ANC unable to move South Africa forward into the future
17 July 2019
It is good that the ANC has taken note of the Fourth Industrial Revolution as it means that employers will no longer be at the mercy of the party's rigid labour laws and rebellious trade union partners in the near future.
It also means that people will have to learn new skills and adjust their mindsets to be more innovative so that technology and human skills can be combined to work together and not against each other.
The question, however, is whether South Africa will have electricity to take on these challenges and move to the next level in the future. Last week, Eskom indicated that it is struggling to meet the demand for electricity. This statement stirs up the fear that the next power crisis might be looming.
In the meantime, it seems as if Nedlac's long awaited energy plan is lying out in the cold waiting for ideological differences to be settled seeing as new methods of generating power, which rely less on fossil fuels, could result in the loss of jobs.
While trade unions and other role players are bickering about the ideological ideas of the energy plan, the companies that generate alternative energy are looking elsewhere to invest their money where there is more certainty. The very same companies invested R200 billion in South Africa last year.
If the government does not urgently create policy certainty in this regard and table a feasible plan for how energy will be managed in the future, these investors are lost to South Africa.
Some countries are already planning for the Fifth Industrial Revolution in which artificial intelligence will play a significant role. But the ANC is still struggling to get into gear to keep up with the Fourth.
In addition, the government must first make sure that South Africa's municipalities start functioning properly seeing as the mines' survival is directly related to the delivery of basic municipal services.
A shining example is Mathjabeng in the Free State; it is quite possibly the worst municipality in the country. The region surrounding Welkom, Theunissen, Virginia, Odendalsrus and Henneman was once prosperous seeing as it is rich in gold. However, the level of service delivery has deteriorated to such an extent that immediate intervention is needed.
The survival of the mines is directly affected by this. It is difficult to see how any plan that the ANC has to execute will resolve this crisis. It is equally difficult to see how the ANC can move South Africa forward into the future in the field of technology.
Issued by Armand Cloete, FF Plus MP in NCOP and spokesperson: Minerals and Energy, 17 July 2019