South Africa: Automation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution - a Force for the Liberation of Workers

analysis

Work in the 21st century will require a new kind of training to equip the youth to ride the incoming wave of automation, rather than drown in it. With an already high level of youth unemployment, South Africa needs to produce a new generation of the worker from its educational institutions and youth employment programmes, with an emphasis on creativity and soft skills.

The public debate around the disheartening youth unemployment -- 55.2% for those aged 15-24 -- always involves a damning indictment of a failing education system which leaves young people without the basic competency for skilled work or without adequate higher training required by the labour market.

Occasionally, a shrinking economy that declined by 3.2% in the first quarter of 2019 shows up in conversation as the cause of fewer jobs being available, even for those who are qualified, let alone the unskilled majority.

And, coupled with a complicated labour law system, the frequency of public protests and seemingly unwise public policy, foreign direct investment is said to be repelled from the South African economy.

Furthermore, a dread of the impending automation of work and its effects is expected to exacerbate an already volatile public mood when workers...

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