The world is in the midst of what has come to be known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). ‘The 4th Industrial Revolution is an era where people are using smart, connected and converged Cyber, Physical and Biological systems and smart business models to define and reshape the social, economic and political spheres.’ (PC4IR, 2020). The convergence of these technologies brings about fundamental disruptions to our world and will have a crosscutting impact on all aspects of humanity. The President of the Republic of South Africa, his Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa, moved for South Africa not to be left behind in this global 4IR race. To this extent, the President established the Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (PC4IR). The PC4IR produced recommendations captured in the PC4IR Report of January 2020.

The Department of Communications and Digital Technologies’ (DCDT) was consequentially tasked with the development of a PC4IR Strategic Implementations Plan (PC4IR SIP) to realise the recommendations of the PC4IR Report. The honourable, Minister of Communication and Digital Technologies - Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, established the 4IR Project Management Office (4IR PMO) to develop the PC4IR SIP. As the primary drafters of this plan, the 4IR PMO are cognisant of the status of South Africa in relation to developments in 4IR in Africa and globally. The PC4IR SIP provides for a range of current and future programmes identified through a reliance on the recommendations from the PC4IR Report. The eight (8) key recommendations from the PC4IR Report are demarcated in the chapters of the PC4IR SIP to respond to the following:

  • 1) Investment in human capital;
  • 2) The establishment of an artificial intelligence (AI) Institute;
  • 3) The establishment of a platform for advanced manufacturing;
  • 4) To secure and avail data to enable innovation;
  • 5) Incentivise future industries, platforms and applications of 4IR technologies;
  • 6) Build 4IR infrastructure;
  • 7) The review and amendment (or create) policy and legislation;
  • 8) Establish 4IR Strategic Implementation Coordination Council.

The establishment of the PMO has since commenced with speed and is now operational since April 2020.