Honourable Minister of Science and Technology Ms Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane
On 19 July, The Vaal University of Technology (VUT) held a dialogue on the Fourth Industrial Revolution at the VUT Southern Gauteng Science and Technology under the theme: “Exploring the collaborative opportunities that may arise for and between both Government and Institutions of Higher Learning, in positioning the country to take advantage of the next Industrial Revolution towards the achievement of the NDP’s Vision 2030”.
The World Economic Forum describes the Fourth Industrial Revolution as the advent of “cyber-physical systems” involving entirely new capabilities for people and machines. While these capabilities are reliant on the technologies and infrastructure of the Third Industrial Revolution, the Fourth Industrial Revolution represents entirely new ways in which technology becomes embedded within societies and even our human bodies. Examples include genome editing, new forms of machine intelligence, breakthrough materials and approaches to governance that rely on cryptographic methods such as the block chain.
The event was hosted at VUT Southern Gauteng Science and Technology Park with its Operations Manager, Mr Hendrik van der Merwe as Programme Director.
The event was graced by the Honourable Minister of Science and Technology Ms Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane and various speakers.
VUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Gordon Zide opened the event and said: “VUT is one of the best universities in South Africa! We use every little opportunity to market our university and we are the only university that has its own science park. The professional relationships, collaboration and the partnerships which the Science Park has with the Department of Science and Technology speaks to the difference we are making, not only in Southern Gauteng but equally in South Africa, as we are one of a few institutions with a first class Science Park, hence our heartfelt belief in Leo Buscalia’s words: ONLY YOU CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE.”
Mr Lemogang Medupe: VUT SRC President took the opportunity to deliver a message of thanks to the ENACTUS students for representing the institution so well during the 2018 national competition which was held at the Sandton Convention Centre on 12-13 July 2018. He urged the University Management to close the gap between VUT and disadvantaged schools in the area in terms of ICT.
Different speakers took to the podium to present their views on the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Dr Speech Nelana: Executive Director Research focused on VUT’s research agenda, while Dr Joe Molete: Executive Director: SGSTP presented on the role of Science Park’s Innovation/Industrial and Entrepreneur Revolution: “Our work talks to what the community needs. We are about community development,” he said.
He thanked Minister Kubayi-Ngubane for the work that she has done thus far, before she took to the stage to deliver her keynote address. She was introduced by the MMC of Economic Development, Cllr Gretha Hlongwane.
The Minister commenced her address by reflecting on the life of Nelson Mandela: “We are meeting here today after we all have celebrated 100 years of the birth of Tata Madiba. And I hope that all of us did take the initiative to show humanity and live his legacy by doing good to the next person,” she said.
She then moved on to the issue at hand: “Young people have a responsibility to liberate our country from the shackles of under-development and they should do so with understanding that we are undergoing a fundamental change globally… this change is what is termed the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is underpinned by a number of emerging areas of technology and innovation, namely; artificial intelligence, machine learning, robots, intelligent machines, 3D printing, bio-science technologies, internet of things and cyber physical systems,” she said. She also made reference to the impact of the 4th industrial revolution on the possibility of contributing to job losses for women in the area of clerical, hospitality, etc. as these might be replaced by the use of machines and robots.
The dialogue concluded with a panel discussions with representatives from: VUT SGSTP, Dr Joseph Molete: Executive Director; Social Justice and Transformation, Mr George Mvalo: Director; Civil Engineering, Prof George Orchieng: HoD; Innovation and Technology, Dr Jan Jooste: Director; International Relations and Advancement, Mr Wiseman Jack: Executive Director; Research, Dr Nelana: Executive Director; and Traditional Medicines, Dr Tozama Ogunleye: Director.
Mr van der Merwe handled the question and answer session and Mr Gerrit du Plooy; Senior Director Community Engagement concluded the event with a summary and closure.