New leadership takes helm at Waspa

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Waspa’s new chairman Anthony Ekerold.
Waspa’s new chairman Anthony Ekerold.

South Africa’s Wireless Application Service Providers' Association (Waspa) has announced the election of its new office bearers for 2021, including a new chairman.

In a statement, Waspa says Anthony Ekerold, a founding director of BDE Attorneys and one of the longest-standing board members, will become chairperson.

Ekerold takes over from Greg Brophy, who served his two-year tenure, having been elected in 2019.

Waspa points out that Ekerold is no stranger to the industry or the consumer protection organisation, having served as its vice-chairman between 2013 and 2017, as well as holding the chairmanship role in 2018. He has also served as Waspa’s attorney of record since 2014.

Commenting on his election, the new chairman says: “It is an honour to serve the mobile community through a strong, established platform such as Waspa.

“As an industry body, Waspa has been successful in transparently serving the best interests of the consumer, together with representing mobile application and service providers, and despite the number of years I have been involved in this work, I know I still have a substantial contribution to make and I look forward to the challenge.”

Non-profit organisation Waspa was founded in 2004, to represent the interests of local wireless application service providers (WASPs), while also working towards the association's consumer protection mandate.

In terms of its mandate, it aims to foster consumer confidence in the WASP industry through responsible self-regulation. Its code of conduct is endorsed by South African network operators Cell C, MTN, Vodacom and Telkom.

Waspa elects its new office bearers during its annual general meeting. For 2021, they include: Jacqui Jones (vice-chairman and code of conduct), James McNab (treasurer and telco affairs), Ilonka Badenhorst (membership), Minesh Bhugwandeen (regulatory), Conrad Geldenhuys (communications) and Michiel Huisamen (wholesale).

Jones’s appointment sees her become Waspa’s first female vice-chairman, and for the first time, the day-to-day managing executive, Badenhorst, joins the board.

Jones is CEO of mobile aggregation firm WorldPlay, which is described as having played a pivotal role in the country’s battle against mobile fraud, with a record of innovation in the mobile value-added services industry, stretching back to its inception in 2002.

“Mobile technology and digital services are advancing, and I look forward to bringing my VAS and mobile market knowledge to the fore and as a critical component to our evolving code of conduct,” says Jones.

“The industry is continuously growing and innovating but needs to be regulated effectively. Effectively means finding a balance between ensuring consumers are protected and creating a sustainable market for members. Independence is key, and I look forward to working closely with our board, consumers and members to address the ever-growing need for regulatory compliance in the country,” concludes Ekerold.

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