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New ITA boss prioritises transformation, skills development

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Thabo Mofokeng, newly-appointed ITA president.
Thabo Mofokeng, newly-appointed ITA president.

Recently-elected Information Technology Association of SA (ITA) president Thabo Mofokeng plans to turn the organisation into a catalyst for participation in the digital economy, inclusive ICT skills development and transformation.

In an interview with ITWeb, Mofokeng, elected in April and replacing Sunil Geness, said he envisages an ITA that acts as a common consolidated voice for member companies in advocating for constructive development of the industry, and regulations that are conducive to enabling the growth of the ICT industry.

The ITA represents more than 200 companies concerned with the supply of information technology equipment, systems, software and services. Prominent members include Microsoft SA, Siemens, SAP, Axiz and IBM, among others.

It works in close liaison with government, consumers and other specialist organisations.

Mofokeng says: “While this industry is vibrant, fast-growing, characterised by the ever-changing landscape, it remains a key sector for economic growth and it’s at the forefront of economic transformation.”

He adds: “However, the common, consolidated voice of the industry is still fragmented, resulting in limited impact on the direction of economic transformation in the country. We believe a much stronger voice would provide a common platform for companies to engage, collaborate and impact regulation aimed at ensuring a more ICT [dominated] ecosystem within South Africa.”

Mofokeng, who is a Howard University-trained engineer, says his new management team will also push for transformation in the industry.

In April, ITA announced a new management team that includes Andrea Campbell, elected honorary treasurer; Ahmed Ismael Smiley; Charmaine Houvet and Dr Nik Eberl. The team will support Mofokeng in the organisation's mission to further grow its influence in the sector.

“At the bedrock of transformation is the development of relevant and critical skills that would enable the capacity of South Africa to attract talent and offer more globally competitive solutions that can compete in the global stage,” he noted.

Mofokeng, who is also owner of technology consulting firm Solario Technologies, says there is ample room to do significantly more on transformation.

“ICT skills are highly mobile and transcend geographical limitations. As such, it is critical that we should offer globally competitive skills as an industrial sector.”

Further, he said small businesses are increasingly becoming the engine that drives creativity, business growth and employment opportunities.

“As such, we are increasingly focusing our energy to engage more extensively with SME member companies to enable these companies to migrate from a survivalist business position to more sustainable enterprises.”

Mofokeng said for the first time ITA has a president coming from the SME sector and transformation is in full swing.

“In some of the programmes that we are championing during the current year, we have already started developing strategic partnerships to encourage collaboration in the digital economy and skills development.

“These will become increasingly visible as we commence some of our project implementations. Furthermore, you will also note the ITA persona has changed from heavily big multinational to a more balanced representation of small and big enterprises,” he explained.

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