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Panel discussions on the future of work

FROM 15 August to 12 September, JIAS will host four high-level panel discussions on the future of work. The series is aimed at providing South African role players with an opportunity to discuss the nature and implications of the far-reaching technological changes under way in the workplace in South Africa as well as globally.

Analysts and practitioners alike have increasingly come to realise that the technological changes driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution will profoundly affect the world of work, and therefore human societies in general. Societies which quickly grasp and come to terms with these changes will stand a better chance of adapting to them in the longer term.

In this series, representatives of government, business, organised labour and academia will share their views and experiences of the changing nature of work, and what the technological changes driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution hold for work and the future. Participants will include Prof Tshilidzi Marwala, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Johannesburg.

The panel discussions will be held at JIAS in Westdene, Johannesburg, on four Wednesdays from 15 August to 12 September 2018 at 16h30 in the afternoon. The discussions will last for 90 minutes, followed by informal discussions over refreshments. Details of each panel discussion appear below.

PANEL 1: WHAT’S FACT AND WHAT’S FANTASY ? (Wednesday 15 August 2018)

This opening panel will discuss the broad changes involved in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, their implications for the future of work, and whether South Africa is capable of addressing them. Panelists will include Prof Tshilidzi Marwala, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of UJ, and Enoch Godongwana, chairperson of the ANC NEC Economic Transformation Sub-committee.

PANEL 2: TRADE UNION PERSPECTIVES (Wednesday 22 August 2018)

This panel will consider the views of workers on the implications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution for the future of work, and what trade unions are doing to secure their members’ futures. Panelists will include representatives of COSATU, FEDUSA, NACTU and SAFTU.

PANEL 3: BUSINESS PERSPECTIVES (Wednesday 5 September 2018)

Besides offering industry-specific views, business leaders on this panel will explore ways in which business and society can prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Panelists will include Sipho Maseko, CEO of Telkom; M D Ramesh, President and Regional Head for Southern and Eastern Africa of Olam International; and Yolisa Kani, Head of Public Policy, Uber South Africa.


This panel will consider the implications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution for tertiary institutions. Panelists will discuss whether universites should only teach science and technology, whether the humanities have a future, and the extent to which universities should collaborate with industry. Panelists will include Prof Babu Paul of UJ, Prof Ruksana Osman of the University of the Witwatersrand, and Prof Robin Crewe of Pretoria University.


The panel discussions are open to all, but seating will be limited. To secure your attendance at all or any of these discussions, please contact Emelia Kamena at Attendance of the whole series is encouraged.


To download a comprehensive background document with the full panel schedule, click here.


Parking at JIAS is limited, and parking in Tolip Street is not secure. Therefore, please park at the UJ Astro Hockey Club in nearby Radnor Street, Westdene. This parking is secure. A shuttle will take you to JIAS, and return you to your vehicle. It will run for an hour before each panel discussion, and for three quarters of an hour thereafter. For directions and a map, click here.


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