4IRSA Messages of Support

  • Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said the summit was a crucial intervention in guiding South Africa’s readiness for 4IR. “This summit confirms our view that as we navigate the 4IR, there is a need for coordination of efforts and a more concerted collaboration between government, public entities, the private sector, academia and civil society; amongst others.”
  • The University of Johannesburg (UJ) said it recognised the extraordinary advances of 4IR and its impact in the world of work and how humans live and interact. “We recognise the role of universities to develop skills for future generations, with academia navigating directions for the future. As the founding partner, UJ declares its support for #4IRSA… an initiative that seeks to stimulate and facilitate an inclusive fact-based dialogue to help shape a coherent, national response to the fourth industrial revolution in SA, said Prof. Saurab Sinha, UJ Vice Deputy Chancellor: Research and Internationalisation.
  • The University of Witwatersrand said that while the potential of 4IR – such as artificial intelligence, big data, automation, cryptocurrencies, or augmented, virtual and mixed realities – was immense, South Africa faced many multi-layered changes that were radically reshaping how we lived, worked, did business, and how governments engaged citizens. “We need to work across sectors to develop the technology required for us to leapfrog across eons of poverty, unemployment and inequality, and in so doing to create a new world order that prioritises humanity before profits and power. We can’t stop the change, any more than we can stop the sun from setting, so let’s embrace it,” said Wits Vice-Chancellor Prof. Adam Habib.
  • The University of Fort Hare believes the 4IRSA collaboration is key to higher education and its purpose is reimagined. “Our staff and our students have a critical role to play in shaping as well as in responding to the significant and sweeping changes to the current order and the way we work,” said Fort Hare Vice-Chancellor Prof. Sakhela Buhlungu.
  • Deloitte said the acceleration of technology and digitisation across all aspects of life present incredible opportunity. “Deloitte is proud to be a part of the 4IRSA Partnership… We need to harness our spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship as a country to challenge the status quo and embrace the new technologies now available. This will open the door to new jobs, greater competitiveness and social progress,” said Thiru Pillay, Managing Director of Deloitte Consulting Africa.
  • Vodacom said that by moving towards an optimised, connected, digitally inclusive and smarter society, a variety of technologies would be required to manage and facilitate the efficient transfer of data, implement automation, and utilise analytics to make data-driven decisions and optimise operations across infrastructure and resources. “These technologies will need to work together to yield powerful applications that are greater than the sum of their parts. The technologies have the abilities to transform lives in the areas of education, health and social development. Vodacom’s support of the 4IRSA initiative is inspired by the latent developmental potential that 4IR has to improve the quality of life for all South Africans including the most economically marginalised,” said Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub.
  • Huawei is currently partnering with stakeholders in ICT to develop and grow a healthy industry ecosystem in which every player can succeed. “Participating in the 4IRSA initiative is an extension of our collaborative ethos and we are eager to contribute to formulating an inclusive plan for the fourth industrial revolution in SA. We believe that as we move towards a digital society, no one must be left behind,” said Huawei CEO Spawn Fan.
  • Telkom said it was excited to drive conversations around how the country could take advantage of the benefits of 4IR and avoid the long-term adverse effects of exclusion. “The digital economy is a game-changer for South Africa. If we leverage the opportunities it brings, we can harness the immense potential in our country and reduce the divides in our society. This is not a job for one, but rather a partnership between government, business, academia and civil society. This is why Telkom called for dialogue as a founding supporter,” said Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko.