The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) will over the next few years focus on supporting companies that are actively participating in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Speaking at the 20th anniversary celebration of the Workplace Challenge programme hosted by the dti and Productivity South Africa in eMalahleni, Mpumalanga, Deputy Director-General of Special Economic Zones and Economic Transformation at the dti, Sipho Zikode, said the department would support these companies.
At the recently concluded 10th BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Summit, leaders stood united in their cause to secure their spots in the imminent Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Preparation for the revolution, also dubbed as the digital age or revolution 4.0, dominated discussions among the leaders of the bloc at the summit held in Johannesburg.
On Tuesday, Zikode said the programme is part of the government’s strategy to empower entrepreneurs in order to grow the country’s economy.
“As a department, we have witnessed the impact that the programme has had on hundreds of companies that we have supported through the programme. The productivity, profitability and competitiveness of many companies have been increased by the programme,” he told those gathered at the celebration in Mpumalanga.
The programme is part of government’s strategy to achieve economic growth and empowerment of entrepreneurs.
“We have seen companies increasing production and their competitiveness. This has enabled them to contribute to the national government’s objective of job creation,” said Zikode at the ceremony hosted at the premises of one of the beneficiaries of the programme, Zamani Engineering.
The programme is a two-year government intervention implemented amongst South African enterprises to improve their productivity and competitiveness, thereby ensuring sustainability of jobs.
The department has been offering the programme to small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) since 1998. More than a 1 300 companies have benefitted from the programme.
The programme is an integral part of the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP), which is national government’s blueprint for the industrialisation of South Africa.
“As a critical component of IPAP, the Workplace Challenge programme plays a role in ensuring that we increase the industrial base of the country's economy in order to achieve notable growth.
“The programme goes a long way in decentralising this industrialisation in order to include all parts of the country, as well broadening the participation of previously disadvantaged people,” said Zikode.