The devastating effects of the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic are crashing economies and markets as the world scrambles for an ultimate cure. While clinical trials are an advanced stage in countries such as the United Kingdom, many African nations including South Africa are embracing life under these turbulent times.
By Farai Diza
More job losses are also being projected at a time when the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is kicking. In the hubaloo of all the pandemonium, South African’s have been hard at work oiling economic engines through digital technology. This has seen a number of companies that were on the brink of closure surviving the harsh economic climate. Rafael Thabo Kunene, a leading IT specialist, who has vast experience in government and business digital analysis thinks that digital technology transformation has influenced the paradigms of economic activities in South Africa during Covid-19. “To be fair and honest, Covid-19 has not just caused mayhem. It has totally changed the world and the effects will still be felt years after. In a business sense, we can’t ignore the fact that ways of doing business are now influenced by just how much you use digital technology. Many government structures and entrepreneurs have increased digital innovation in their operations, which is a good thing, considering the fact that 4IR is hot on our heels,” Mr Kunene said. He stated that some of the innovations used brought an entire approach to conducting business. These include virtual meetings which involve all stakeholders. Virtual meetings are a new norm in South Africa. The country is well accustomed to using the traditional face to face meetings. Some companies have also shifted to online trading for the very first time since their establishments. This was necessitated by the implementation of strict lockdown measures (under lockdown levels 4 and 5) which prohibited the opening of physical stores that trade in non-essential goods and services. The country is currently under level 3 which allows most businesses to operate. Mr Kunene added that the coronavirus did not just bring a trail of destruction but also brought innovations. He believed that it was important for all sectors of economy to increase their digital presence. “Adjustments to the economy will be based on the fundamental changes which these digital innovations will bring. For instance how much effort is being put in and how much is going out,”he explained.
Cyber criminality on the raise
According to a May 2020 report by a cyber Security Council, cases of cyber hacking increased tremendously since the coronavirus outbreak. Companies have resultantly lost a huge chunk of money to these criminals.
Mr Kunene warned that many criminals were taking advantage of several flows that exist on the cyber world. “Issues related to cyber security are on the increase and such reports must never be ignored. Remember we once had a porn video incident during a ministers briefing. Those are just the tit bits. Companies could lose millions of Rand if their online systems are not frequently updated. So while the dynamics of it all goes digital, all the systems must be secured by experts. Otherwise it will all go to waste and be in vain,”he concluded.
Marla Smit, a leading entrepreneur from Fourways, Johannesburg saved her businesses with the use of digital innovations. “We were ruined by Covid-19 but quick thinking saved us from extinction. We use a number of digital innovations in order to meet our clients’ needs. We don’t go to them and they don’t come to us. Its either you swim or you sink,”said Marla Smit.
Ce message est également disponible en : French