Hamilton Ratshefola joins Gijima as Maphum Nxumalo retires
Black-owned South African ICT company Gijima today announced changes to its leadership team.
It says group chief executive Maphum Nxumalo has retired, and former IBM SA country manager Hamilton Ratshefola has been appointed as group managing executive.
In a statement, Robert Gumede, Gijima executive chairman, says after eight years of dedicated and selfless service, including the last five years as chief operating officer and acting group chief executive (GCE), Nxumalo bids farewell to Gijima as he retires as GCE and from being an IT executive after 45 years of service to local and global ICT companies.
After cutting his teeth in IT for 14 years with the Massmart group, ending up running the group’s IT facilities, Nxumalo joined Infloplan and proceeded to be executive and director of global and local IT companies, namely Debis, Sybase, Arivia.Kom, Unisys, SAP, SAS, T-Systems and lastly Gijima.
He also served in the International Presidential ICT Advisory Committee to president Thabo Mbeki and the Y2K advisory committee.
Nxumalo joined Gijima as COO in 2014 and was appointed as GCE in 2019 after a stint as an acting GCE.
As of May, Nxumalo will serve as a Gijima non-executive board member and an executive member of the Guma Group, a 100% owner of Gijima and other diversified businesses, including Guma Railways, Guma Energy, Tourvest, Guma Mining, Guma Infrastructure Development and Guma Health.
Tall order fulfilled
“As the Gijima family, we will remember Maphum for his work ethic, servant leadership, smart intellect, IT guru, business leadership and dedication to his role as GCE,” says Gumede.
“I recall when we recruited him from T-Systems; in him, I saw someone who could join us and be an instrumental asset in the implementation of our turnaround strategy in his role as our COO.”
He adds that in 2019, when Gijima was finally awarded to take over the Transnet contract from T-Systems, Nxumalo was instrumental to the successful bid preparation, negotiations, signing the contract and successful delivery to Transnet.
“He led our investment into cloud computing and in a 3Tier data centre to make Gijima one of the largest mainframe providers and cyber security centres in Africa. He handled this task not only with ease but great enthusiasm.”
Further, Nxumalo led Gijima’s successful turnaround into profitability, Gumede adds.
He recently also spearheaded the acquisition of T-Systems SA by Gijima, which was monumental in that Gijima saw a local player buyout and successfully maintained and integrated both the existing clients and staff complement from a global German conglomerate, he says.
According to Gumede, Nxumalo achieved this milestone during his tenure, while dutifully serving under the leadership and mandate of the chairman and board.
“They say whilst achievements speak for themselves, character ultimately murmurs the unspoken of the man. This can be said to be true for Maphum, who through the corridors of Gijima is characterised by his tall stature and his endearing warmth shown to all Gijimates.
“Under his leadership, we achieved what we set out in our turnaround strategy when he first joined, and continued to deliver. Today, he leaves behind a better and stronger Gijima than the one he found when he joined over seven years ago. Under his leadership, we grew our public and private sector client base.
“On behalf of our valuable staff members, exco, board members and shareholder Guma Group, I would like to thank Maphum for his professional service to Gijima. He is a selfless and servant leader who put Gijima, our clients and employees first at all levels,” Gumede says.
Mandate to deliver
On Ratshefola’s appointment, the chairman says: “I, as chairman, have been trying to recruit the ICT industry leader and stalwart who I know will bring to Gijima unique but necessary changes.”
He points out that the advent of the fourth industrial revolution demands a step change from companies like Gijima.
“We need to transform our company to be relevant, to achieve profitable growth and attract and retain high-performance and innovative staff members.
“On that note, it is with great pleasure to announce the appointment of former IBM Southern Africa leader Mr Hamilton Ratshefola as group managing executive for Gijima, who will lead the Gijima operations.”
Ratshefola will lead and steer the company for a year under contract to implement and transform Gijima operations, accelerate automation, infuse artificial intelligence, refine the operating model, improve productivity and, most importantly, strengthen the balance sheet, says Gumede.
He adds that the biggest mandate is to shift Gijima’s operating model to high margin offering segments.
Ratshefola spent his first decade at IBM as a systems engineer, technical sales and later sales leader and sector leader, before leaving to co-found Cornastone Technology Holdings in 2000.
He spent 13 years running the technology and services company, winning the IT Personality of the Year in 2007. Ratshefola sold Cornastone to his business partner in 2012.
He returned to IBM in 2013, where he was sales director until May 2015, then became country general manager for South Africa until 2018, when he became general manager for IBM Southern Africa.
He brings thought leadership, technical, entrepreneurial and global corporate leadership skills, says Gumede.
According to the company, Ratshefola has a long history with Nxumalo and they have worked closely together for decades.
Ratshefola will work with the chairman of the board and executive management team to implement the restructuring of the firm’s value offering to ensure it continues to be innovative and develop future business leaders, upskill staff members and make Gijima a competitive player in the new world business order.
He intends to safeguard the jobs of staff members and help grow the business so that it can create sustainable jobs through investing in staff members as an employer of choice.
“Ratshefola will further strengthen our business relationship with our OEM partners, staff members and our valuable clients. He will build a first in history sales engine with a strong sales DNA to steer our growth,” Gumede says.
“He will drive projects delivery to clients on time and within budget, and will instil a new discipline in how we manage the business to maintain and grow our profitability so that we can invest more in our staff members and technologies (automation).”