"All we need is good schooling, good universities and a stable regulatory regime," he said.
Software engineers who write complex algorithms, create internet-based applications and good universities must educate them.
But Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande's aversion to high-end institutions excludes our better universities from doing so. Furthermore, we need enough young people to enrol as engineering students.
Typically those come from high schools where pupils do very well at mathematics.
For that we need an excellent schooling system, which we simply do not have.
We need a stable and sympathetic regulatory system, free of corruption. We need to stop protecting an inefficient
To show the sheer quantum of high-paying work that a vibrant internet-based economy creates,
Learning from this example, for government to play its part more generally in creating jobs and stimulating growth, Nzimande should put his money into the best universities to deal with our skills shortage (we are short 13 449 managers and 14 726 professionals, according to
But Nzimande sidelines the universities - the enrolment growth rate is limited to 2.8 percent between last year and 2030 - while boldly driving enrolments in technical, vocational and community colleges - 10.9 percent.
The problem is that the colleges do not work but the universities (at least most) actually do.
As for having a stable intellectual property rights regime, the re-appointed Trade and Industry Minister
Davies's Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Act now incorporates indigenous knowledge, which has of course to be protected, by diluting existing laws that protect copyright, new design and innovations in performance art.
Under the guise of reducing medicinal prices, a good thing certainly, the cabinet approved the 2013 Draft National Policy on Intellectual Property which, if confirmed as policy, would permit Davies to seize patents under poorly-defined "emergency conditions", stopping many global pharmaceutical companies from putting millions into research and development into medicines.
Regarding the internet, the backbone of the knowledge economy, the 2014
Our speed ranking dropped drastically (73/144, a 7-spot drop since 2013) and for accessibility, modestly (87/144, a 2-spot drop since 2013). Our prepaid mobile cellular tariff is exceptionally high (128/144) and fixed broadband internet tariff (91/ 144) rankings have also become worse compared to previous years.
But instead of appointing someone with the qualities to turn our deteriorating situation around, President
This is the very same Cwele who spearheaded the introduction of the controversial "Secrecy Bill" and went to great lengths to cover up the Nkandla scandal. Appointing Cwele is a chilling move.
The government's Information and Communications Technology (ICT) policy and entities should have nothing to do with content, apart from regulating in favour of competition, consumer interests and economic growth.
But Cwele's lack of prior experience in the telecoms sector, aggravated by his security focus, could be an inhibiting factor in a sector that needs to support free thinkers, mavericks and dynamic entrepreneurs. The frontline ministries for growth and jobs have become larger and more incoherent.
When the government ought to focus on reducing the public sector wage bill, creating a Ministry of Small Business Development increases costs.
Giving energy, about to undertake a R1 trillion build programme, to Minister
As reported by the Public Protector, Pettersson is incapable of following due process and will probably disrupt the required sequence of high-level decisions needed to supply energy sustainably.
On the positive side, the Treasury is in safe hands with Minister Nhlanhla Nene. Soft-spoken, he is no pushover. Science and technology, central to the knowledge economy, well-led by minister
Can Deputy President
I have my doubts, but let's see how things develop.
l Dr James, MP, is DA Federal Chairperson.
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