Johannesburg, 11 April – Following a successful period of growth and influence in the ICT sector, the Information Technology Association of South Africa (ITA) has elected a new management team to build on the successes of its predecessors at the recent annual general meeting held on 4 April 2019 in Johannesburg.
Thabo Mofokeng, owner of technology consulting firm Solario Technologies, was elected President of ITA. Mofokeng has served as ITA vice-president to outgoing President Sunil Geness and has played an influential role in the organisation’s success.
Mofokeng has worked in engineering, technology management, project management and programme supervision in broadband optical wireless and wireline telecommunications services, broadcasting services, and information technology industries in national, provincial, municipal and local government spheres.
In recent years, Mofokeng has operated as a management consultant, leading projects for organisations such as the Sentech, Gauteng Broadband Network, SABC, USAASA, ICASA, Telkom, Eskom, SAMRO and the Department of Communications. Mofokeng played significant and leading roles in the industry as a professional engineer, project manager, technology consultant, business entrepreneur and management consultant for a variety of projects within the public and private corporations.
“My focus will be on assisting ITA to play a significant role in the digital economy, encourage inclusive ICT skills development, provide a platform for policy engagement on matters affecting our members and the ICT industry at large,” Mofokeng said soon after his election.
“Ultimately, we aim to cement the position of ITA as the industry thought leader for the future of technology, industrial revolution and skills development, and to build on the legacy of achievements of the outgoing President, Sunil Geness” Mofokeng added.
Mofokeng is a registered Professional Engineer with the Engineering Council of South Africa (member since 1998) and a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (member since 1991). He acquired a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from Howard University in Washington DC, USA in December 1992.
Ahmed Ismael, Charmaine Houvet and Dr Nik Eberl were elected vice presidents of ITA and will support Mofokeng in the organisation’s mission to further grow its influence in the sector.
Andréa Campbell was elected Honorary Treasurer. Campbell is the Commercial Attorney and Government Affairs Liaison for Microsoft Corporate, Executive and Legal Affairs for Middle East and Africa. She holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB: Law) Degree from University of Pretoria, as well as a Post-graduate diploma in Financial Planning Law from the University of the Free State. Campbell is an admitted Attorney of the High Court of South Africa, Certified Financial Planner and member of the Financial Planning Institute of South Africa where she gives of her time pro bono. Campbell joined Microsoft in 2018 and has in excess of 12 years’
experience in corporate law, financial services, investment banking and ICT.
Ahmed Ismael – Smiley, community activist, social entrepreneur, Ashoka Fellow with over 40 years’ experience, and founding director of Siyafunda Community Technology Centre was elected as one of three vice-presidents of ITA. With a vision to empower, educate and e-connect communities, and make computer literacy available to everyone, Smiley opened the first Siyafunda Community Technology Centre in Palm Ridge in 2006.
The first centre, a Community Public Private Partnership, established the model for the now more than 200 community centres nationally which have helped unlock people’s potential for creativity and productivity.
Charmaine Houvet has over two decades of telecommunications experience working with private and public sector organisations across Africa. She joined Cisco in March 2016 with several years’ experience as a Senior Executive in diverse and transformative roles with high profile leading ICT companies.
She currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Global Broadband Plan for Refugees Project to meet the broadband connectivity goal set by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR).
Houvet serves on the Cisco local board and the charitable trust board headquartered in San Jose. She has also recently been appointed to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Presidential Commission on 4IR.
Dr Nik Eberl (as he is internationally known) holds a PhD from the Free University of Berlin (Germany) and a Postgraduate Diploma from The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, and has appeared extensively in mainstream media.
Dr Nik is the Founder and Executive Chair of the Future Leadership Forum and has interviewed 100 Global CEO’s on the Future of Humanity and Leadership (www.thefutureleadership.com) and has presented to the international media at the Global Leaders’ Summit, sharing the platform with renowned leadership gurus such as Tom Peters, Rudy Giuliani and Michael Porter to name a few.
ITA’s new management team will look to consolidate the organisation’s respected position in the ICT industry. Under the leadership of outgoing chairperson Sunil Geness, ITA has been revived and become a financially stable organisation again, through various initiatives and by attracting the support of prominent new members. Geness is widely recognised for repositioning the organisation with the South African Government, African Governments, the MICT SETA, Business Unity South Africa (BUSA), the Black Business Council (BBC), South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) and global organisations such as BRICS business Council, the Africa ICT Alliance (AfICTA), World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA), International Telecommunications Union (ITU), other United Nations organisations, the African Development Bank and the African Union. During Geness’s Presidency, the ITA was also able to conclude a landmark historical agreement with the Gauteng Provincial Government, affording ITA members unique opportunities to collaborate in respect of specific programmes, activities, projects and or events supporting the province’s ICT agenda.
Geness and outgoing Honorary Treasurer Dr Kenny Moodley have together been instrumental in initiating the Future of Technology Conference which proved to be resounding success in 2018. ITA’s new management team will also now be able to benefit from a closer working relationship between government and the ICT industry that Geness and his management team have nurtured.
“When I look back as Honorary Treasurer nearly two years ago, it was a sudden request. The ITA was financially challenged in terms of balancing the income generated through membership fees and conferences and maintaining a healthy balance sheet. It was an organisation with serious cash flow issues. The two-pronged strategy that the outgoing president Sunil Geness and I implemented was aimed at making better use our membership contributions and reducing costs,” said Dr Moodley, Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd representative now employed at Retail Business Banking SA, Absa Group.
“I am pleased to leave the position on a high note. We’ve turned around a financially challenged business and set in motion a new dimension of thinking that is geared towards creating value for our members and realising the mission of ITA, which is to serve the ICT community in turn contributing to the economic growth of South Africa and developing sustainable ICT skills.
“The strategy adopted has meant that the ITA is now out of its financial challenges and on a healthy footing. We’ve introduced some new thinking into how a non-profit organisation is run, reducing operating costs and creating value for its members,” Dr Moodley added. “The Future of Technology conference is a shining example of what the ITA is capable of doing, by leading the way in future thinking digitally, and preparing the country for the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” Dr Moodley said.
Geness reflected on his tenure as ITA chairperson with fondness and satisfaction. “ITA has made immense strides over the past few years and has emerged as an authoritative voice in the ICT sector. The organisation has grown in stature, adding value to its members and leading the growth and preparations for South Africa to benefit from the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
“I congratulate the new management team of ITA, entrust with them the vision and mission of the ITA to bring about real change in the ICT sector by providing opportunities for growth, learning and skills development in the years to come,” Geness concluded.