A number of South African industries will be hit hard by AI and automation, says tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane.

Kubayi-Ngubane currently sits on the World Economic Forum’s Global Council for Artificial Intelligence and has attributed some of the country’s major recent job cuts to these new technologies.

“Standard Bank and Multichoice recently announced that a huge contingent of their workforce will be laid off because their areas of work will now be performed by automated technologies,” said Kubayi-Ngubane at an SMME conference this past week.

“McDonald’s outlets are currently piloting self-service portals which, in the medium term, means that many of McDonald’s current workers are going to lose their jobs.”

Kubayi-Ngubane said that front desk jobs in the tourism industry are also being automated.

Nearly half of South African jobs will be replaced by automation

Speaking at South Africa’s first Digital Economy Summit at the start of July, Gauteng premier David Makhura said that the country will need to prepare its workers as the country stands on the brink of a ‘technological revolution’.

The World Economic Forum estimates that 65% of children entering primary school will find themselves in occupations that today do not exist,” he said.

“We in South Africa are also moving fast to a future in which 41% of current jobs in South Africa will be rendered obsolete by automation; when 35% of skills that are considered important in today’s workforce will have changed beyond recognition and others would have disappeared completely.”

Makhura said that Africa and South Africa cannot be left behind.

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“South Africa must take a lead in order to ensure that we collectively harness the opportunities and navigate the challenges brought about by the advent of 4th Industrial Revolution,” he said.


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