SAIMC


SAIMC: From the office of the CEO

May 2021 SAIMC

In my last letter, I discussed the lack of skills available to operate and maintain our infrastructure. This month, I present a more specific look at the critical skills required in manufacturing, which were not identified in the draft Critical Skills List.


Johan Maartens.

First though, let me make it clear that by maintenance I do not simply mean fixing breakdowns and doing preventative maintenance. I am also talking about planning for the future. Planning additional dams to cope with population growth, more sewage treatment works, additional energy resources, etc.

With this strategic view of the future in mind, one of the most important skill sets overlooked in the draft list is that of the managing director (MD). South Africa is in the unfortunate position that it is totally reliant on international companies for the supply of sophisticated 4IR technologies. Furthermore, it seems that people assume anybody with a few years’ experience can fulfil the role of MD. We do not seem to understand that the MD must have a full overview of the technologies within his/her company – not just what is available today, but what is being developed for the future, the strategies to maintain a competitive edge, etc. To manage any company, especially an international one riding the wave of future technologies, a person does not only need a qualification and some experience, but also the vision and integrity to handle such a role.

In the current draft skills list, the focus seems to have been on positions that are currently vacant and advertised in one form or another. South Africa does not need more employees, we need entrepreneurs, people like Elon Musk, Bill Gates etc. Nothing in that list suggests that people with such ability have been classified as having ‘scarce skills’.

In future letters I will discuss the various professional categories and grades and the implementation of these. The era of the professional has arrived!

Yours in automation, Johan Maartens.


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