Gauteng premier David Makhura says that more than a third of current jobs in South Africa and Gauteng in particular will change, and others will disappear completely with the arrival of the 4th Industrial Revolution – a digital revolution or fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.
On Monday, Makhura delivered the State of the Province Address at the Gauteng Legislature in Johannesburg. He highlighted the need to modernise key sectors of the economy and the state in order to fuel job creation.
“To eliminate unemployment in Gauteng, we need to create 5,400 jobs per day – and to halve unemployment, we need to create 2,700 jobs per day,” he said.
Gauteng’s unemployment rate is currently at 29.1% according to Q4 2017 data from StatsSA, while the expanded unemployment rate is at 33.7%. This is against a national rate of 26.7%.
“The 4th Industrial Revolution is upon us. It is going to fundamentally transform the way we live, work and relate to one another. It offers enormous opportunities and some challenges, unless we are prepared for it,” Makhura said.
The World Economic Forum estimates that 65% of children entering primary school will find themselves in occupations that today do not exist. “In Gauteng, it is estimated that over 35% of current jobs in South Africa and Gauteng in particular will change and others will disappear completely,” he said.
“We have a partnership with technology companies to train large numbers of young people in digital skills so that they can take advantage of employment and entrepreneurial opportunities in the digital economy.”
The premier said that the economy is transitioning to knowledge-intensive industries, with the average ICT-intensity of jobs in South Africa having increased by 20% over the past decade.
He said that the Gauteng Provincial Government has invested public money in the creation of broadband infrastructure towards the goal of 100% broadband connectivity in Gauteng by 2020.
“To date we have connected over 1,500 kilometres of network fibre, with 1,066 access sites, connecting schools, health sites, libraries, community centres.
“We are also working with our own technology entrepreneur and businessman, Dr Andile Ngcaba, who is mentoring young innovators and incubating technology start-up companies at the Silicon Valley. This year, we will send twenty tech-preneurs to Sillicon Valley,” Makhura said.
“There are clear signs already that a new dawn is upon us, thus instilling renewed confidence in South Africa’s economy. All key players in the economy including labour, business and consumers are willing to work together under the leadership of President Ramaphosa to get South Africa working so that we can get our economy to work for all our people,” Makhura said.