Technology is fast taking over the world, and newer ones are coming up every day, and this is what Honourable Stella is banking on as she strongly sets off the 4IR project.

Stella Tembisa Ndabeni-Abrahams is a South African Politician, and she served as the Minister of Small Business Development in the cabinet of President Cyril Ramaphosa. She has occupied positions such as the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies and Deputy Minister of Communication, member of the Eastern Cape Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) and member of the Eastern Cape African National Congress (ANC) Provincial Working Committee (PWC).

Honourable Stella was born in 1978 in Sakhela to her Pastor Parents. She received an Advanced Certificate in Project Management from Rhodes University, Project Management Diploma from the Cranefields College and a Diploma in Telecommunications, Policy and Regulation Management from the Wits University. From 2003 to 2009, she worked as a Project Manager for the Eastern Cape Socio-Economic Consultative Council.

Honourable Stella also occupied parliamentary committees like the Portfolio Committee on Communications and Committee Whip in 2011, Portfolio Committee on Defense and Committer Whip from 2009 to 2011, Defence and Intelligence and African National Congress (ANC) Parliamentary Caucus Sub-Committee on Political Education.

Her Intervention Module

Honourable Stella is not just a politician sitting in the office. Her ministerial and technological position has been used to develop and empower the youths and other citizens.

Because of her strong background in ICT convergence and digital transformation and her involvement in the South African positioning for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), she has invested her time developing skills and capacity building for youths, entrepreneurs, government employees and citizens. To this effect, she has taken part in building the Capable 4IR Army and launched the 4IR Skills Forum to sync the efforts of stakeholders contributing to building the 4IR Army. The processes needed to achieve her aim include in-school and post-school training, SMME development, infrastructure deployment and innovation initiatives.

In her technological vision, schools have not been left out. Her amendment of mobile operators’ license obligations by the communications regulator saw that about 4500 rural schools got equipped with cyber labs with laptops, tablets, 24-month internet connectivity, education software and printing facilities. Because of these improvements, many schools could connect to the 2010 World Cup Legacy. She also promotes the inclusion of language learning in schools so that there will be no underqualified people when the opportunities in 4IR are presented. Honourable Stella believes that technology needs the involvement of humans and, therefore, many people should be trained in related technological skills. She focuses not only on the urban setting of society but also on the rural places.

Her Uniqueness

Honourable Stella is one of the youngest politicians in the Cabinet in South Africa, and she is also a female thrust into a male-dominated world. One can imagine the attention her presence probes each time she aims to take on something new. She also recounts that her role as the minister was not appreciated, and it must have been because of her gender. She is involved in fighting against workplace stigma and believes that women can do anything.

Ndabeni-Abrahams is committed to fighting stigmas in their place of work to emphasize that women can do anything.

She once defiled the rule of the parliament when she was charged with appointing some people to the Industry regulating Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA). Still, she refused because those candidates were unsuitable for appointments and could not deal with the digital economy. This incited lots of controversies, and they even asked her to resign, but she shocked the whole parliament by declaring that she would go nowhere or leave. This happening made most people see her as an arrogant person, and the Chairperson of the house overruled all questions and allowed her to be at liberty with her decisions.

Though young, Honourable Stella has proven herself a strong woman who sticks to her principles and goals, which she believes should benefit every citizen. No woman is incapable of reaching the height she aims for. 

Written By: Joyce C. Nwezeh Obi-Akejelu (Writer, Social media manager and graphic designer with Africa4AfricaWomen/Assert/PAWES).


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