Ilse Karg Chief Director: Future Industrial Production Technologies in the Department of Trade and Industry

Ilse Karg Chief Director: Future Industrial Production Technologies in the Department of Trade and Industry

Collaboration across industry, public and private sector and among civil society will be crucial for driving Fourth Industrial Revolution progress, speakers said at the opening day of Africa Automation Fair and the Connected Industries Conference in Northgate today.

Assessing South Africa’s state of readiness for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, experts said that while South Africa currently lagged the world, there were significant opportunities to transform the industrial sector and move into a globally competitive space.

However, collaboration would be crucial to transforming industry, government and civil society to position South Africa to capitalize on the opportunities the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Industry 4.0 offered, they said.

Ilse Karg Chief Director: Future Industrial Production Technologies in the Department of Trade and Industry, said: “Industry 4.0 is about partnerships. We aim to partner with business, and to collaborate with education to transform industry and develop the skills we will need to move into the Industry 4.0 era.” Dr. Karg said that in order to create the enabling environment necessary to support Fourth Industrial Revolution progress, at least 12 government departments were currently aligning their policies and plans. “It’s not easy, but to make progress, we will need integrated planning across national departments and all spheres of government,” she said. She highlighted the DTI’s work on developing a digital industrial policy framework focusing on building capability and capacity, a supportive legal and regulatory framework and digital industrial transformation.

Karg noted that South Africa had been de-industrialising in recent years. “Manufacturing output volume has increased marginally since 2004, while retail volume has boomed by more than 60% in the same period. Therefore, we are importing more and making less.” In the face of growing unemployment, she said South Africa had to focus on growing manufacturing capability, particularly as each job directly created by manufacturing indirectly creates a further three to five jobs. Read more...