Delivering her dynamic maiden Budget Speech Policy under the theme “Position KwaZulu-Natal as a Technological Hub to Harness the Fourth Industrial Revolution for Economic Growth, Development and Job Creation”, KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube said the province is marching full steam into a digitally inspired future.
Enthralling and mesmerising MPLs and guests with an artificial intelligence-inspired visual presentation of her budget speech being beamed in giant monitors around the House and outside, Dube-Ncube said the economy and society is being fundamentally changed by technology of the Fourth Industrial Revolution disrupters.
“While the prospects of job losses are real, new jobs are being born, new work methods are being introduced and others need to be developed. Thus, the workforce will continue to be reskilled and that will advance work collaboration increasing production and the quality of decision making,” said Dube-ncube.
The Leader of Government Business said the advent of “4IR” meant that “we must adapt and commit to continuous improvement and continuous learning but, more so, repurposing our skills, innovation and doing things differently,”. She said it was for this reason that the Department wanted to position the province of KwaZulu-Natal as a technological hub in order to harness the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
“History has taught us that you cannot stop the raging tide of technological change. Even the Luddites did not succeed to stop technological change when they destroyed machines during the Industrial Revolution because they were worried that machines were taking their jobs,” said Dube-Ncube. Dube-Ncube said in this age of technological disruptions, we want our province to be ahead of the curve. She said central to this is the rollout of optic fibre across the province in order to create universal internet connectivity.
“Our ambitious plan is to have wall-to-wall internet coverage across the province in the next five years. Regrettably, the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution has meant that jobs, especially in the financial sectors like banking, have been affected. Banks are retrenching due to the advancement in financial services technology. However, there is room for the creation of related applications.
“More than ever, we hardly have a choice; we have to bring our people on board and to connectivity. We intend establishing containers for vendors sell data, repair handsets and even develop APPs,” she said. Chairperson, on the part of broadband rollout we have signed agreements with Sentech and we are working with SITA and Dube Trade Port to expand our footprint to every region in the KwaZulu-Natal through the creation of digital parks. We want to be disrupters!
The speech also advocated strongly for development of small businesses through targeted funding as the engines of the economic development and activities in the township and rural areas. Among her major announcements Dube-Ncube touched on the issue of medicinal cannabis hemp. She said the legalisation of cannabis to be grown for recreational purposes has opened up endless opportunities that the province needs to exploit.
“We are glad to reveal that this has drawn huge interest even from global investors. As we speak, we already have investors in talks with Dube Trade Port. However, this also presents a golden opportunity for our growers to exploit this boom. As government, we will be ensuring that regulation, licensing, cultivation and extraction are adhered to. Cannabis has an assortment of value-added products produced from it and we want that market for our people,” she said.
MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube delivering 2019/2020 budget policy speech.
MEC getting ready to deliver her budget speech
Some of the guest who attended the budget speech.