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UJ expertise on Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Johannesburg (UJ), Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, has been appointed to serve on the Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) announced by South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday, 09 April 2019.

The Commission, set to be chaired by the President with Prof Marwala as Deputy Chair, is tasked with assisting the government to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the digital industrial revolution by identifying relevant policies, strategies and action plans that will position South Africa as a competitive global player. Prof Marwala will be joined by Mr Rendani Mamphiswana, a PhD candidate in Engineering Management, specialising in Innovation Management at UJ, as another member of the Commission.

During his State of the Nation Address to a joint sitting of Parliament in February 2019, the President mentioned that the country 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,” said President Ramaphosa.

In the same address, the President 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 4IR.

The 30-member Commission comprises eminent persons from different sectors of society and reflects a balance in gender, youth, labour and business, including digital start-ups as well as digital entrepreneurships. Prof Marwala, a leading expert in the fourth industrial revolution, and whose expertise is on the theory and application of artificial intelligence to engineering, computer science, finance, social science and medicine, said he is looking forward to his role in leading the country towards the future that embraces artificial intelligence.

“Dramatic changes in the world of work and in how humans live their lives and interact have captured widespread attention due to their disruptions and opportunities, and are commonly referred to as the next industrial era.

“This contemporary global trend is catapulting towards ‘digital’, with the emergence of technology trends such as the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). Africa has come late, as a passive recipient of each revolutionary phase, and the continent has failed to benefit from the industrial and productive progress made globally. However, the South African government, together with corporates, have identified and embraced technology as a key differentiator for the future in order to compete on the world stage,” said Prof Marwala.

The commissioners (whose profiles can be viewed in an annexure at ) are:

  • Prof Tshilidzi Marwala (Deputy Chair)
  • Prof Chris Michael Adendorff
  • Ms Beth Arendse
  • Mr Thulani Humphrey Dlamini
  • Mr Abdul Razak Esakjee
  • Dr Bernard Lewis Fanaroff
  • Mr Michael Gastrow
  • Mr Xolile Christopher George
  • Ms Charmaine Houvet
  • Dr Prince Senyukelo Jaca
  • Mr Tervern Liaan John Jaftha
  • Mr Mohamed Shameel Joosub
  • Ms Marinda Kellerman
  • Ms Nomso Kana
  • Mr Baxolile Mabinya
  • Mr Rendani Mamphiswana
  • Ms Lindiwe Matlali
  • Mr Calvo Mawela
  • Ms Busisiwe Mbuyisa
  • Ms Nomvula Mkhonza
  • Mr Vukani Mngxati
  • Mr Joseph Ndaba
  • Mr Andile Ngcaba
  • Dr Nompumelelo Happworth Obokoh
  • Mr Rendani Praise Ramabulana
  • Mr Leon Desmond Rolls
  • Dr Sibongiseni Thotsejane
  • Mr Gerhard van Deventer
  • Mr Ben Venter, and
  • Ms S’onqoba Vuba
Prof Tshilidzi Marwala 2
Professor Tshilidzi Marwala
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