programme will add value to the operations and technical sustainability of Black Industrialists, which is in line with the technical support pillar of the Black Industrialists policy.
The launch will signal the Microsoft on-boarding process for the dti-funded Black Industrialists from across South Africa to apply for the programme.
“The provision of access to Microsoft’s Digital Transformation Programme will enable Black Industrialists to improve their productivity, competitiveness, efficiency and to fully participate in the national economy that will yield a return on investment,” says Gina.
She adds that the partnership is expected to demystify and offer in-depth understanding when it comes to the digital economy, smart factories and the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).
“The current distorted view is that smart factories will replace labour and have an even higher negative impact on the labour market. Our partnership with Microsoft South Africa will provide insights on how 4IR can be used to add value to these organisations, to secure jobs, contribute to reskilling the labour market and to enhance South Africa’s competitiveness,” adds Gina.
MEC Dube-Ncube says the South African government recognises that the Fourth Industrial Revolution allows for digital communication between machines and entire factories thus creating a whole new advent of opportunities.
"The evolution of smart technology has revolutionised industries in some parts of the world, while destabilising industries elsewhere. We trust that the area of Isithebe and Mandeni will embrace this technology. According to this year's World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, the Fourth Industrial Revolution heralds a new dawn in modern society’s rapid evolution. One which envisages profound changes to the way society functions," says Dube-Ncube.
Ms Barnard says the partnership with the dti will achieve its mission to empower the manufacturing sector in South Africa to realise its full value and drive economic growth.
“Through digital transformation, manufacturers will be able to process data on a much larger scale to enable new insights and business models. This changes how they will engage with their customers, how they will empower their employees to gain insights from big data, take action from big data, optimise their operations and change the very nature of the business models around their products,” adds Barnard.
Sidwell Medupe-Departmental Spokesperson
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Issued by: The Department of Trade and Industry
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