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Llewellyn Jones named new SITA CEO

Public service and administration minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi has announced that Llewellyn Jones will assume the top spot at the State IT Agency (SITA).

She also confirmed that COO Noedine Isaacs-Mpulo's resignation had been accepted by the board and announced Cabinet's confirmation of the appointment of two new members to SITA's board.

Michelle Williams, the newly-appointed government CIO, and Rose Seseke, deputy DG at the Department of Communications, will join the board on 15 October.

The top spot has been vacant since May when former CEO Mavuso Msimang departed to take up the position of director-general at the Department of Home Affairs.

However, it has been at least 13 months since Msimang informed the board that he would not renew his contract.

No whitewash

Fraser-Moleketi says the appointment of Jones – a white male – does not represent a shift in government's commitment to broad-based black economic empowerment policies.

“We needed to ensure that we got the absolute best person for the position. Looking at the composition of SITA's board, executive team and workforce, I would have to say that it is patronising to suggest the appointment of Jones cancels out the rest of the progress made at SITA,” she stressed.

Llewellyn Jones will assume the top spot at SITA on 1 November.
Photo: Mzu Nhlabati
Llewellyn Jones will assume the top spot at SITA on 1 November.
Replacing acting CEO Peter Pedlar from 1 November, Jones (60) has many years of experience in the ICT field. He previously held senior positions at Altech, Alcatel Altech Telecoms, Plessey SA and Tellumat.

Jones subsequently joined the CSIR board. In 2004, the organisation contracted him to help establish the African Advanced Institute for ICT, later named the Meraka Institute. Until the beginning of 2007, Jones held the interim director position at the establishment.

New SITA CEO Llewellyn Jones, photographed with public service and administration minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi this morning.
Photo: Mzu Nhlabati
New SITA CEO Llewellyn Jones, photographed with public service and administration minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi this morning.
Says Fraser-Moleketi: “Convincing Jones to return from retirement and step down from his non-executive position on the SITA board was incredibly difficult. However, we persevered and are very pleased that he has accepted the position.

“I believe he has the experience, expertise and insight to take SITA forward as it undergoes its transition to primary systems integrator for government.”

‘Daunting' task

Jones faces several challenges in the coming months, including finding replacements for key executives Jonas Bogoshi and Isaacs-Mpulo.

Jones with outgoing acting SITA CEO, Peter Pedlar.
Photo: Mzu Nhlabati
Jones with outgoing acting SITA CEO, Peter Pedlar.
“I have to admit I am somewhat daunted by the strategic importance this role has in government and industry,” says Jones.

“We already have some of the people required to take us forward, but it is concerning that we have lost people of the calibre of Bogoshi and Isaacs-Mpulo. Nevertheless, we can't just moan about the situation – we have to focus on moving quickly to fill the positions.”

Jones says the organisation remains “good friends” with the two executives and expects to maintain this relationship.

Related stories:
SITA COO confirms resignation
Industry steals SITA staff
Minister begs for time
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