CSIR taps Vuyani Jarana as board chairperson

Simnikiwe Mzekandaba
By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba, IT in government editor
Johannesburg, 02 Oct 2023
Former Vodacom exec and SAA CEO Vuyani Jarana joins CSIR board as chairperson. (Image source: CSIR)
Former Vodacom exec and SAA CEO Vuyani Jarana joins CSIR board as chairperson. (Image source: CSIR)

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has appointed Vuyani Jarana − former Vodacom Business chief officer and South African Airways (SAA) CEO – as chairperson of its board.

Additionally, the CSIR announced Dr Yunus Ballim as a new board member.

The scientific and technology research organisation took to the career-focused social media platform LinkedIn to welcome Jarana and Ballim.

“Welcome to #TeamCSIR. We look forward to making the CSIR even more epic with your guidance,” said the entity about its new chairperson.

Jarana is CEO of Ilitha Telecommunications. Backed by two development finance institutions and Microsoft, Ilitha Telecommunications was announced last year, promising to deliver affordable internet in underserviced areas.

The brand and services were launched in Mdantsane, Eastern Cape, with co-founder Jarana saying the company has funding support from the Industrial Development Corporation and Development Bank of Southern Africa.

At the time of the launch, Jarana said the company “offers unique fibre-to-the-home products with access to the network available in one-day, seven-day and 30-day increments”.

Prior to joining the CSIR, Jarana was CEO of SAA. He left Vodacom Business in 2017, to head up SAA. He is described as a C-level business leader, and strategy, business development and business transformation expert.

Jarana holds an Honours and Master’s in business administration, both from Stellenbosch University.

Ballim is an emeritus professor at the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering (retired in 2021) at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Prior to this role, he was vice-chancellor at Sol Plaatje University, in Kimberley. He has held various positions in academia as well as industry.

Ballim holds a PhD in engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand.