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SITA CEO Dr Bongani Mabaso exits after short tenure

Simnikiwe Mzekandaba
By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba, IT in government editor
Johannesburg, 08 Dec 2023
Dr Bongani Mabaso is this month serving his notice period at the embattled State IT Agency.
Dr Bongani Mabaso is this month serving his notice period at the embattled State IT Agency.

The State Information Technology Agency (SITA) has announced its CEO Dr Bongani Mabaso is leaving, eight months after taking the top job.

This, after SITA’s board of directors accepted a request from Mabaso to be released early from his employment contract with the company.

Mabaso joined the government procurement arm on 1 April 2023, and was on a fixed-term contract for five years. He joined following the announcement of his appointment in December 2022.

In a statement, SITA says the CEO indicated the desire to pursue interests elsewhere, aligned with his career direction and growth. “The board respects the choice and decision Dr Mabaso has made.”

The shareholder minister Mondli Gungubele has been informed of this decision, it says.

The board has appointed national regional consulting services executive Ntutule Tshenye as acting MD, and will assume this role from 9 December, until further notice.

“Dr Mabaso is currently serving his notice period (December 2023) and will use the remainder of this month to prepare a handover report and brief the acting managing director on major and strategic projects to enable seamless transition.

“On behalf of all SITAzens (employees), management, the shareholder and the broader stakeholder community, the board would like to thank Dr Mabaso for the contribution he made at SITA during his tenure at the helm of the company and wishes him well in his future endeavours.”

An entity of the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, SITA sits as a central pillar of government's IT procurement arm.

However, the entity has been plagued by challenges over the course of its more than 20-year history.

These include allegations of corruption and mismanagement of procurement processes and a client base that is increasingly frustrated with the poor level of service delivery. It’s also been flagged by the auditor-general for irregular and wasteful expenditure.

Furthermore, the entity is no stranger to leadership instability. With his arrival in April, Mabaso became the first permanent MD since Dr Setumo Mohapi's exit in March 2019.

The government IT procurement arm found itself the centre of a salary disagreement scandal when minister Gungubele decided to remove SITA’s board chairperson and several other directors.

The friction between the minister and the SITA board, which culminated in the shake-up, was prompted by an adjustment to the CEO’s remuneration, which requires the minister's approval.

It was revealed that the board approved an increase of Mabaso’s remuneration package to R4.5 million per year from the previous R3.5 million earned by his predecessor.