Industrial revolution won't cost jobs - Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams on 4IR

Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams says she will ensure the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) doesn't cause job losses.
Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams says she will ensure the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) doesn't cause job losses.
Image: Eugene Coetzee

Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams says South Africans should embrace technological advancements and not fear losing jobs because of the fourth industrial revolution.

"We want people to able to relate to technologies and how they can change their lives. I will make sure people don't lose their jobs and don't miss out on technological advancements," said Ndabeni-Abrahams, who was speaking at Uber's first Tech4Safety summit held in Johannesburg on Friday.

She said one of the responsibilities of her department was to create an enabling environment for the industry to make sure that the 20-million "unconnected" people in the country were connected to wi-fi.

"But even if we have all these technologies and connect everyone, do people understand how to participate in the space?"

She said the government, in collaboration with Wits University, conducted research on the digital skills gap in the country, which revealed that while most people were qualified, "digital illiteracy" posed a challenge to a productive workforce.

"We took a decision to put people at the top of the fourth industrial revolution. We admit we have not done much investing in skills. We applaud those who did not wait for government to get apps and use them," she said.

She urged people not to be scared that technology would replace them.

"We are about upskilling people and need them to understand that the fourth industrial revolution is here to stay."


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