The first draft of the Presidential Commission's blueprint on the Fourth Industrial Revolution is expected to be released in October, according to Communications, Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.
The minister was speaking at an event hosted by Brand SA late last week. She announced a Memorandum of Understanding with multinational technology company Cisco. A total of R140m will be invested in South Africa over three years, to help develop capabilities for 4IR.
The presidential commission was appointed in April this year to develop a plan for 4IR through a coordinated approach. "This not a government initiative, it is a societal initiative," Ndabeni-Abrahams said.
"The presidential commission's first draft will come out in October," she said. Given the pace of changes in the technology space, the minister said that there will continuously be "plans" for 4IR.
Responding to a question about the need for spectrum to enable 4IR, Ndabeni-Abrahams but government is being careful with the pace at which it rolls out spectrum to ensure the benefits of it can be shared by all.
"4IR will be enabled with 5G… but we need to look at the ecosystem of 5G," she said.
South Africans should derive economic value from releasing spectrum, she added.
Ndabeni-Abrahams added that there needs to be an overhaul of legislation to keep up with changes in the technology space. In her keynote address she lamented that tender processes are far too slow.
"We can't do things the way we have in the past, we are a 25-year-old democracy and we have missed the other three revolutions," she said.