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‘Digital technology must not replace human capital’

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“We need to continue to engage national government to increase this allocation and pay attention to detail”

DIGITAL technology must not replace the work done by human capital.

This is according to Maruping Lekwene, the MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, who was speaking during yesterday’s Debate on the State of the Province Address (Sopa).

Lekwene pointed out that during his Sopa address, Premier Zamani Saul had highlighted a number of interventions that sought to harness and maximise the potential of innovation and technology.

“Government and the private sector is paying attention to areas such as robotics and coding, data analytical skills, wi-fi hotspots and, most importantly, the mLab for applications development which is driven by the Department of Economic Development in the Province,” Lekwene added.

“All these initiatives are aimed at migrating our Province towards digital technology which should provide lasting solutions to the ever-changing digital environment. Be that as it may, we remain mindful of the fact that these new inventions must at no stage seek to replace the work done by human capital. As we move towards these new innovations, we also need to strike a balance between the two so as to protect existing jobs while we create new ones from the existing niche.”

Lekwene meanwhile pointed out that all the milestones mentioned during the Sopa address would never be realised, as long as the Province was allocated “a mere R18 billion which should cover the conditional grant and the equitable share”.

“We need to continue to engage national government to increase this allocation and pay attention to detail,” he stated.

Lekwene welcomed the announcement made by the premier on the commitment of the Minister of Human Settlements to have identified the Province as a host to a flagship project to build 54 000 houses.

Initiatives aimed at driving a multi-nodal corridor in the Province were also welcomed.

“The Department of Economic Development together with the Department of Transport are working tirelessly to deliver this important corridor which stretches from Gamagara mining corridor to Boegoebaai deep sea port. These two departments need to ensure that this corridor becomes a catalyst to provincial economic growth and development,” Lekwene stated.

He also referred to other anchor projects mentioned by the premier, including Kathu Industrial Park, Namakwa Special Economic Zone and the Northern Cape Metals Industrial Cluster.

“Added to these, the Department of Economic Development should also pay attention towards the implementation of pipeline anchor projects specifically looking at areas such as energy including petroleum which is essentially a precondition for uninterrupted successful mining activities in our Province.

“We are expecting the economy to grow and we welcome a move by the current administration to forge strategic partnerships with the Department of Trade and Industries, the Development Bank of South Africa and other strategic financing institutions,” Lekwene stated.