C4IR South Africa

Expo 2023

19 to 20 September 2023

CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa


“The Covid-19 global pandemic represents a severe and unexpected exogenous shock to the South African economy, in the context of already weak economic performance.” – The South African Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.

The Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan indicates that recovery from this shock should not just focus on what was, but also on what is next in terms of transformation.

South African digital transformation priorities in the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) era are captured in the White Paper on Science and Innovation and the Presidential Commission on the 4IR. As part of the implementation of the white paper that the Department of Science and Innovation established, the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution South Africa (C4IR South Africa) is a national collaborative platform used to position South Africa to respond to the opportunities and risks flowing from the 4IR.
The C4IR South Africa will be convening the second Digital Transformation Expo, under the theme “Enabling Digital Transformation for All, a Human centred approach”. The expo will gather leaders from business, government, civil society, international organisations and academia, as well as innovators.

Under this theme, the expo will focus on the importance of digital transformation across industries, promoting the adoption of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics, blockchain and the internet of things (IoT). Emphasis is placed on empowering small and medium enterprises with digital tools and capabilities, enabling their participation in the digital economy. Central to this approach is a user-centric mindset, driven by empathy and a commitment to creating solutions that cater to the diverse needs and aspirations of people.

Thematic pillars

To progress towards achieving the goals of the expo, the programme is established upon the thematic pillars listed below.

Advancing frameworks on data governance

This pillar concentrates on advancing frameworks for data governance, with a primary emphasis on data privacy, data sharing and open data. Trusted data sharing is a key enabler for a digital economy.

This pillar will have a special focus on open data initiatives that have emerged as influential tools for unlocking economic potential and fostering innovation, enabling small, medium and micro enterprise (SMME) growth and as core engines for smarter cities.

Promoting innovative applications of AI and the metaverse

This pillar is dedicated to the ethical adoption of AI and the metaverse, and their potential to transform government operations and enable innovation. It will provide an overview of the status quo of AI readiness in the country and AI capabilities to improve socioeconomic development.

Promoting innovative application in tech, data and business models to modernise key sectors of the economy

This pillar focuses on the ongoing transition towards low-carbon energy sources and harnessing digital transformation for the modernisation of key sectors of the economy – manufacturing, agriculture and mining – to increase efficiency and productivity.

It will explore strategies, sharing best practices and success stories that demonstrate how digital transformation can optimise resource utilisation, reduce waste and create more sustainable production processes, particularly for SMMEs.

Aligning industry and government on digital identity agenda

This pillar aims to foster collaboration and synergy between public and private partnerships in the space of trusted digital identity. Trusted digital identification, authentication and authorisation is a key enabler for transacting in cyberspace. This pilar will focus on the importance of aligning efforts and priorities to create a unified approach towards advancing the digital identity agenda.

Celebrating women in 4IR in the Global South

This special pillar will celebrate successful women in the 4IR in the Global South. It will feature a panel of experts and practitioners from various sectors and within countries in the Global South who will share their insights, experiences and challenges that women face in advancing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The pillar will aim to foster a dialogue and collaboration among the participants and highlight the best practices and recommendations for promoting gender equality and inclusion in 4IR-related fields, such as STEM education, digital skills development, entrepreneurship and leadership.

Format of the expo

Exhibition area

The expo will feature an exhibition area where industry leaders will showcase their solutions. Attendees can explore live demos and interactive displays and engage directly with the exhibitors to gain in-depth insights into the showcased technologies.

Keynote presentations and panel discussions

Renowned experts and thought leaders will deliver insightful keynote presentations and participate in panel discussions. These sessions will cover a wide array of topics, including emerging trends, best practices and the transformative impact of digital transformation.

Networking and collaboration spaces

The expo will provide dedicated networking spaces designed to facilitate valuable connections among participants. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations, exchange ideas and explore potential collaborations with industry peers, solution providers and experts.

Workshops and interactive sessions

The event will feature workshops and interactive sessions led by industry experts. These sessions will offer practical guidance on implementing digital transformation strategies, addressing challenges and maximising the benefits of IoT technologies within the manufacturing context.


Dr. Lihle Nkomo
Lindelweyizizwe Manqele
Dr. Makaziwe Makamba
Machaka Mosehana
Dr Ntsibane Ntlatlapa
Obakeng Hlatshwayo
Sipho Mtombeni
Dr. Brenda Kubheka
Jean-Jacques Verhaeghe
Lefentse Nokaneng
Pretty Ndlovu
Prof. Mpho Primus
Zintle Ramano
Max Sokolich
Prof. Keith Breckenridge
Rebecca Gatangi
Sandiso Sibisi
Juane Schutte
Juanita Clark
Michael Horn
Zaaid du Toit
Merryl Ford
Granville Abrahams



Networking and Cloud
Language Technologies
Disaster Response
Industrial Production
Policy Support Toolkits

Current Partners

Founding Partners

An initiative of the Department of Science and Innovation, managed and hosted by the CSIR and affiliated to the World Economic Forum.

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Networking and Cloud

Next Generation Cloud Streaming

The concept takes advantage of the virtualised infrastructure and the temporal capabilities of virtual machines and network connections that are at the core of cloud implementations to significantly lower the cost of providing an super-scalable audio-video streaming service. Temporal capabilities of cloud implementations enable the ability to launch a service (in a virtual machine), allocate inter-cloud network resources, deliver the stream on-demand and then to tear it down on completion of the stream. In this way, cloud resources are only used for as long as a streaming session is active and therefore, the cost of such a service is minimised. When the streaming service is not being used, minimal cloud resources are consumed. This fundamentally changes the manner in which streaming services can be offered and will open the way for emerging economies to create competing global services.

TVWS Spectrum Management Toolboxes / Geo-location Spectrum Databases

The TV white space (TVWS) spectrum technology provides an invigorating opportunity to re-use TV bands for broadband access in sparsely populated areas. In South Africa, regulations to allow the use of TVWS are already in place and are under development in several other African countries. The CSIR-developed technology provides an opportunity for wireless internet service providers to offer affordable broadband services to rural households and enterprises, empowering rural digital entrepreneurs.

Low-Cost Spectrum Monitoring System

The S-GLSD is a spectrum management tool that enables efficient allocation of usable spectrum, and enables internet service providers to deploy spectrum sharing broadband networks to underserved communities using the Television white space (TVWS) technology. “Through the S-GLSD enabled TVWS technology, the rural and township based small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) network operators will now get support to deploy affordable broadband internet services in compliance with the ICASA TVWS regulatory framework. This will improve the business models of the SMMEs for sustainability and creation of innovative services.

End-to-end open 5G mobile network test bed

The theme of our exhibition will focus on establishing a state-of-the-art testbed facility for 5G and beyond networks, aiming to facilitate the development of domestic ICT capabilities, promote technology localization, ensure fair broadband access, and foster a competitive telecommunications landscape through SMME support.

Dr. Lihle Nkomo

Dr. Lihle Nkomo is a Digital Transformation specialist with a Doctorate of Business Administration from Paris School of Business in France, where she majored in the successful implementation of DT initiatives across various industries. She holds a Masters of Science in Engineering majoring in control systems, from the University of the Witwatesrand, where she also obtained a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering.

She is a DT professional, where her role focuses on implementing technology solutions that breach the gap between digital strategy and operations. She has led teams that conduct Digital Maturity assessments across different organisations to understand their current and targeted states and further benchmarked these organisations against both local and global digital trends. Dr. Lihle is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) for Industry 4.0 initiatives.

Lindelweyizizwe Manqele

Lindelweyizizwe Manqele is a dedicated researcher in the field of Internet of Things (IoT) and serves as a lecturer at the Durban University of Technology (DUT). Her professional journey includes significant roles, such as her tenure as a scientific researcher within the Internet of Things research group at the CSIR. She has also imparted knowledge as a lecturer at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and the University of Limpopo (UL) in the Computer Science department.

Lindelweyizizwe has actively contributed to Indigenous Knowledge System (IKS) research projects and has generously shared her expertise by tutoring high school students in mathematics and physical science at the Thandulwazi Saturday school. Further extending her educational reach, she mentors students from the School of Computing at UNISA. Her commitment to the field extends beyond academia, as she serves as a board member at Mtheth Software Solutions.

Lindelweyizizwe is a passionate advocate for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education among youth and actively participates in outreach programs organized by STEM-focused non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Her dedication to advancing knowledge and fostering dialogue in her field is evident through her participation in prominent events such as ESOF2022 and 4IR discussions hosted by DIRCO (Department of International Relations and Cooperation) and the Youth ICT Council.

Her impressive academic journey includes a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Zululand, a Bachelor of Science Honours in Computer Science from the same institution, and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Cape Town. Currently, Lindelweyizizwe is diligently pursuing her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, demonstrating her unwavering commitment to academic excellence and innovation in her field.

Dr. Makaziwe Makamba

Dr Makaziwe Makamba is an enthusiastic researcher from East London, in Eastern Cape. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science from University of South Africa (UNISA). She has Masters of Science degree in Computer Science from University of Fort Hare. She did her Bachelor’s degree and Hons from the same University. Her areas of interest include but not limited to the following: AI, Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, System Integration, IoT, E-Services and ICT4D.
Dr Makamba, worked as a Research Expert in (Fourth Industrial Revolution) 4IR – Computer Science at Department of Communication and Digital Technologies (DCDT). She is now a senior researcher at the Center for 4IR (C4IR) in South Africa. She is also a Board Member at ECDC. She has been invited to be a keynote speaker and to be a speaker in various events. She is an AI enthusiast and advisor. She has vasty of knowledge and experience in both private and public sector and worked on the cutting-edge technology and projects. She believes that technology is the weapon that presents opportunities to exterminate poverty, inequalities and unemployment especially in this digital era.

She received a best paper award from International Conference on Society and Information Technologies (ICSIT 2016), that was held in Orlando, Florida in USA. She is also a program committee of various international conferences such as ICSIT. She has published and presented double peer reviewed papers in both international and local conferences. She also worked as a lecturer, part-time lecturer and supervisor in various university include Tshwane University of Technology. She is also an examiner and moderator in different Universities. She believes in inspiring and motivating young women to take part and lead in previously male dominating discipline such as STEM. Dr Makamba has been invited to talk in both national and international platforms, such as UNESCO and other related platforms. She has been nominated as an Inspiring 50 2020, South Africa.

Dr Makaziwe Makamba is inspired by the power of technology and she believes that marginalized areas can be radical transformed by introducing cutting-edge technologies and technology enablers.

Dr Makamba has a heart for community development. She has founded Non-Profit-Organization (NPO) called Rise Science in 2019. Her NPO focuses on improving lives of people who reside in peripheral and disadvantage areas by equipping them with essential computer science skills that are key for the 4IR era. She believes that supporting women in STEM is the only way to close digital gender gap and inequality.

Machaka Mosehana

Machaka Mosehana is a visionary Enterprise Development (ED) Strategist with a remarkable 15-year journey dedicated to nurturing the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the dynamic landscape of South Africa. Her illustrious career has seen her collaborating with a diverse spectrum, including multinationals, nonprofits, and the public and private sectors, resulting in the remarkable unlocking of over R500 million in impact investments, all committed to driving social transformation.

In 2014, she planted the seeds of change with the founding of Fahrenheit Capital, a groundbreaking venture that thrust exceptional SMEs into the global investor spotlight. Machaka currently wears the hat of Director at the Centre of Entrepreneurship within the Johannesburg Business School at the University of Johannesburg. Under her dynamic leadership, this Center has undergone a monumental transformation, elevating its annual revenue from R5 million to a staggering R21.5 million, providing a lifeline to over 5000 small businesses.

Her influence extends far beyond, as evidenced by her nomination to the minister’s committee in 2022, tasked with launching South Africa’s prestigious Artificial Intelligence Institute. As a sought-after thought leader, Machaka also serves as an esteemed advisory board member for the South African AI Association.

Dr Ntsibane Ntlatlapa

Dr Ntsibane Ntlatlapa is an experienced computer scientist and digital strategist, whose focus is on communication technology ecosystems, from digital content generation across the value chain to user interface devices.

With a wealth of experience in senior leadership, strategy, finance, project management, stakeholder engagement, policy formulation, technology development, and research and development leadership, he has held various leadership roles.

He holds a PhD (Computer Science) from Auburn University (United States of America), an MSc (Computer Science) from the University of East Anglia (England) and a BSc (Mathematics and Computer Science) from the National University of Lesotho.

Obakeng Hlatshwayo

Obakeng Hlatshwayo is an IoT Project Lead for the Centre, whose primary focus is on building agile project communities, tracking progress and clear gates for (re)assessing project value. He ensures excellent communication on outcomes and processes, builds on existing knowledge rather than re-inventing the wheel and cultivates an agile mindset and culture to harness the power within the Centre.

With extensive project management expertise across various sectors, Obakeng has an exceptional customer satisfaction record and is extremely successful in coordinating large workforces and competent at overseeing various large-scale projects.

He holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from Northwest University, Bachelor of Technology Degree (Information Communications Technology) from the Vaal University of Technology (South Africa) and is a certified project management professional in good standing with the Project Management Institute in the USA.

Sipho Mtombeni

Mr Sipho Mtombeni is currently the Government Affairs and Public Policy Manager at Google South Africa. His role involves engaging with governments on issues related to policy and legislation in South Africa and Southern Africa. He was previously in a regulatory role and joined Google from the Competition Commission of South Africa.

Mr Mtombeni holds a LLB (Law) Degree from the University of Pretoria as well as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS).

Dr. Brenda Kubheka

Dr Brenda Kubheka is a medical doctor, researcher, and entrepreneur. She is a founder and Managing Director at Health IQ Consulting and recently co-founded Matched Media, a health communications company. She is also a founder of the Woman in Healthcare Summit, launched in 2022.

She received her medical degree from MEDUNSA, an MBA from the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS). She also holds various business diplomas including a certificate in Media and Medicine from the Harvard Medical School. She is an African Leadership Initiative Fellow and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network of leaders leading with integrity. As a lecturer she has taught Society, Culture, and Health and Healthcare Ethics to public health students at Monash University. She is currently a coordinator for Doctor as a Leader module at SMU. She worked in private and public health sectors focusing on healthcare funding, risk management, strategy, and ethics. Her experience includes consulting as a Chief Medical Officer for a private hospital group and assessing hospitals for accreditation. She is a former Chief Director for hospitals in the Mpumalanga Department of Health. She serves on various board including being a Member of Council at the University of Limpopo.

She is a final year Master of Science in Bioethics at Harvard Medical School. She has published and peer-reviewed various international and local journals. Her opinion pieces are published in South Africa and the US. She has a particular interest in selfcare, social justice issues, innovation, and the intersection between humanity and technology.

Jean-Jacques Verhaeghe

Jean-Jacques’ career of 30 years spans several industries and geographies. He is a globally certified PMP (Project Management Professional) and NPDP (New Product Development Professional), including COBIT, ITIL and BPMs. He completed the MBA-LS degree at the University of Cumbria and a Master’s in Science in Information Systems Management degree from the University of Salford (England).

Jean-Jacques has served in mostly senior management positions in numerous industries: ICT, Financial Services, Air Travel and Transport, Mining, Renewable Energy, Telecoms, Retail, and Management /Technical Consulting. He currently serves as Programme Manager for the Real-time Information Systems programme (known as ‘RTIMS’ which delivers Research, Technology and Innovation in/for: ICT, Digitalisation, the Industrial Internet of Things, Data and Information Management etc. in mining), for the Minerals Council South Africa, and is primarily based at the Mandela Mining Precinct. The aim is to assist in bringing the SA mining industry ‘up-to-speed’ in terms of 4IR Technologies and Jean-Jacques has embraced this challenge and embarked on it since 2017. In addition, Jean-Jacques leads and chairs the Mining Industry’s Digital and IT Policy Management Committee. He also serves as co-chair at the Industry Internet of Things Consortium’s Mining Vertical Working Group and is the South African Convenor for the Global Mining Guidelines Group.

Jean-Jacques also serves as a member of the Tutoring Team at Getsmarter, in the University of Oxford/Saïd Business School’s Executive Leadership programme.

Jean-Jacques also serves as Organising Committee member for the Digitalisation in Mining Conference (for the SAIMM). He has also recently been invited to serve on the Mining Indaba Advisory Committee for Technology and Innovation. He also assists and collaborates with MEMSA (Mining Equipment Manufacturers of South Africa) whenever the opportunity presents.

He also serves as a Non-executive Director for a going concern in the Leisure and Hospitality Industry.

Lefentse Nokaneng

Lefentse Nokaneng is a seasoned research and economics professional with extensive experience in the fields of management consulting, macroeconomic analysis, market research and strategic planning. He currently serves as the General Manager for Research at Brand SA, where he oversees a team of research experts and is responsible for developing and implementing research strategies to support the organization’s mission of promoting South Africa as a globally competitive investment and tourism destination.

With over two decades of management experience, Lefentse has developed a deep understanding of the South African economy and its key drivers, as well as the broader global economic landscape. He has consulted on numerous economic projects such as a study commissioned by the IDC to assess the manufacturing capability of South Africa to set up a manufacturing facility for advanced batteries for Hybrid Electric Vehicles and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles; a study commissioned by the Department of Science and Technology to evaluate the R & D and Innovation landscape of South Africa and he was a project lead for the Alignment of the Transport Sector Charter with the New BBBEE codes.

He has co-authored a paper titled: “Government R&D Impact on the South African Macroeconomy.” The paper was published in the African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Development.” and was adopted as part of the Working Paper series of The United Nations University – Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT), a research and training institute that mobilizes knowledge, education, and policy to unlock the full potential of comprehensive innovation for sustainable development. He is a contributing author of the book: Zumanomics: Ways to shared prosperity. Challenges for a new government.

Pretty Ndlovu

With over 14 years of experience in the ICT sector, an extensive background in Marketing Communications, Project Management, Business Leadership, and a wealth of knowledge in the Circular Economy; Pretty Tsholofelo Ndlovu is a Social Innovator on a mission to foster spaces for Climate Solutions and Digital Transformation in Townships and Rural Villages through thriving entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Pretty is the co-founfer of STEM Ignited, an NPO with a focus on creating exciting science-and technology-based career opportunities for African youth.She also founded Slow Textiles, a circular textile manufacturing and recycling facility on a mission to divert textile waste from landfills and manufacture sustainable fabrics of the future. She is the managing director of Virtuoso Digital, a global digital creative agency that is quickly becoming a leader in the ICT sector. Some of her recent industry achievements include a Standard Bank Top Woman in Tech Award nomination.

In addition to her entrepreneurial pursuits, Pretty is deeply committed to creating positive change where she grew up through entrepreneurship education, running an organization called Startup Kasi, a startup incubation hub that aims to create opportunities in the Circular Economy for entrepreneurs in townships.

She also currently serves as the chapter director in Pretoria for the Global Entrepreneurship Network.

Prof. Mpho Primus

Prof. Mpho Primus is an NRF-rated researcher specialising in computational linguistics. She is the deputy director at the Institute for Intelligent Systems, University of Johannesburg. Amongst numerous awards she has received, she is a L’Oréal-UNESCO Women in Science sub-Saharan Regional fellow as well as the Department of Science and Technology (South Africa) Women in Science alumni, and the National Research Foundation (South Africa) Research Excellence Award for Early Career/Emerging Researcher. Prof Primus has worked in numerous projects (multidisciplinary) with project partners across three continents. She currently serves on the IDEMIA Black Women’s Ownership Trust board of trustees as well as on the advisory board for the Pan African Information Communication Technology Association.

Zintle Ramano

Zintle Ramano, b. Oct 25 1994 began her early days at Roedean School For Girls in which she matriculated in 2012. After high school she went onto live, work and study in Luzern, Switzerland. She currently possesses two diplomas in Hospitality Management from Business Hotel and Management School (BHMS) Luzern and BA in Global Business Management from Robert Gordon University. In 2021 she graduated AWE 2021 cohort an entrepreneurship programme sponsored by the US Embassy in collaboration with Africa Women Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF). She was 1 of 1000 applicants chosen throughout South Africa.

On February 23rd 2018, she founded Black African and Beautiful Media Group (PTY) Ltd also known as BAAB Media Group which is 100% black and woman owned BBB-EE business. Since 2018 BAAB Media Group has worked through pro-bono and commissioned work with various companies such as JSE, ABSIP, WDBIH, AIH, IWFSA as well as being the official digital media sponsor for Women’s Economic Assembly (WECONA) a multi-stakeholder platform for deliberate action which was co-signed by President Ramaphosa. In March 2022 BAAB Media Group will be the official digital media sponsor for IWFSA’s 20 Year nniversary Celebration brought to you by Standard Bank.
She has appeared on publications such as Art Basel, Sheer World Wide, Luxe Radar Media and MoreBranches Media and is also known as a global TEDx speaker.

She is a member of various voluntary organisations such as being part of the founding committee and Head of Digital Conversations (2021), Co-Head IDEAL Entrepreneurship (2022) at IWFSA’s Young Leaders Connect IDEAL (YLC-IDEAL Programme), is a South African BRICS Youth Association member, former committee member of UN Women Generation Equality Forum under the action coalition of Tech Innovation & Gender Equality (2021).

Through YLC-IDEAL she has attended Institute of Directors South Africa (iOD SA) Being a Director 3 Part Course (2020) and graduated in Entrepreneurship at the Stellenbosch Graduate Institute (SGI) (2021) She continues to be an entrepreneur who believes that the future is digital and Africa will be the core fundamental operation of the digital global economy.

Max Sokolich

During Max’s 12-year tenure at BankservAfrica, he has developed, implemented and managed products such as the Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment, Data Centre Services, Onbase (Enterprise Content Management) and INTIX (Data Management & Business Activity Monitoring on Financial Transactions).

Max plays a role in managing and leading special projects within BankservAfrica, one of which was a FICA project in which BankservAfrica investigated and led an effort to play a central role in the KYC process which would allow for accountable institutions to validate customer information against ‘golden’ data sources.

Currently Max is leading a BankservAfrica team in unpacking and coordinating the Digital Identity Programme for South Africa together with the community. This includes understanding the narrative for South Africa and finding an interoperable solution which allows for all roleplayers to play a part in ensuring the establishment of an ecosystem which is trusted, secure and caters for South Africans to build, manage and share their Digital Identity with entities.

Prof. Keith Breckenridge

Prof Keith Breckenridge is a Professor and acting Co-Director at Wiser, where he holds the Standard Bank Chair in African Trust Infrastructures. For the last twenty years he has been writing about biometric identification systems and their political effects, especially on the African continent. His book — Biometric State: the Global Politics of Identification and Surveillance in South Africa, 1850 to the Present (Cambridge, 2014) — shows how the South African obsession with Francis Galton’s universal fingerprint identity registration served as a 20th century incubator for the current systems of biometric citizenship being developed throughout the South. In 2017 the book was awarded the inaugural Humanities Book Award by the Academy of Science of South Africa. With Simon Szreter, he edited Registration and Recognition: Documenting the Person in World History published by Oxford UP and the British Academy in 2012, a volume of essays which examines the workings and failures of civil registration systems in twenty different regions and periods around the world.

Rebecca Gatangi

Rebecca is a qualified Project Manager & Business Analyst holding a master’s degree in business administration (cum laude) (from Nelson Mandela University Business School) and Bachelor’s degree in Business Information Systems (from University of Botswana) respectively.

She holds vast experience in Project Management having implemented a number of Strategic Projects and Programmes at the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and previously at Dimension Data South Africa.

Rebecca is currently at the South Africa Cities Network serving as the Programme Manager Innovation – a portfolio designed to integrate innovative practises into day-to-day work in cities by leveraging technology and strategic use of urban data intelligence for planning and decision making. Notably, she is responsible for the compilation of the State of South African Cities Report – a five year insight on the performance and conditions in cities informed by data. Her portfolio further promotes the need for long-term city development strategies, pan African agenda and the application of the Integrated Urban Development Framework.

On a personal level, Rebecca is mother of 3 daughters with great passion for life and leads an active lifestyle as an avid multi-sport athlete with great passion for swimming, cycling and running having completed a number of IROMAN races, Ultra Marathon running events, endurance stage racing cycling as well as the Ocean racing series.

Sandiso Sibisi

With over 13 years of experience in management and technology consulting, Sandiso Sibisi, Former Head of Open Innovation (Africa) at Accenture, holds a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Information Systems (Honours) from Wits University, a Certificate of Social Entrepreneurship from INSEAD Business school and is pursuing a Master’s in Innovation Studies at Wits University, showcasing her commitment to advancing in innovation and technology management. Her expertise and achievements are invaluable in the fields of management, technology and innovation.

Juane Schutte

Juane Schutte is currently the Head of Odin Manufacturing at Jendamark, a people-centric platform that empowers manufacturers to boost their productivity. This role leverages Juane’s passion for building scalable software platforms that have a transformative impact on the global industrial sectors, particularly in fostering job creation in the world of automation.

Prior to leading Odin Manufacturing, Juane held significant roles in digital transformation implementation and consulting with Deloitte. This experience provided a solid foundation in understanding the intricacies of digital transformation and its pivotal role in modernising core businesses processes and systems.

Juane has a keen interest in developing Analytics and AI products, reflecting a commitment to leveraging cutting-edge technology to drive business growth and efficiency. This passion is further demonstrated by his track record of leading multiple digital teams poised for growth and scale.

With a career marked by innovation and leadership, Juane continues to strive for excellence in creating software solutions that not only solve complex problems but also make a positive difference in the world.

Juanita Clark

Juanita Clark is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Digital Council Africa, a not for profit industry association head quartered in South Africa.

Digital technologies offer widespread disruption and will with it unlocking new opportunities for rapid economic growth, innovation, job creation and access to services.

The Digital Council is an independent association that acts a bridge and connector between the government, the technology industry, and interested parties across Africa. It seeks to establish an efficient digital infrastructure sector through the development of best practises, standards policies and guidelines. The Digital Council encourages African governments to embrace the extraordinary possibilities that the digital era has for Africa and believe that the digital economy will enhance the quality of life for African citizens and allow Africa to remain competitive in the global market. The Digital Council mission is to help public and private sector to work together to deliver on the expectations of a gigabit society.

She co-founded the organisation in 2010 after realising the need for grass roots awareness and education with regards to the role of broadband networks in the telecommunications industry. The Digital Council embraces the extraordinary possibilities that the digital era has for Africa.

Aside from her work she is also a published author and have appeared on international television and radio. A high performing and deeply committed leader she played a pivotal role in steering and establishing the fibre industry as we know it today.

Michael Horn

Michael Horn is the Technology Executive for Altron Security and has been in the Information Security industry for thirty years. He has knowledge in Digital Trust Services, cryptography and Identity and Access Management. Michael is a Certified Information Security Professional.

Zaaid du Toit

Principal Engineer
Zaaid du Toit, holds a Master’s in Business Telecommunications from Delft University of Technology, serves as a Principal Engineer at CSIR and C4IR South Africa. With extensive experience in the telecommunications sector, particularly in 5G and Cloud Networking, he holds a pivotal role as a principal networking architect. Zaaid has contributed significantly to designing various solutions for both corporate entities and government initiatives.

His influence extends to critical projects, including aiding the government in negotiations with FIFA for the networking solution during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Additionally, he played a key role in formulating the business case for the implementation of the South African Broadband Policy.

In recent endeavours, Zaaid has delved into research focusing on 5G network slicing use cases for previously unconnected populations, exploring open cloud solutions, and advocating for open data principles specifically tailored for municipalities.

Merryl Ford

Merryl Ford is a digital transformation specialist at the CSIR’s Centre for Robotics and Future Production.

Ford’s passion lies in the application of advanced and innovative information and communication technologies (ICTs) that will lead to socioeconomic development in South Africa and Africa. Over the past few years, she has led various multi-disciplinary ICT interventions, particularly in the education and skills-development environments. She has published widely on these issues and presented at many conferences and forums around the world.

Ford’s current interest is in the use of emerging technologies, such as distributed ledger technologies (blockchain), big data, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, combined with promising new business models in stimulating and supporting technology innovation in Africa. She currently runs the South African National Blockchain Alliance (SANBA), an initiative supported by the Department of Science & Innovation. SANBA aims to catalyse blockchain adoption in the country.

Granville Abrahams

Granville Abrahams is a pioneer at the Electoral Commission of South Africa where he has practiced for the past 25 years. He is the General Manager for electoral operations, being in charge of the project management of all elections held at local, provincial and national levels.

He is also Custodian for the National Common Voters Roll and responsible for its maintenance. As a digital transformer he has initiated and overseen the following during his tenure at the IEC

  • Voting results platform and the Results platform
  • Online voter registration
  • Online candidate Nomination
  • On line party registration
  • On line supporter signature requirement
  • Reducing the address gap on the voters roll from 8m to 900k
  • Geocoding of 18 Million voters on the voters roll

In addition, he has also managed election projects in the Grand Comoros as well as observing elections in Africa under the banner of the African Union and United Nations. He is the co-coordinator of the EU funded Project to “Prevent, Mitigate and Manage Election-Related Conflict and Potential Violence in South Africa” (PEV-RSA) implemented by the IEC in partnership with the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) to support the prevention, mitigation and management of election-related conflicts and potential violence that may arise prior to, during and after the 2019 general elections at national and provincial level.

He co-chairs the Election Priority Committee which is a sub-committee of the National Joint Security structure. He is also a facilitator of the UNISA course MDEA (Managing Democratic Elections in Africa) and, since the inception of the programme, has seen approximately 500 delegates from EMB’s, media and civil society organisations. At the Electoral Commission of South Africa, he has hosted numerous study tours by visiting Election Management Bodies. He also partners on a regular basis with the South African foreign ministry as a facilitator for visiting diplomat trainees from the African Continent on free and fair elections and conflict mediation in elections.

As an international expert, amongst other

  • He has partnered with International IDEA, providing technical assistance with the transmission of election results in Tunisia as well as contributing to the Policy Paper on Risk Management in Elections.
  • Been a guest speaker at the 2018 Joint EU-UNDP Global Conference Sustaining Peace through Elections.
  • Panel member at the 2018 Stockholm peace and development Forum (The politics of peace) contributing to the sub theme Analysing mediation effectiveness in election-related violence.
  • For European Resources for Mediation Support – ERMES (III) Synthesizing and analysing inputs for the National Reform Authority (NRA) of Lesotho, Assigned the responsibility to take the Multi-Stakeholder National Dialogue Plenary II report (MSDN II) to the stage of legislative amendment as well as facilitating training in the role and governance of the NRA.

Language Technologies

Qfrency Text-to-Speech

The Qfrency text-to-speech (TTS) system creates human-like voices from written text for the South African market. These synthetic voices can say and read anything in South African spoken languages, on a wide range of devices and platforms, for industry, developers and individuals.

The Voice Computing Research Group within the CSIR studies the way in which speech- and language-related technologies can be created and applied to benefit the people of southern Africa. South Africa is a multilingual country, with eleven official languages, requiring unique text-to-speech solutions to accommodate the diversity of languages. This uniqueness has led to years of research and more recently the development of text-to-speech (TTS) voices for the eleven official South African spoken languages. The TTS voices can be used for impact in real-world applications, such as disseminating information, providing dynamic content, enhancing digital literacy and enabling communication, to name but a few.


iSinkwe is an application that adds and synchronises human-narrated or computer-generated audio to text of an eBook. The text in any of the 11 official verbal languages of South Africa can be augmented with audio, with the option of facilitating other international languages. Publishers, universities, schools and private individuals and others can use iSinkwe to create more accessible books, class notes and other documents. It will open the world of reading and learning to everyone by reducing barriers of accessibility to content.

Disaster Response

Advanced Fire Information System

Wildfires pose a significant threat to life and property assets. The ability to predict fire risk using updated information is vital for the readiness and response required to address a potential disaster. The CSIR-developed Advanced Fire Information System is an operational wildfire information system focused on the prediction, detection, monitoring and assessment of wildfires in southern Africa.

The system provides users with fire danger forecasts based on the Lowveld Fire Danger Index and the Canadian Fire Weather Index – rating conditions that are conducive to the ignition and spread of fires. The system utilises a portfolio of satellite sensors of various spatial and temporal resolution for the early detection of fire events. Post-fire analyses of fire events include burnt area mapping, as well as statistical and fire-prone area identification. These data sets and services assist with decision making and the establishment of mitigation plans, tactical support during a fire event and rehabilitation operations after a fire.

Industrial Production

4IR Production and Assembly Station

At the 4IR Production and Assembly Station, candidates can gain an introductory understanding of human-robot collaboration in assembly cells, preserving human skills alongside automated processes. This station facilitates rapid training for individuals with varied skill levels, fostering interactive and efficient interaction with assembly technology. By offering hands-on experience with an automated assembly station, users can seamlessly transition to real-world environments like those found at automotive company/industry. This station not only accelerates skills development but also serves as a platform for stakeholders to explore the potential of human-centered automation, benefiting employees and industries alike.

Virtual Reality Station

The Virtual Reality Station provides an immersive experience, showcasing the power of virtual reality (VR) in training operators for complex production scenarios. Through a meticulously replicated virtual environment, participants engage with a full-scale production setting, enabling remote training with enhanced safety measures. This station not only presents the concept of a skills pipeline through VR training but also demonstrates how VR technology can bridge the gap between traditional training methods and the demands of modern industrial practices.

Augmented Reality Demo

At the Augmented Reality station, candidates can grasp the fundamentals of Augmented Reality (AR) technology, its tools, and practical applications. This station facilitates learning and teaching of AR tools, allowing users to interact with and understand their functionality. An engaging demonstration involves overlaying AR visuals onto the process of installing brake pads, illustrating how AR can enhance and guide intricate tasks. With a focus on accessibility and user-friendly interaction, this station highlights the potential of AR technology to transform training and task execution across various industries.

Policy Support Toolkits

The National Policy Data Observatory (NPDO)

The NPDO is a government-led initiative, currently incubated at the CSIR, with the main objective to support data-driven decision making in government on various socio-economic interventions.

POPIA Compliance Assessment Toolkit.

PCAT is a web-based application that is designed to help organizations to seamlessly assess their current state of compliance to the POPI Act. Based on the assessment outcome, a report that addresses areas of improvements is generated. The assessed organisation may then work closely with designated compliance specialists from the CSIR to implement the recommendations from the report, thus improving the compliance posture of the entire organisation. Ultimately, PCAT provides Compliance as a Service.