South African Institute of Electrical Engineers

South African Institute of Electrical Engineers

SAIEE Presidential Address

The SAIEE (South African Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers) at the Vaal University of Technology recently hosted a presidential function. Key speaking was done by Telkom’s veteran, Mr. George Debbo, who addressed the attendants about Digital Transformation. To accommodate the attendants, the presidential function took place at the Quest Conference Centre in Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng, and the topic of the day was Digital Transformation: The Enabler for Economic and Social Inclusivity.


Mr. Debbo began by outlining the agenda of the day and continued to define Digital Transformation as the changes that have occurred in the environment around us as a result of the application of digital technology. During yesteryears, we used to communicate using huge piles of paper we called documents, whereas nowadays this has changed to digital or electronic format. We used to write one another love letters and spray a bit of perfume on them before sending, nowadays our communication has resorted to email format, missing the perfume. Another way that digital transformation has affected us, is through searching for accommodation or houses. We used to search through the newspapers and now we use the internet to search for homes and apply for home loans. Digital transformation has also affected the way we do our banking, we no longer have the need to walk into branches, but we rather perform online transactions through cellphone banking or online banking using the internet and banking apps. This is a result of customers requesting for easy banking, where the need for walking into branches is lessened.

The future of digital transformation will result in many job losses. For an example, Nokia was kicked out of competition by Blackberry, and Blackberry was kicked out of competition by iPhone. Currently, iPhone is on an intense competition with Samsung and Huawei who are offering customers more innovation. How many DVD rental businesses do you know of? Well, Netflix has kicked most and will soon kick all of them out of business through their online video offering.

The function ended with networking session where students and other attendants had the opportunity to ask further questions and gain clarity. Pictured from left to right are the organizers: Sthembiso Mkhize (Treasurer of SAIEE VUT), Dineo Mokonyane (Deputy Secretary of SAIEE VUT), Thato Sebekedi (Operations Manager of SAIEE VUT), George Debbo (Speaker of the day), Ruaan Schoeman (SAIEE VUT Mentor), Brian Mokoena (Chairman of SAIEE VUT), Lehlogonolo Molepo (Former Chairperson of SAIEE VUT), and Mr. Carlse (Chairperson of SAIEE Vaal Centre), and Kitsiso Monare (Secretary of SAIEE VUT).