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Ramaphosa: Fourth industrial revolution will create new jobs

President Cyril Ramaphosa was speaking at a conference where business, academia and civil society reflected on the past and the next 25 years of democracy.

President Cyril Ramaphosa at a conference at the University of Johannesburg where business, academia and civil society reflected on the past and the next 25 years of democracy. Picture: GCIS.

AUCKLAND PARK - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday assured South Africans that although jobs would be lost to technology with the implementation of the fourth industrial revolution, more opportunities would be presented.

Ramaphosa was speaking at a conference at the University of Johannesburg where business, academia and civil society reflected on the past and the next 25 years of democracy.

Just this month, the president hosted the country's first fourth industrial revolution digital economy summit but there were already concerns that this could cause more economic disparities.

“We are going to see a hammering, not only in our country but throughout the world, a hammering on employment; many more people are going to lose jobs," he said.

Ramaphosa said people would lose jobs as a result of technology, climate change, globalisation and low economic growth.

But it was not all doom and gloom.

Ramaphosa said if South Africa started now to skill and re-skill people, more job opportunities would open up.

“Even the new artificial intelligence is going to create many more new jobs.”

He said South Africans couldn't sit back and fold their hands to avoid the change as this would have a far more devastating impact on the economy.