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The newly appointed Telecommunications and Postal Services, Minister, Siyabonga Cwele, says government is doing all it can to prepare South Africans for a “technological revolution” that is set to change lives.

The minister said government was cognisant of international developments around information communication and technology (ICT), and would strive to bring the same level of development to the country.

Speaking at an ICT conference hosted by Cisco South Africa on Tuesday, Minister Cwele said by 2025, the world’s population would have moved “from having no or limited internet access, to having total access - most probably through a mobile device”.

He said the growing use of ICTs has become characteristic of the era in which South Africans live, and added that currently, over 2.4 billion people worldwide are connected to the Internet.

“The rapid manner in which ICTs continue to transform all aspects of our lives [is] acknowledged. The World Economic Forum highlighted the shift towards ‘The Internet of Things’.

“Simply put, it refers to the growing number of devices that are connected to the internet, and to each other. Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) predicts some 25 billion devices will be connected by 2015, and 50 billion by 2020,” Minister Cwele said.

Cisco South Africa partnered with the Communications Department in 2009 to train higher education students to become computer technicians.

Minister Cwele said the National Development Plan (NDP), South Africa’s policy framework that is aimed at improving the lives of all South Africans by 2030, called for people to be “e-literated” by 2030.

He said while only 33% of internet traffic was generated from non-PC (personal computer) devices in 2013, it is predicted that by 2018, 57% of internet traffic will emanate from non-PC devices.

“This is the world we have to prepare for. Among the priorities [the NDP] highlights is improving the quality of education, skills development and innovation.

“I urge both Cisco and our universities to continue on this path of collaboration and innovation in delivering skills and learning solutions to especially our youth,” he said.

Minister Cwele said providing better access to educational opportunities will have a positive impact on the quality of life of all people as well as the economic prosperity of the country.

He said the shortage of ICT skills in South Africa and the African continent as a whole is an opportunity that needs to be seized.

“Ensuring that the young men and women of our country have not only the e-skills, but also the e-astuteness to take advantage of the advent of the society of the ‘internet of things’ is vital to reaching this target and overcoming the challenge of poverty, inequality and joblessness facing South Africa.” –