Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has called on the private sector and institutions of higher learning to work with government to help citizens prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution  (4IR). She has met with various role players for a roundtable discussion in Cape Town.

Ndabeni-Abrahams says 4IR will drastically change the way people live, work and relate to one another.

She says 20 million South Africans are still not digitally connected and this is concerning.

“For us to be effective in the Fourth Industrial Revolution we have got to co-ordinate, collaborate for effective execution of the revolution. Government alone cannot win the battle but most importantly for the private sector and the industry to thrive, it really needs people who understand how to use its own technologies. Therefore it benefits them to expose people to the technologies by giving them the skills to say if I’m selling a cellphone or a tablet, what other use you can use it for that can change your economic and social status.”

Speaking at the same event, Associate Professor at the University of South Africa, Siyasanga Tyali says universities have a role to play in getting South Africans digitally connected.

“I think that first of all universities have to ask themselves serious and hard questions in terms of the programs that they are offering or whether those programmes are actually relevant at the moment and secondly they have to ask themselves in terms of how those programmes are structured and whether the advent of the 4IR it is actually applicable towards the programmes that are structured at the moment.”